The Whitsundays may be the envy of the world, but as a resident of Airlie Summit, these tranquil turquoise waters protected by the Great Barrier Reef become your playground. Raise a sail and revel in the salty breeze of this world-renowned sailing and boating hotspot, dive spectacular reefs, test your fishing prowess, or take it a little easier with a picnic on a spectacular island beach or a sunset cocktail at Hamilton Island’s Bommie Deck.
With unfiltered access from your perch atop the highest zoned land in Airlie Beach, the entirety of the Whitsundays – all of its 74 beautiful tropical islands – is at your fingertips. These rugged islands covered in lush tropical rainforests are encompassed by stunningly clear blue waters home to turtles, manta rays, dolphins, tropical fish and even – at certain times of the year – migrating whales.
A 20 minute walk from Airlie Summit you’ll find the main harbour Port of Airlie Marina. Here you can berth your boat and enjoy the shopping and dining opportunities before or after your cruising adventure. Sailing enthusiasts will be keen to join the Whitsunday Sailing Club, where you can store your tender, off-beach sailing boat, trailable yacht or motorboat. It’s also the ideal place to join weekly social sailing competitions such as the Twilight Race or enjoy a drink or dinner with friends at the 20 Degree South Bar and Restaurant after a day on the water. The Whitsunday Sailing Club are the key organisers of the Airlie Beach Race Week, a yachting gala recognised by both competitive and relaxed sailors as a fun and impeccably-run regatta in a stunning location. The event includes six days of racing in all divisions, as well as daily prize-giving and live entertainment at the Whitsunday Sailing Club. This jam-packed week brings in thousands of sailing enthusiasts and is a highlight on the Airlie Beach event calendar for locals and visitors alike.
If boating events aren’t your thing, there are countless other ways to enjoy the picturesque Whitsundays atop the water. With inlets and shelters available within a few minutes of average powerboat cruising, the Whitsundays is considered one of Australia’s safest boating destinations. Enjoy calm sheltered bays, breathtaking scenery, amazing coral reefs, isolated beaches and excellent scuba and snorkeling opportunities. Better yet, island hop from one tropical paradise to the next, cruising the expansive sparkling waters in between each pitstop. All 74 of the islands are easily accessible by small and large boats, although it is wise to do your research before you head off. Some islands – such as Hayman Island – are privately owned and have requirements that day trippers need to adhere to.
After a day exploring pristine waters, come back to Airlie where your toughest decision will be choosing which of the myriad restaurants with delectable foods and gorgeous views you wish to dine at that evening. From sumptuous seafood to delicious Italian food, Airlie Beach has it all. The Garden Bar nestled in the South Village of the Coral Sea Marina is an all-round firm favourite. Dock your vessel and walk to the popular bistro where you can unwind with live acoustic music and spectacular marina view while indulging in sunset cocktails and their diverse menu. Coral Sea Marina also boasts numerous other dining options to suit every palate such an Bohemian Raw which serves up healthy breakfast and lunch options such as organic superfood bites, smoothie and poke bowls and Sorrento whose award-winning Italian menu will satisfy those pizza and pasta cravings. If the tantalizing waters prove too tempting to leave, D’livery will prepare chef made gourmet bites, meals and fresh seafood and deliver them to your vessel so you can enjoy restaurant quality meals without leaving your boat.
With innumerable ways to enjoy the Whitsundays, the cerulean blue waters will quickly become just as much your home as Airlie Summit. Whether you want to participate in boating races, snorkel in the vibrant reefs, relax on the waters or discover your very own island alcoves, the appeal of the Whitsundays for boat lovers is undeniable.
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