The journey from Proserpine to Airlie Beach is full packed with anticipation as you leave cattle and grazing country and arrive at the gateway to 74 Whitsunday islands. This relatively small drive is just under 50km and easily completed in half a day, so take your time and savour the contrasting countryside in which you find yourself. Along the way, you’ll experience nature, beaches, flora and fauna and national parks.
Proserpine boasts a long tradition of cattle grazing and sugar cane production dating back to the late 1800s. And while the town today is home to many modern buildings, including a hospital, library and sporting facilities, a drive down the Main Street will remind you of its history with art deco captured and preserved in shop architecture. You’ll find all the hallmarks of regional Queensland in quaint boutiques and country-style hotels. Pause at the pleasant picnic grounds at Pioneer Park near the town entrance, and check out Mill Street Park as well as the Cultural Centre.
Journey along Saltwater Creek Road towards Cedar Creek Falls whose waterfalls spring to life during the wet season. Whatever the season, you’re in luck here as there’s also a year-round natural swimming pool at the base of the falls. This is set in a spectacular location in a natural rock amphitheatre. Admire the flora and fauna at Cedar Creek, which is flush with strangler figs, red and white cedars and wild orchids. Bushwalkers will enjoy the tracks around these parts and can admire majestic Alexandra Palms, which line the creek, which eventually leads to the ocean.
More adventurous hikers should take the drive to the rugged Conway Range and the Conway State Forest, where you can partake in the Whitsunday Great Walk, which is also known as the Conway Circuit. Peppered with lowland tropical rainforest remnants and pretty rocky creeks, this is considered a stunning walk. View evidence of millions of years of volcanic activity, which has created this rugged landscape and the Whitsunday Islands themselves. For those who adore the trademarks of the tropics, a walk here may reward you with the blue flash of the incredible Ulysses butterfly after the rain, or in summer, the sweet scent of lemon myrtle flowers.
Continue your drive by following the signs to Cannonvale, renowned for its sheltered beach, which is ideal for families. You’ll find children’s play areas, public barbecues and waterfront picnic spots here, and plenty of rock pools to explore at low tide. And there’s another spot for walkers with the Botanic Gardens situated alongside the beach at the end of the Bicentennial Walkway and Boardwalk.
Over the rise, Airlie Beach is just a few kilometres away. One of the highlights of this pretty destination overlooking the Coral Sea and beyond to the Whitsunday islands is the Airlie Beach Lagoon. On a tropical day, nothing quite beats a splash in this large manmade body of water, flush with grassy knolls and plenty of shade.
Taste the tropics both literally and metaphorically along one of Queensland’s most scenic routes which winds for 140kms between Cairns and Cape Tribulation in Tropical North Queensland. Known as the 'Great Barrier Reef drive', the road winds between two World Heritage icons, the Wet Tropics Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.
Drive west from Townsville and you’re in the gold rush era, drive north, and you’ll hit the southern gateway of the Wet Tropics World Heritage-listed rainforests. In whichever direction you decide to travel, start in Townsville, home to the famous Strand – a 2.5km stretch of inner-city beach and playgrounds – and museums which pay homage to the Great Barrier Reef. Once you’ve experienced the reef for real, head to Townsville’s Reef HQ Aquarium touted as the world’s largest coral reef aquarium which is also home to a Turtle Hospital. At the Museum of Tropical Queensland, right next door, you can learn the story of the HMS Pandora which sank on the Great Barrier Reef.
There are 31 beaches in Mackay, one for every day of the month, but why not head inland and discover the Pioneer Valley instead?
This tour is special in so many ways, and is unrivalled to all other reef tours in Far North Queensland. First of all, it has the shortest open water crossing to get to the Great Barrier Reef. Fantastic news for anyone prone to motion sickness. Although this tour is a ‘Reef’ tour, it includes a ‘River Cruise’ on the journey there with Island activities on arrival. And a huge PLUS to guests that like to avoid the crowds, it has one of the lowest passenger capacities of all the island tours with a maximum of 100 guests. The destination is to an uninhabited continental island called Normanby in National Park which is part of the archipelago of Frankland Islands. It is located 10km offshore from the mouth of the Russell and Mulgrave Rivers at Russell Heads, which is approximately 45km South-East of Cairns. The Normanby Island has an abundance of wildlife not only in the water, but also on the island itself. The island is pristine, and has its own rainforest and a fringing reef not far out from its sandy shores. There are also coral gardens located further out from the island for the those that want to explore the deeper waters.
This is not a blog, it is a pitch on how good this Great Barrier Reef 2 day 1 night liveaboard dive trip from Cairns is such good value. One of our team members wrote it because she thinks it is such an amazing good value Great Barrier Reef tour, she wanted to write about it and put it on our Barrier Reef Australia blog page. We were not sure it was appropriate to pitch a single tour but we decided on free speech and free opinions so read more if you are inclined, or go to another page now. From our wonderful Great Barrier Reef Tour Specialist Chelsea Are you looking for a good value liveaboard Great Barrier Reef scuba diving adventure from Cairns without the crowds? Do you want the best dive deal money can buy in Cairns? If your answer is yes, then check out what deals we have on offer with our Great Barrier Reef Tour 2 Day 1 Night Sail, Snorkel and Scuba Dive tour!
If you are scared of the water and the creatures that live there or have never been exposed to an aquatic life in your younger years, but still wish to live out that lifelong dream of seeing the iconic wonders of the world the Great Barrier Reef, then that is okay, we have a tour that will enable you to see the coral reef from above the water and also below the water’s surface without you even getting your hair wet!
If you are travelling to Australia to see the Great Barrier Reef don't forget other iconic attractions such as the rainforest and the amazing wildlife. Do all that and save money with combo package tours.
Booking a cruise ship tour has become the big trend over the last few years as cruises offer such amazing value for an all-inclusive holiday with meals, drinks and entertainment on-board. Every single morning you can wake up to explore a new port or destination or even another country on some cruise ships.
Bundaberg Rum Distillery, come and 'Blend Your Own Rum' in Bundaberg