Airlie Beach

We had a six hour drive down from Mission Beach down to our next destination of Airlie Beach. Our route took us around the outskirts of Townsville. On our approach we noticed a slight smoky smell in the air, but didn’t take too much notice. It wasn’t until we were almost upon the fire that the radio told us that there was a grass fire in the area.

The fire was on both sides of the road when we passed, and the smoke brought visibility down to a couple of meters. We, along with other traffic, crawled through the affected area.

Once on the other side, the radio continued to report on the fire for the next few hours. It turned out to be quite a significant event.

We stopped briefly at the Bowen visitor centre to see the Big Mango. The Big Mango made national news a few years ago when a fast food chain stole/borrowed it as part of a publicity stunt, but it was happily sitting there when we were there.

Finally we made it to Airlie Beach.  This is a great location for a holiday with plenty of activities in the area. You can visit the amazing Whitehaven Beach with the whitest silicon sand in the country, cruise around the Whitsunday islands and take a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef from Airlie’s harbour.

The main street in Airlie Beach is chockablock with bars, restaurants and shops and there is a great holiday vibe. It seemed to be especially popular with backpackers

A magnificent lagoon has been built on the waterfront and is a brilliant spot for families with plenty of space on the surrounding grassed slopes to relax and play.

Unfortunately the weather had turned rainy while we were there, so although we were looking forward to doing some touristy things, in the end we decided not to.  Instead we treated ourselves to a night out at La Tabella, a fantastic Italian restaurant on the waterfront. We both found the service to be exceptional and the meals were delicious. And dessert was phenomenal!

The local market was on the next morning and we had a wander around but there was nothing of particular interest for us. We popped back to La Tabella and had a great coffee before heading out of town.


Not too far south of Airlie Beach is the city of Mackay. We stayed with Emma’s cousin and her family. We particularly appreciated having indoor plumbing and not needing to find a torch to visit the bathroom in the middle of the night!

We also caught up with Em’s Aunt and Uncle for a great BBQ. Thanks for your hospitality we had a great time catching up with you all 🙂


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