Mirage Whitsundays, Airlie Beach, QLD
Located at the northern end of Airlie Beach, Mirage Whitsundays offers commanding views of the Coral Sea and Whitsunday Islands. It's a five-minute drive to town, or a 15-20 minute walk along a boardwalk via the nearby Abell Point Marina. Whitsunday Airport at Proserpine is a 30-minute drive away. Airlie Beach lies on the far north Queensland coast between Mackay and Townsville and is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. The town is undergoing somewhat of a metamorphous. The demographic is now more flashpacker than backpacker, plus growing numbers of holidaying families are attracted to the town's laidback tropical feel.
The luxury waterfront property owned by the Fullshare Group (who also own the Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas and Laguna Quays) will eventually be Airlie Beach's first five-star resort once an on-site restaurant, fitness centre and spa opens in January. There are a total of 104 apartments, of which 40 offer private pools. Currently the resort has 33 two and three-bedroom serviced apartments, four-bedroom penthouses and three-bathroom villas in the holiday rental pool, but eventually this will rise to 70. The 0.8 ha resort has a swanky, tropical feel, and due to its clever terraced design by architects Woodhead International, the majority of accommodation offers uninterrupted sea views. The resort's large lagoon swimming pool with separate shallow pool is surrounded by lush lawn and palm trees making it ideal for families. There's also a second smaller, more secluded pool surrounded by large pandanus palms.
The first thing you notice upon entering our two-bedroom apartment is the astonishing 180 degree views of the Whitsunday archipelago, which practically screams "look at me". Our apartment is furnished in a stylish neutral palette with splashes of aqua and blue complementing the Coral Sea views. The master suite features its own private furnished terrace with sunlounge, oversized shower and bath with ocean view. There's also a second smaller bedroom with twin beds, a study area, Wi-Fi, large flat screen TV, ducted airconditioning, kitchen and laundry. Best of all is the outdoor terrace with serene views of yachts moored on a calm, turquoise sea.
Aside from self catering (all apartments feature a fully equipped kitchen with Miele appliances, plus there are supermarkets close by) you're on your own until the on-site restaurant opens. There are, however, numerous dining options a short stroll away at Abell Point Marina, including Barcelona Tapas Bar and the colourful organic cafe Bohemian Raw. In the opposite direction is the kid-friendly Fat Frog Cafe. In town, Mr Bones serves up fantastic wood-fired pizzas and probably Airlie's best coffee, Little Vegas offers epic burgers, while Walter Cross, a relatively new wine and tapas bar, brings a city feel to the tropics.
Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and all that it offers, however there's more than enough to keep you planted on the mainland. You can join an educational Whitsunday Crocodile Safari Tour to see resident saltwater crocodiles in their natural habitat. Along the waterfront, you can take a swim at Airlie's beautiful lagoon swimming pool (ideal for families), collect shells on the beach, mosey around the Airlie Beach Markets, have a swim at the stunning Cedar Creek Falls and enjoy a sunset drink at the Whitsunday Sailing Club.
Mirage Whitsundays is a luxurious addition to Airlie Beach, offering contemporary waterfront digs, friendly staff and views to die for. It doesn't get much better than this.
Enjoying a wine on the terrace and soaking up the superlative views over the Whitsunday Islands.
The 10am checkout time, however reception happily gave us a late checkout of midday.
11 Altmann Avenue, Cannonvale, Queensland. Two-bedroom apartments start from $400 per night for four people (three-night minimum stay). The resort offers a pay four, stay five offer on all room types except penthouses. See miragewhitsundays.com.au Phone 07 4948 1940.
Sheriden Rhodes was a guest of Mirage Whitsundays.