The 'BEACH' - and Finding Natural Harmony!
Ocean, Reef, Islands, People, Lifestyle, Powerboats!
Families always enjoy the beach
Heart Reef - I just love this place
Lifestyle and People
Airlie is a tourist destination. Traditionally for young international backpackers, who stay for a few days, weeks or months – some never leave. They bring energy and beauty while adding to the relaxed atmosphere. Two marinas, ferries, trips to the reef and dozens of charter vessels - plus all levels of visitor accommodation, restaurants, bars and night-clubs, means there is always plenty to do, or casual work to be found.
Airlie has several festival events each year including the Reef Festival - and Airlie Race Week, when about a hundred sailing yachts gather for a week of racing and parties.
Each Saturday there is a colourful market held on the foreshore, this is extended to include every visiting cruise-ship day, of which there were about 40 each year – pre-Covid!
The soul of Airlie is the people. The beauty and charm of a small community embraces friendly social engagement and the inevitable networking opportunities. My evening walk along the Bicentennial Walkway of 3 kilometres, from Cannonvale Beach, through the Botanic Garden to the boardwalk and Shingley Beach, has led to many new friends – and their dogs – plus many inevitably interesting conversations with tourists. How can you not be happy in such an environment?
Beach cities attract cruise ships. Sun Princess and Queen Victoria depart Airlie together at dusk. Major cruise lines are making the transition to sustainable renewable fuels.
Much of the value in my evening walk is the opportunity to observe the birds in the three different habitats the Bicentennial Walkway traverses, being: Beach, Botanic Gardens and Boardwalk. Needless to say the bird life differs in each, but overlaps to some extent.
Silver Gulls can be seen at any point, White Headed/Burdekin/Raja Shellducks enjoy the bay and the beach, but favour the freshwater creeks that stream down from the Conway Range, as does a cute little Buff Banded Rail. The Garden is home to Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Rainbow Lorikeets, Figbirds, Friarbirds, Magpie/Peewee/Mud Larks, Peaceful Doves and several Honeyeater species. The Black Butcherbird and Greater Bowerbird have their territories, as does the Brush Turkey and his ‘harem’. The Boardwalk presents Terns, Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers, Reef Egrets, Striated Heron and the Little, Intermediate and Great species of white Egrets. Not apparent to most walkers, is the secretive roost of the Nankeen/Night Heron. Look to the sky for Black Kites, Brahminy Kites, Osprey and the occasional White Belied Sea Eagle. The summer months bring the inward migration of Pied Imperial/Torres Straight/Nutmeg Pigeons.
I could go on! With my partner, we contribute to an annual bird count for Birds Australia. Within the scope of this ‘backyard’ we counted over 50 different species in one week! Yes, the birds are my therapy! If I had to pick a favourite, it would be the Red Tailed Black Cockatoo. Revealing a flash of red in the tail - and in graceful flight among a small flock, a clear ‘mewing’ contact call. Just beautiful!
The Beach is like home to me, it’s a place to walk, it’s a place to relax, and it’s a place to, observe nature, contemplate life and realise my true values. Even better, it’s the place where I look out at the ocean and consider concepts and initiatives and dream of what could be! In this I have been blessed. I spent much of my childhood English summers living in a beach shack and messing about in boats, I have lived much of my adult life close to beaches, and now I choose to live overlooking the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Airlie Beach is very much the tourism destination of the beautiful Whitsunday region, in tropical mid-north Queensland, Australia. A heart shaped reef on the Great Barrier Reef off the Whitsunday coast gives Airlie the title ‘The Heart of the Reef’ – a fair claim, as ‘Port of Airlie’ is a main departure point for a visit to the reef. The region is blessed with a near perfect climate and the most beautiful group of islands and deserted beaches, and needless to say, it’s a perfect boating paradise.
The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is perhaps the most valuable marine eco-system in the world. What we are observing here makes us very conscious of just how valuable, sensitive and vulnerable reef systems are in the face of climate change and the naïve abuse dealt on them by mankind.
One good Tern deserves another, and another and maybe a Booby and a Noddy - a reef island is their home - the reef waters are their supermarket.
Preserving natural wonders like The Great Barrier Reef is an urgent challenge - before we lose it forever!
The marine industry and our powerboating passion - while being part of the problem, can be part of the solution.
Gabby loves Airlie Beach - This much!
The crowning glory of the region is the beautiful islands. The biggest, being the uninhabited Whitsunday Island, home to the world famous Whitehaven Beach. A seven kilometre stretch of white silica sand, Whitehaven is consistently rated as one of the top three beaches in the world. Several of the smaller islands have resort developments, including Hayman Island, an exclusive resort favoured by the ‘rich & famous’. In early 2017 it was badly damaged by cyclone Debbie. The resort was substantially rebuilt and now exceeds its former glory! Hamilton Island is extensively developed, having an airport with direct jet flights from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and many private holiday homes, as well as extensive tourist accommodation. The week following Airlie race week is Hamilton Island race week, a more formal, lavish and spectacular affair!
At the other end of the ‘Island experience’ scale a little custom built landing craft, ‘Scamper’ will fix you up with a camping permit and take you and your gear to one of the uninhabited islands where you can truly experience what it’s like to live on a deserted, tropical South Pacific island!
Red tailed Black Cockatoo
The synergy of 'Offshore Performance' and sustainable renewable fuels will ultimately prevail!
I am trusting that before long, a truly authentic offshore powerboat will travel this coastline, epitomising harmony with its environment. It will bring a synergy of power, sustainable fuel and rationale to restoring a truly accessible and aspirational lifestyle - but of more significance, will be a 'Spirit', of understanding and responsibility toward all life on this planet.