Stop 1: Airlie Beach
Before jumping behind the wheel for a full day of fun, you’ll need to fuel up! Fortunately, there are dozens of restaurants serving up flavorful breakfasts in Airlie Beach, here are a few of our favourite suggestions. Whether you like a big cooked brekkie or lighter bites, like a smoothie bowl – you’ll find something to satisfy your taste buds.
Stop 2: Funnel Bay Beach
The first stop of the day is ten minutes away at Flametree. This quiet, coastal neighbourhood is home to just a few hundred people. On Funnel Bay Beach you can stretch your legs, feel the sand between your toes and gaze into the mesmerising blue water. You might even have the whole palm-tree studded beach to yourself.
Stop 3: Whitsunday Airport (Shute Harbour)
Did you know that one of the most memorable ways to experience The Whitsundays is by air? At Whitsunday Airport in Flametree, pick from a helicopter tour, seaplane ride or skydive and see paradise from a whole new angle. Prefer to keep two feet on the ground? Grab a coffee, sit back and watch the planes take off.
Stop 4: Coral Beach
Step into the Conway National Park on the Coral Beach track at Shute Harbour. Conway National Park’s wilderness extends over 225 km with 12 unique walking trails. Enjoy a short 1.1 km stroll through the rainforest before emerging onto Coral Beach. As the name promises, you’ll find the entire beach full of coral. Pack a picnic and spend time relaxing with the backdrop of the Whitsunday Passage.
Stop 5: Lion’s Lookout
Before leaving Shute Harbour, head to Lion’s Lookout. Shute Harbour was once the second busiest commuter port in Australia after Sydney’s Circular Quay. Walk towards the bus stop and picnic table for the best vantage point. You’ll be able to see the nearby Shute, Tancred and Repair Islands.
Stop 6: Three-Plank Jetty
It’s time to drive back to Airlie Beach with one last stop along the way. Three-Plank Jetty at Mandalay is an Insta-worthy destination at any hour of the day, but especially dazzling at sunset.
Stop 1: Conway National Park
On the western end of the Conway National Park is the beginning of the Conway Circuit (formerly known as The Whitsundays Great Walk). After turning off Shute Harbour Road, drive to the end of Forestry Road until you see the national park signage. Conway Circuit is over 27km and is usually completed on 1-3 day hikes. The trail ends on the eastern side of the park, joining up with the Honeyeater Lookout. However, the first 7km section can be completed in less than a few hours. Named the Wompoo Way, this trail is fairly flat for most of the way and will lead you into the lush rainforest. Walk the trail at your own pace or choose from biking and segway tours with morning tea at Impulse Creek.
Stop 2: Cedar Creek Falls
A cool swim is always welcome after a forest walk. Cedar Creek Falls is a natural, freshwater lagoon only 30 km from Airlie Beach. Then it’s a hop, skip and jump from the car park to the waterhole. Peer up at the towering cedar trees and rock formations, admiring the beauty of nature. The waterfall cascades over the ledge into the cool pool below and is especially impressive after recent rain. This is another peaceful setting to enjoy a packed lunch.
Stop 3: Cannonvale
For dinner and drinks, explore the range of high-quality offerings in Cannonvale. You’ll be surprised by what you find including sit-down restaurants, convenient takeaway meals, local pubs and a craft beer brewery.
Stop 1: Airlie Creek Track
Slip on your walking shoes and set the driving directions to Airlie Creek Track. This short walk is less than 1 km with an increasing incline and track grades as you progress. The trail will take you past native flora and fauna, ending at a group of rock pools. Airlie Creek Track is a lovely place to press pause, and tune into the sounds of nature and trickling water.
Stop 2: Cannonvale Beach
Next stop is Cannonvale Beach, a cherished local hangout. Sit under the shady trees while watching joggers and dog walkers merrily making their way along the beachfront. There are free BBQs, picnic tables and playgrounds for public use. At low tide, walk out to Pigeon Island keeping an eye out for turtles and dugongs. Just make sure you’re wearing covered footwear as it can get a little muddy.
Stop 3: Bicentennial Walkway
The bicentennial walkway starts at Cannonvale Beach winding its way along the coastline, finishing at the Airlie Beach foreshore. This 4km walk is made up of cement pathways and wooden boardwalks. Full of photogenic points with flourishing bushland, spectacular sea views and magnificent marinas – it’s one walk you won’t want to miss during your visit to The Whitsundays.
Stop 4: Shingley Beach
At the halfway mark on the Bicentennial Walkway, between Cannonvale Beach and Airlie Beach, you’ll find Shingley Beach. It’s an idyllic spot tucked away from the main thoroughfare, while still being easily accessible by car. Get out on the water with a rental kayak or stand-up paddleboard. You’ll be safely enclosed within the marina so it’s perfect for beginners.
Stop 5: Coral Sea Marina
After paddling around, you have probably worked up an appetite. Cruise over to one of the seaside restaurants at Coral Sea Marina and indulge in a delectable meal. Why not wash it down with a cheeky cocktail or two? Raise your glass and toast to another glorious day in paradise.