Top 5 Day Trips from Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach is the heart of the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef, but the mainland has many hidden gems that will surprise you, and most of them are free.
Hire a car from Airlie Car Rentals and explore some of these nearby local favourites.
Cedar Creek Falls
During the summer months and after any heavy rains, Cedar Creek Falls starts pumping. The natural waterfall and freshwater swimming hole are a local favourite and parking is limited, so it’s best to get there early to get a spot. You can wander downstream, or climb the rocks to the top of the falls and keep wandering upstream, to find many more little rockpools. It’s a truly beautiful spot in the middle of nowhere.
From Airlie head back towards Proserpine, and turn left at the Conway Road turnoff and follow the signs. It takes about 45 mins to get there.
The top of the Whitsundays, Bowen is known for its beautiful beaches. Sandy stretches with striking rock formations dot the coast.
Horseshoe Bay has coral reefs you can snorkel along, where you can walk in right from the beach. There’s also a little café here for lunch or a snack.
Beach hop between Queens Beach, Rose Bay, Gray’s Bay, Horseshoe Bay and more.
Grab a bite to eat at Food Freaks at the marina. Be a kid again at the free splash waterpark on the harbour.
Bowen is about an hour north of Airlie Beach.
Hydeaway Bay & Dingo Beach
About 45 mins drive north of Airlie Beach through cane fields and cattle farms, the Hydeaway Bay and Dingo Beach region of the Whitsundays is naturally beautiful, with 3 cafés/restaurants to choose from.
Clear waters and a long sandy beach stretch between Cape Gloucester Eco Resort and Montes at Hydeaway Bay. Park at Montes, enjoy lunch, wander up to the Eco Resort, have a cold drink and a swim (in their freshwater pool, or the ocean), then wander back to Montes.
Dingo Beach pub is a local barefoot favourite. There’s often live music on weekends and a seafood BBQ for Sunday lunch.
There are some really quirky fun shops in Proserpine, like Colour Me Crazy for amazing clothes and jewelry (gift heaven!), Ginger & Blonde for fresh young womenswear, and Cherrie Baby for kids. Stop in at the Whitsunday Gold Coffee Plantation for a tour and a freshly roasted coffee grown right here, from the largest single origin coffee plantation in Australia.
Proserpine is about half an hour's drive west of Airlie Beach.
Bredl's Wild Farm
A wildlife experience like no other, this is one you simply can’t miss. Rob Bredl, aka the Barefoot Bushman, is renowned the world over for his affinity with Australia’s native animals, particularly the crocodile. At his private farm in the Whitsunday hinterland, you can have the most hands on Aussie wildlife experience you’ll ever have. Even if you’ve been to other widlife parks before, you still need to visit Bredl’s Wild Farm.
The Bredl family have a lifetime of experience with our native Aussie animals and a passion to share their knowledge with you. You know it’s legit when there’s a species of python named after you – the “Bredli”, and one of the resident monster crocodiles is one that they hatched from an egg 30 years ago!
Hold a baby crocodile, wear a snake as a scarf, cuddle a koala, come face to face with an emu and a cassowary, pat the kangaroos, kiss a deer, chat with the cockatoos...
Bookings are essential. The park is open Monday - Saturday, and is about 1 hour’s drive south of Airlie Beach.