Driving down the road into Airlie Beach was a relief. We were greeted by wonderful views of the bluest of oceans and the sun was making them glisten and dazzle.
Hours of travelling, stopping off at various places for the night in order to split up the journey. It was a relief because we knew we would be staying put for a few days.
As soon as we stepped out of the vehicle we were hit with intolerable humidity and heat. We had planned to sleep in the camper van on the camp site that is attached to the Nomads Hostel. However I quickly realised that I wouldn’t be able to sleep in such heat so decided to check into the hostel itself.
I checked into a four bed dorm which had an en-suit, air conditioning and fridge. From what I have gathered, if you get a hostel room with a fridge in it is considered luxury. It certainly came in handy as did the air-con.
Why are all bunk beds squeaky? Trying to climb down them in the middle of the night to go to the toilet, without waking the other three people, is a mission.
The hostel facilities were basic (like all hostels) but they had the essentials. An added bonus was that one of the kitchens had air-conditioning so you didn’t end up feeling like you were melting when cooking your dinner.
It also had a bar called Down Under Bar and staying at the hostel granted you discount on the meals there. $9.99 for lasagne – bargain!
Airlie Beach itself was lovely but entirely catered for backpackers. That is great if you are one but I can’t imagine anyone enjoying a romantic get away or family holiday here. In fact, I don’t recall seeing any children whilst I was there.
We stayed here for a total of 5 nights and seeing as I was a backpacker I fitted into the Airlie Beach vibe quite easily. The main strip consisted of affordable shops such as Cotton On and bars with happy hours. The Woolworths was ideal for buying food to cook back at the hostel and everything you needed was within walking distance.
The lagoon was a popular place to spend the day seeing as the sea was off limits, unless you wore a stinger suit, due to it being jellyfish season.
A lot of travellers use Airlie Beach as a home base whilst they take tours on boats around the Whitsunday Islands. Nomads allows you to leave your main backpacks at the hostel whilst you are out at sea.
Aside from boat trip, I would also recommend booking a scenic flight over the Whitsunday Islands and the beginning of the Great Barrier Reef. We booked with a company called GSL Aviation for $199. It included pick up and drop off from our accommodation.
It was incredible even despite the heat within the plane, prepare to get sweaty.
We saw a number of the Whitsunday Islands such as Hamilton Island, Whitehaven Beach and Hook Island. The reef looked beautiful from above with the mixture of blue tones and brown coral forming unusual patterns. One section of the reef is in the shape of a heart and shockingly they call it the Heart Reef. It was smaller than I expected.
Campsite: Nomads Hostel
Recommendations: GSL Aviation scenic flight over the Whitsunday Island
Eating: Down Under Bar for affordable meals
For more information on the Whitsunday Islands boat tour look out for my next blog post coming soon.