Airlie Beach QLD

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 15, 2003 at 05:52
ThreadID: 3862 Views:17180 Replies:5 FollowUps:7
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I am travelling to Airlie Beach in early April for a week. Anyone know if there is any four wheel drive tracks in the area worth a visit and is it legal to drive on the beaches in the area? we are there on our honeymoon so I don't want to have to travel 3 or 4 hours to get to the tracks. Nearby to Airlie/Shute Harbour would be perfect.
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Reply By: Old Soldier - Saturday, Mar 15, 2003 at 08:51

Saturday, Mar 15, 2003 at 08:51
G'day Tony,

There is not much available in 4WD activity around Airlie Beach.

Further down there is some serious stuff on the track into Cape Palmerston NP from Ilbilbie, but thats south of Mackay.

A bit closer there is the back track from Mackay to Eungella NP via Mia Mia State forest and Raspberry Creek. That can be a bit of a challenge at certain times.

You might also find some if you head off into the hinterland behind the ranges - seek local knowledge

You won't find any serious beach driving in this part of the world. Being inside the reef and away from the pounding Pacific Ocean the sand is a wee bit too soft.

Anyway mate, you must have better things to do on a honeymoon :) :) :)

While you are there an island and reef cruise is a must. The waters in that area are what peace and tranquility is all about.



AnswerID: 15245

Follow Up By: Tony James - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 06:53

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 06:53
Thanks for the reply. We plan to do a few days sailing while we're there, see the reef, snorkle, wine and dine and the other things newly weds do!!! We live 1500ks away and the cruiser is heavier on fuel then the Festiva so I thought that if there wasn't much 4wd'ing we'd take the Festiva, 1/2 the the cost.
FollowupID: 9299

Reply By: Andrew - Saturday, Mar 15, 2003 at 22:34

Saturday, Mar 15, 2003 at 22:34

Get your priorities right....leave the Mrs behind and take the boys on a 4WD adventure. You will be with the Mrs for rest of your bloody life!!!!

Only joking mate. Don't tell the Mrs.

Make sure you do one of the reef trips, very touristy but fantastic. If you do, don't clam it all in one day can snorkel, dive, fish and do a glass bottom boat thing. With lunch sqeezed in, it's all too much for 4 -5 hours on the reef. Just pick two, say a snorkel dive and something to keep the Mrs happy. Way to go.

Good luck


AnswerID: 15277

Follow Up By: Tony James - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 07:03

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 07:03
Hi Andrew. We plan to do the reef,sailing etc. Thought the 4wd might get us to a secluded spot for a day!! Guess I might hire a boat and find an island for ourselves! The money I'll save by taking the Festiva instead of the cruiser should cover that.
I'm pretty lucky though, 'cause the Mrs loves 4wd'ing and campimg just as much as I do. I'm aloud to modify the Cruiser as much as I like, she's that keen! The only 'handbrake' in our partnership is my wallet!
FollowupID: 9300

Follow Up By: Andrew - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 15:15

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 15:15
Yeah, much the same for me too. Except my Mrs said not long ago that if I buy one more accessory for my car, she's leaving!!!

I'll miss her!

FollowupID: 9317

Reply By: kezza - Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 20:35

Sunday, Mar 16, 2003 at 20:35
lived there most of my life 2wd trip to cedar creeek falls is the best youll find there (should be good after the rain) further afield is Cathu State forest near bloomsbury and there is a great trip to the Bowen River from the back of Eungella nat park many other tracks lead to mosquito swamps
or places that used to be beautiful with old beach huts and free camping but the powers that be - like shire councils have canned all the fun and adventure and bulldozed the beach huts. :-(
Try Earlandos and or Montys place up towards bowen.

AnswerID: 15327

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2003 at 16:50

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2003 at 16:50

Perhaps we know each other since Airlie is my home town too??? I attended Cannonvale Primary School and Proserpine High between 1977 and 1986. Left Airlie in late 1994. What about you?

:o) MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
FollowupID: 9472

Follow Up By: kezza - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 23:08

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 23:08
I went to Bowen High but I finished in 75,
Spent heaps of time drifting around the islands in the 70s and 80s back then it seemed as if we had it to ourselves.
my brother lived at strathdickie till 97 he looked after the yellow sub off Hayman is for quite a few years, the he used to drive one of the big cats out to the islands for several years after that. We had a bright yellow yacht called Intercoastal Space
I actually spent most of my time in Bowen but never missed a Whitsunday fun race (except for the 1st one) and we used to camp on ground that is now Prime real estate. Loved airlie back then and its still great now just a bit too busy for me.
FollowupID: 9585

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 01:03

Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 01:03

Airlie sure has changed over the years. Gone from a sleepy seaside resort town to hustle and bustle. Even got a McDonalds and KFC now! When I was a kid, my parents owned and operated a cruise boat out of Shute Hbr, one of only 4 in the whole area. Since Dad knew everyone, my weekends were spent island hopping aboard whichever cruise boat I wanted. I'd hand out the softdrinks and snorkeling gear. Even though the place was growing as I was, it is still hard to reconcile the Airlie I knew as a youngster with how it is today - hundreds of cruise boats, nightclubs, overrun with backpackers and the bushland that we used to hike and ride horses all over is now in the suburbs or a shopping centre.

Blow'n there's a place that hasn't really changed...not such a bad thing!?

:o) Melissa

Petrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
FollowupID: 9592

Follow Up By: kezza - Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 00:01

Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 00:01
Ha melissa
sometimes I go up to bowen for one of the most relaxing holidays one could ask for - stay at the Rod n Reel or any no. of in laws and rellies places - it hasnt changed a bit - Love it
FollowupID: 9648

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2003 at 16:46

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2003 at 16:46
Hi Tony,

Airlie is my home town so here's my tips:

All comments made above are fairly valid. Around Airlie itself, not much 4WDriving. You used to be able to get up into the Conway NP following Brandy Creek Road but these days there is a locked gate about 8 km's up the track. Still worth an afternoon drive if you like rainforests.

Best 4WDriving is around Mackay region, and some north around Bowen:
Mackay Region:

Cape Palmerston NP - South of Mackay, 4WD access only in this coastal park. Very scenic with stretches mangroves, beaches etc and good fishing. Camping at Windmill Bay, Cape Creek and Clark Bay but you need to be self-sufficient and carry water.

Mia Mia State Forest - West of Mackay, 4WD only. Some challenging 4WDriving at the base of the Clarke Ranges.Bush camping on Teemburra Creek at Captains Crossing but you need to get an access permit from Qld Parks & Wildlife Service at least 2 weeks prior.

Cathu State Forest - Nth of Mackay, 4WD only. Also part on the Clarke Ranges. This is a top spot with excellent grassy bush campsites beside the creek in which you can cool off. Area consists of rainforest, pine plantations and natural woodlands. Also great veiws all the way to the coast.

Cape Hillsborough NP - Not really 4WD but excellent spot if you like to do a bit of bushwalking with coastal views for miles. Camping at Smalley's Beach.

Finch Hatton Gorge - West of Mackay. Turn right off the Eungella Road for nice camping beside the creek. A few nice swimming holes and waterfall.

Eungella NP - West of Mackay. Beautiful, pristine rainforest with spectacular views across the Pioneer Valley. Camping at Broken River and if you're lucky you might see a platypus or two. Lovely large swimming hole near the picnic area. Might be a few leaches around in April depending on how wet it is.

Crediton State Forest - In the Eungella Ranges, 4WD only. Lovely place with bush camping at "The Diggings" (just beware of some open mine shafts in the area) and scenic 4WD track around Cockies Creek and Broken River.

Eungella Dam - About 40km SW of Eungella with excellent camping around the dam. Grassy, shady sites. Popular area with water skiers but rarely anyone else about mid-week. Just past the dam there is a moderate (unless wet) 4WD track going all the way through to Collinsville. Drive takes you passed cattle stations and natural bush with winding sections. Not a bad run. From Collinsville you can continue along unsealed roads to the Burdekin Dam Falls or return to the coast via Bowen. Along this route you'll come across a popular gemstone fossicking area which is a good place to bush camp overnight or longer.

Between Airlie and Bowen there is some good bush camping along the coast (if you know where to go!). One of our favourite spots was Emu Creek with easy access from the Bruce Highway across private property. Owner doesn't seem to mind allowing access as long as people continue to do the right thing. Anyway, camping is at the mouth of Emu Creek above sandy beach with some shade. Crabbing and fishing in the Creek is tops or fish in the ocean where there is a shallow reef out front. Another spot closer to Airlie is Billy Creek with bush camping along several mangrove lined creeks. Midgies can be a bit friendly but if you're taking a tinny, the crabbing is tops.

You shouldn't have any trouble finding some 4Wdriving and camping now Tony. Enjoy your honeymoon.

:o) Melissa

AnswerID: 15591

Reply By: boyco - Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 21:47

Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 21:47
Was at Airlie MAy 2002. Stayed at Cape Palmerston NP for 1 night on the way up from the south east. Don't bother. The camp site was littered with rubbish, there were fire rings everywhere from illegal camp fires and the we drove 95% of the track in 2wd. We did stop at the first camp site, so the other sites may have been nice.

Cedar Falls near Airlie are beautiful and the ecotour on the river near bowen was really good. Stayed at Agnes Waters (Deep Water NP) for 2 nights on the way home and it was fantastic. Clean camp grounds, beach driving available if you want it.

All the best.
AnswerID: 16353

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