Trip Part 1: Airlie Beach
Hello hello! Sorry for the absence of a post last Sunday – my plan had been to write about the first part of my recent trip when I returned, however I was super busy showing Conor’s parents around Port Douglas, but I’m back to business as usual now!
So my previous post talked about the itinerary for our trip to Airlie Beach and Magnetic Island – this post is all about the first part of the trip now that I have returned.
Day 1 began with a 5:30am wake up. I hate getting out of bed early (haha)! But it was all worth it. We had 686km to cover to arrive at Airlie Beach, so that’s around 8 hours of driving, not accounting for traffic, stops etc. I had bought snacks for the car in advance, which I always do for long trips, and made a flask of coffee in the morning, because I just can’t cope with life if I don’t have my caffeine fix.
Conor and I jumped into our trust Nissan Pathfinder and hit the road heading south from Port Douglas. Our first stop was just 45 minutes later as we wanted to grab a maccas breakfast – nice and healthy, I know…
We mooched on down to Mission Beach, listening to some of our playlists from previous roadtrips to keep us in high spirits. I’ve never really been to Mission Beach, and instead I have just stopped their on road trips, but I like it as a place – the beach looks nice and is next to cool cafes, although it does have a backpacker vibe to it. We didn’t stay long – instead we continued onwards to Townsville for our next stop. By this point we were making really good time, however it was ridiculously hot and we were starting to get a little fed up, so we ended up stopping twice more – at Ayr and then again at Bowen. By the way, Bowen is beautiful – if you’re ever passing then stretch your legs with a walk on the beach.
Finally we reached Airlie Beach where we were staying with friends before meeting Conor’s parents and moving to a hotel the following day. We went to a bar called Beaches for dinner, as we remembered this place from when we were here previously. In 2017, we spent a few months working for accommodation near Airlie Beach, and the $15 dinner and drink deal at Beaches was really all that we could afford. Great value for money though, and fantastic if you’re on a budget! It was nice to re-visit after two years. It was also lovely to catch up with our friends who we hadn’t seen for a year and a half. We had a view drinks at their place sitting out on the deck, which was the perfect end to day 1.
Day 2 began with breakfast with our friends at a cafe called Garuma. It’s in a lovely spot, and the food was delicious – I went for my classic fave: Eggs Benedict with bacon, and it was Bloody Mary’s all round.
Conor and I said goodbye to our friends and went to check into the Mantra Boathouse hotel in advance of meeting is parents. The hotel is beautiful, with very relaxing vibes. The staff were really friendly and helpful, and our 2-bed apartment had an amazing view over the harbour with the stunning mountains in the background.
Next we went for a mooch up the high street, popping into the shops, before waiting for his parents. When they arrived we took them to the hotel and we all jumped into the pool. It looked tempting but was pretty cold this time of year, so we didn’t stay too long. Our friends had recommended a restaurant called Northerlies for dinner, so we headed there for our first dinner all together of the holiday. We were blown away by the breathtaking views across the ocean, and thoroughly enjoyed our evening with good food, good service, and good wine. We dropped Conor’s parents off at the hotel afterwards, then went to the pub at Airlie Beach Hotel for a cocktail. It has a lovely outside area to enjoy a drink, and the bartender was very nice. Drinks were lovely too.
It was another early start on day 3, as we were doing a boat trip to Whitehaven Beach, with some snorkelling on the way back. We chose to go on Providence, which is a smaller boat, belonging to a small family-run company. There’s something pleasing about supporting these small family-run businesses I find. There were only around 15 of us on the beautiful sailing boat, and we were given coffee on boarding which I liked. With this boat it’s as much about the journey as the destination, as the trip takes longer than on some of the other boats, but it’s a delightful boat to be on.
Whitehaven Beach was as beautiful as ever, and we enjoyed some time there taking in the stunning view from the lookout, pottering across the pristine white sand, paddling in the turquoise water, and taking photos. Next we headed to Dumbell Bay for some snorkelling. There was coral and plenty of fish around, however unfortunately the visibility wasn’t great on that particular day. The water was also a little cold for me, having adjusted to the warm temperatures of Port Douglas. Still, I enjoyed a short snorkel and warmed up as soon as I changed out of my stinger suit.
Back on the boat we enjoyed lunch as we began our journey back to Airlie. The views were lovely, but my favourite part was when the skipper turned off the engine and just sailed. At this time we were also able to purchase a drink, which made the sailing experience even more lovely with a glass of white wine to sip on.
We were all pretty exhausted when we got back to the hotel, so once showers were done we got dressed and headed to La Marina, an Italian restaurant just by the hotel. The menu features a nice range of wines, as well as an array of pizzas, pastas, and other Italian dishes. It was an enjoyable place to dine but the pizza size got the best of me – I couldn’t quite finish it. Conor and I had one after-dinner drink at the Airlie Beach Hotel, before heading to bed exhausted from the wonderful day out.
Apologies for the lack of photos – I temporarily lost them switching phones but they’re on a memory stick and I will add them soon! Next Sunday I’ll be posting about the next part of the trip on Magnetic Island, and the drive back to Port via Etty Bay.