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A Tourist's Guide To Regional Australia Part 6

Airlie Beach, The Whitsunday Islands, Bowen and Townsville, Queensland

This is the sixth in a series of articles that will help tourists both local and international visiting Australia find information about locations that are not usually covered in television travel programs and magazines.

Queensland

Queensland is a state in Australia which is located in the north east of Australia. There are approximately 4.5 million people living in the state, with the majority in the capital, Brisbane 1). The climate of Queensland varies from sub-tropical in the southern coastal areas to tropical in the northern coast, and semi-arid to arid in the western regions.

Transport Options

For the purpose of this guide, it is recommended to fly into Proserpine Airport, which is 20 kilometres west of Airlie Beach. There are a multitude of car hire companies at the airport and inside the town. For more information on driving in Queensland, please see this site: http://www.queenslandholidays.com.au/travel-info/health-and-safety/driving.cfm.

Stop 1 – Airlie Beach

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Airlie Beach Lagoon 2)

Airlie Beach is a seaside town which has been a extremely popular tourist destination for both locals and international visitors for many years. The town is renowned for its restaurants, bars and cafes, along with several water sports. There are some nice swimming beaches, however due to the possible presence of jelly fish in the water it is recommended to swim only in the winter, or dry season. During the wet season you can swim at the Airlie Beach Lagoon, which is a series of swimming pools of different depths and is free to enter. There are plenty of accommodation options here, from caravan parks to 5 star hotels and resorts. The local seafood and steak restaurants are also highly recommended, with the speciality being mud crab. Airlie Beach is also known as the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. For more information on accommodation, restaurants and places to visit, please visit this site http://www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au/destinations/airlie-beach/.

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Airlie Beach 3)

The Whitsunday Islands

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Hamilton Island 4)

The Whitsunday Islands are a series of islands that are off the coast off Queensland near Airlie Beach and are made up of approximately 74 islands. There are many options for getting to these beautiful islands, you can take one of many cruises or even hire your own yacht or boat and explore at your own leisure. The largest islands are Whitsunday Island, Hamilton Island and Hook Island, and you can find accommodation options on these islands if you desire to spend some extra time here. The Whitsundays are also the gateway to the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, and you can go for a sightseeing cruise or scuba diving from operators on any of these islands or from Airlie Beach. These islands are arguably some of the most picturesque and unspoilt in the world, with many islands where no person has ever set foot on. These islands can give you a taste of the reef and give you the tropical island holiday that you desire. For more information on accommodation, restaurants, transport and other water activities please see this site http://www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au/.

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Whitsunday Island 5)

Bowen

Bowen

Bowen is a small seaside town approximately 78 kilometres north of Airlie Beach. Bowen is renowned for its swimming beaches and its most famous export which are mangoes. You can find many secluded beaches and hidden away coves around the edge of the town, or you can dine at one of many seafood restaurants that are found here. Bowen is also a great spot for snorkelling and kayaking, with many coves with calm crystal blue water, or you can choose to explore the national park which is home to many native animals, including kangaroos and emus. There are also several accommodation options here, from caravan parks to resorts. There are also markets held in Bowen on the weekends, and here you can find arts and crafts or sample some of the delicious local mangoes. This is a great location to spend a day or a week for those who wish to spend a nice relaxing tropical beach holiday in a town which is not overcrowded. It is highly recommended that you visit horseshoe bay for a swim or snorkel. For more information on Bowen and accommodation, food or attractions please see this site http://www.tourismbowen.com.au/.

Horseshoe Bay, Bowen

Townsville

Townsville is located approximately 200 kilometres north of Bowen. The city has a population of around 175,000 people, which makes it the second largest city in Queensland and the tenth most populated in Australia. Townsville is renowned for its beaches and water sports and is also a good way to access the Great Barrier Reef. Being a large city there are a multitude of accommodation and dining options, with something to suit all tastes and budgets. If you fancy a break from the ocean, you can visit Billabong Sanctuary which is home to many native animals, or take a cruise through one of the many river systems in the area. There are also several excellent land based fishing locations or you can take one of the many fishing charters if you desire. Townsville is unlike most cities in Australia, with a mix of different cultures all in the background of a vibrant tropical city. The city is has a vast history, and the museums should not be overlooked whilst visiting. For more information on Townsville and accommodation, restaurants and attractions please visit this site http://www.townsvilleholidays.info/.

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Townsville 6)

Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is located a short distance from Townsville by ferry. The island has long been a popular tourist destination and is renowned for its scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking and swimming locations. It has remained relatively untouched, with much of the island considered a national park. There are several resorts and restaurants located on the island with options to suit all tastes. The island is also home to many native animals, including rock wallabies. There are also many walking or cycling tracks and you can also hire a four wheel drive vehicle if you so desire. Magnetic Island is a great location for people of all ages and cultures to visit, and can be a holiday location in it's own right for those who long to sip cocktails on a golden beach under a palm tree, however there are many options for those who wish to visit for the day. For more information about Magnetic Island and accommodation, restaurants, transports and attractions please visit this site http://www.magnetic-island.com.au/.

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Magnetic Island 7)

This concludes our guide to Airlie Beach, The Whitsunday Islands, Bowen and Townsville. Please note that whilst all information written here was correct at the time of publication, conditions in the future may change and it advised that you gain information from media reports or local authorities when visiting. It is advisable to visit the Northern Queensland area between the months of March and November. The summer months can be uncomfortable with high levels of humidity, monsoonal rains, the presence of marine stingers and also the potential for cyclones which can develop during the wet season.

Disclaimer

Queensland beaches can be prone to rips and strong currents, and it is strongly advised that you swim only on patrolled beaches and also follow all signs and directions. For more information please see this site http://www.visit-queensland.com/iss/emerging-markets/travel-info/safety-tips/beach-and-water-safety.cfm

When swimming, especially during the summer months or wet season, local waters in North Queensland can have some species of marine stingers, or jellyfish that are extremely toxic. The two most common and dangerous are the Box Jellyfish and the Irukandji. It is important to follow any signs that are on the beach and/or listen to advice from life guards. For more information please see this site http://www.health.qld.gov.au/goodhealthintnq/topics/jellyfish.asp.

There are also several species of sharks that frequent Queensland waters. Whilst shark attacks are extremely rare, swimmers should remain vigilant and try to avoid swimming at dawn and dusk where research shows are the peak times for attacks. For more information please see this site http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/56823/Safety-at-the-beach-new-2012.pdf

Queensland is also home to several species of venomous snakes and spiders. Like sharks, bites and fatalities are extremely rare however vigilance is again the key It is recommended that you always carry a first aid and snake bite kit in your vehicle or on your person when out walking. For more information please see this site http://www.childsafetyhandbook.com.au/articles-out-and-about/snake-and-spider-bites-1

There are also some species of salt and freshwater crocodiles that can be found in North Queensland. These are the most prevalent in the summer months when the rivers and creeks flood, possibly carrying the crocodiles to the coast. Whilst attacks and fatalities are extremely rare, it is important to remain vigilant and observe any signs. Please see this site for more information http://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/livingwith/crocodiles/crocodiles__be_croc_wise.html.

Travel | Australia

2) Airlie Beach Lagoon by Kevin Gibbons licence CC 3.0, Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Airlie_Beach_QLD_swimming_lagoon.jpg
3) Airlie Beach by Damien Dempsey licence CC 2.0, Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Airlie_Beach,_Queensland_-_01.jpg
4) Hamilton Island by Internet2014 licence CC 3.0, Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Catseye_Beach_on_Hamilton_Island.jpg
5) Whitsunday Island by Bigal888 licence CC 2.5, Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WhitsundayIslandBeach.JPG
6) Townsville by Joseph Senthil licence CC 3.0 Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:City_of_Townsville.JPG
7) Magnetic Island by Stevage licence CC 3.0, Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Horseshoe_Bay_Stevage.jpg

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