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Great value for families at Airlie Beach

Families have finally cottoned onto what backpackers have known for years: experiencing the beauty of the Whitsunday Islands need not cost a lot of money.

With great deals flying direct to Prosperine and major cruise operators dropping anchor, the ‘Gateway to the Whitsundays’ is becoming a holiday hot spot, with more experiences catering to families. We checked out BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort and discovered that there is so much fun to be found in Airlie Beach with kids and that, despite Cyclone Debbie’s recent rampage, the city is getting back to business and there are plenty of reasons to book a Whitsunday’s break right now.

Everything you need at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort

Our first stay at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday turned us into complete holiday park converts! It is worlds apart from the holiday parks I remember. Gone are the hot and cramped caravans to be replaced with spacious air-conditioned cabins packed with luxuries including a full kitchen with a dishwasher, separate rooms, flat screen TV, DVD player and free speedy WIFI.

Whilst having bunk beds in a separate room was great, it’s not what the kids were most excited about. At their disposal were two jumping pillows, a mini-golf course, outdoor cinema, playground, a tennis court, basketball hoops, giant chess set and the cutest llamas, who were completely at home in the tropics. The most exciting thing of all was the largest resort pool in Airlie with water slides and fountains.

At Kermit Kids Club, our kids coloured in and joined in on games of musical statues under the guide of the resorts qualified staff. As they were kept entertained, us adults enjoyed a few hours of kid-free time where we read books and flicked the morning paper and enjoyed quiet uninterrupted conversation over a hot cup of tea on the back deck. When we picked the kids up, they had made fast friends with the other kids staying at the resort. Throughout our stay, they’d give each other a cheer as they zipped past in their bikes or coordinate games of Marco Polo together in the pool. This is the stuff childhood memories are made of.

“This is the stuff childhood memories are made of. ”

Cruise around Airlie on the back of a Tuk Tuk

We managed to coerce the kids away from the resort to see Airlie on a fun ride with Just Tuk’n Around. On a couple of pedicabs with Bret ‘Jingo’ Jones and his wife Tania at the helm, we zipped around town with locals who knew Airlie like the back of their hand.

We passed the home of the first Hogs Breath Café, breezed along the Airlie Beach Boardwalk, enjoyed the picturesque views from the deck of the Coral Seas Resort, admired the million dollar mansions, checked out Shoalhaven Beach and cruised down the Main Street with our charismatic guides honking their horns and shouting out “Hey Hey” to fellow tourists, who always enthusiastically waved back.

We covered allot of ground on the Tuk Tuks and saw parts of Airlie that we could have easily missed. Best of all we gained a insider’s insight to Airlie by two passionate Airlie residents.

UPDATE

Enjoy the good vibes at Airlie Beach Markets

We were lucky enough to be in Airlie on a Saturday morning where good vibes can be found along the esplanade at the Airlie Beach Markets, which open from 8am to midday. A local band played soft rock and roll as we browsed the 100 local community stalls. The kids were quick to spot some imitation Pokémon toys, we smelt the delicious scent of hand made soap and picked out a few unique beads and bracelets as we debated the wisdom of purchasing a wind chime made of XXXX gold beer cans.

There were plump watermelons, huge golden papayas and juicy pineapples for a few dollars, but the kids couldn’t go past a refreshing Bowen Mango sorbet as we sipped a Mr Bean Cold Brew iced coffee under a shady palm tree by the beach.

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Day trip to one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet

A short one-hour cruise from the thriving hub of Airlie and we were sinking our toes into the finest white silica sand and swimming in the tranquil sky blue water of Whitehaven Beach, consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the world.

Our half-day tour allowed the right amount of time to play on the pristine shore before boredom set in. As quickly as we arrived, we were whisked back to our cabin at for a quick home cooked lunch and a splash in the 100-foot lagoon pool.

The kids had heavy hearts saying goodbye to Airlie Beach and the BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort. I can only imagine what the tears will be like prying them away once the huge 13 slide water park opens in April 2017.

UPDATE
UPDATE

Together we roam‘s Rene Young has travelled to 70 countries. When the Brisbane based blogger is not discovering Brisbane's street art, exploring Queensland or roaming the world with her five-year old son and three-year old daughter, she can be found indulging her love of reality TV.

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