The past few years have seen us spend our annual family holiday somewhere in Queensland. Last year was Port Douglas, the year before the Gold Coast, and this year was Airlie Beach. Yes, we love the warm weather and beaches up in Queensland that’s for sure! When planning a holiday I always do my research and ask for recommendations. I read blogs (just like this one) to find the best family friendly places to go and stay. So, after getting back from our holiday in Airlie Beach last week I thought I would do a little wrap up here in case you might decide you’d like to go there too!
Airlie Beach is on the mainland of Australia, about half way between the Sunshine Coast and Cairns and is the perfect base to explore the Whitsunday Islands. For us, it was 3 hour direct flight from Melbourne and a perfect 29-31 degrees and sunny every day.
Where we stayed
We stayed at the BIG 4 Adventure Whitsunday which is about a 3 minute drive from the Airlie Beach town centre and if you’re looking for a family friendly option I honestly can’t recommend this place enough. You could quite easily spend your whole holiday here and be happy not to leave the grounds; in fact we literally had to drag our son away anytime we wanted to go and explore!
We stayed in a cabin which was equipped with everything we needed including a full kitchen, loungeroom and spa bath. The park itself has so many things to do including a pool, brand new mega waterpark (with 13 slides), an animal farm, mini golf, basketball and volleyball courts, playground, go kart bikes and scooters and more. Every day there was a bunch of activities happening for the kids from scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, and outdoor movies.
What we did
Apart from spending a lot of time at the Big 4 we also had a few days out and about. At the very top of our list when planning this holiday was a trip to Hamilton Island. Cruise Whitsundays offers the perfect Hamilton Island Family Day package (along with endless other options to explore the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef) which includes a return trip to the island aboard the Cruise Whitsunday vessel, entry to the wildlife park, fish n chip lunch, a game of ten pin bowling and limitless use of the island shuttle bus and pools.
I’m going to be honest and say I was a little anxious about doing the trip; worried I might get sea sick, but I needn’t have worried. The Cruise Whitsunday vessel is huge and the water was calm so I didn’t feel even a bump. We fell in love with Hamilton Island. Even though we had free access to the island shuttle bus (which takes you everywhere) we decided to treat ourselves and hire a golf buggy for the day; this is definitely the way best way to get around the island. Hamilton Island is just beautiful, the beach water is crystal clear and warm, and there is lots of things to do. The boys even gave the go kart track a go.
Apart from our day trip to Hamilton Island, we also took a drive to Cedar Creek Falls (about 20mins from Airlie Beach) for a swim. It’s a beautiful spot that is super easy to get to. We checked out the Airlie Beach foreshore market (held every Saturday morning) and the lagoon. Because of stingers, swimming at Airlie Beach isn’t recommend so they’ve created an awesome man made lagoon swimming pool on the foreshore that’s perfect for families.
At the end of day it was always back to the Big 4 for a swim and some fun on the waterslides.
Have you ever been to Airlie Beach? What did you think? Any must do’s to add to the list?
Disclaimer: We were provided with a special media discount rate with Cruise Whitsundays for the Hamilton Island Family Day. The review provided above is completely my own.