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Things to do

Sun, surf and sand

Airlie Beach is your mainland base for holidaying throughout the Whitsundays, with accommodation styles as varied as the accents and languages you’ll hear on the street. Here you’ll find everything from hostels to hillside luxury apartments and villas. Thanks to its proximity to the islands, Airlie Beach is the heart of the Whitsundays and it boasts an array of dining and nightlife options.

Sleepy haven

To the north of Airlie lies Bowen – a sleepy seaside town boasting seven beautiful beaches that remain little known to many tourists (Bowen is a 40-minute drive from Airlie). It’s a wonderful place for a day trip or overnight stay. Beyond its sublime beaches, Bowen is renowned for its juicy mangoes and fresh local seafood. Horseshoe and Rose Bays are idyllic spots for a sunset dinner on the seaside.

Sweet solitude

Proserpine and Collinsville are charming towns, slightly inland from Airlie Beach, with much to discover. No visit to Proserpine is complete without a stop at Colour Me Crazy, an emporium of fashion, jewellery, homewares and much more. Resorts and caravan parks in the area offer a more secluded getaway. 2B Dobbins Ln, Prosperpine, tel: +61 (07) 4945 2698

Tucked away

Dingo Beach (pictured) and Hydeaway Bay are tiny townships which boast stunning shorelines. Stay at the beachfront eco resorts to make the most of the seclusion and serenity. Conway Beach is a favourite with caravanners, thanks in part to its wide bay at low tide that’s perfect for kite-flying and sail-boarding

Green goodness

The Whitsundays not only boasts beautiful shorelines, it also lays claim to some of the most remarkable sub-tropical rainforests around. Many of the islands are home to hiking trails where visitors can admire the grand old pines, get close to the wildlife and enjoy breathtaking views.Cedar Creek Falls is the ideal spot for a picnic. Closer to the coast is a natural water hole and waterfall, which are picture-perfect in the wet season.