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The Whitsunday Coast lies between Mackay and Bowen and includes delightful Airlie Beach. Close by are the 74 Whitsunday Islands together with spectacular coral reefs. The Great Barrier Reef is also just 47 nautical miles from the stunning Whitsunday Islands. Airlie Beach is the heart of Whitsunday Coast and the main shops and facilities can be found along Shute Harbour Road which is just a few metres from the beach. Bowen, which is further along the coast, is a fruit picking area and a cool place to try a local mango! Airlie Beach is a lively town with the marina and beach attracting an increasing number of new visitors every year. Known as a backpacker paradise with its tropical climate and ambience, this resort area is a not to be missed. The area is nowadays not only frequented by backpackers, but there’s also been an influx in family, corporate and “upmarket” clientele. Whitehaven Beach, not far away, is said to be one of the most photographed beaches in the world, with its 7 kilometres of fine white silica sand. For those who like swimming, Airlie Beach Lagoon is the place. Walkers will enjoy the Great Whitsunday Walk which is 30 km of walking trails in Conway State Forest with the backdrop of the Coral Sea. Bowen has several historic buildings including an Art Deco Post Office and Courthouse. It is one of those undiscovered places and just a 40 minute drive from Airlie Beach. There are eight award winning beaches and local growers produce a huge amount of salad vegetables plus the famous Bowen mango. When travelling along the motorway, do not make the mistake to ignore the signs on Bruce Highway which signals the turn off to Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays. This is a stop that is not to be missed and may very well be one of the best vacations you can ever have.
Airlie Beach and the surrounding area is full of things to do, from wildlife safaris to snorkelling. There are many places to go diving, fishing, kayaking and sailing, and there are plenty of companies able to help you hire equipment and vessels. Saturday morning markets and Sunday twilight markets are a tradition in the area and provide great entertainment with buskers and live music.
Seafood reigns supreme at the Whitsundays along with the traditional fare of steaks, pizzas and a variety of international cuisine. Enjoy the mouth-watering fresh food and wine while soaking in the gorgeous surroundings which is a big part of the Whitsundays experience. In Airlie Beach you will find a vast array of cuisines from five star restaurants to more simple establishments such as fish and chips on the beach. You will for sure find your favourite restaurant since there are restaurants catering to every taste here, be it fresh local seafood, Mexican, Italian, Moroccan, Asian, European or modern Australian, you will find it all here at the beautiful Whitsunday Coast.
When feeling for a relaxing time why not pop into one of the cafés in Whitsunday Coast and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea? There is no lack of beach cafés and restaurants along the Whitsunday Coast and you will for sure find something for every taste. Airlie Beach is the heart and soul of the Whitsundays, and here you will find plenty of cafés and restaurants where to relish tasty treats and delicious smoothies and ice-creams.
Airlie Beach is buzzy and vibrant. It’s party central whilst other places along the coast tend to be a bit quieter. There are plenty of bars where you can start the evening off in style before moving on to some extremely cool clubs. The clubs are very lively and are often open to the small hours. With large numbers of backpackers throughout the season, every night at Airlie Beach is a party night. The nightly entertainment at Shute Harbour Road is awash with cabaret singers and live bands and so you can catch up on your sleep tomorrow!
There are various excellent shopping areas along the Whitsunday Coast which can provide travellers with all they need from food supplies to souvenirs. There are also several markets held at the weekends which will be very useful if you’re looking for fresh produce.
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