Staff Recommendations: The Whitsundays, QLD

Hertz interviewed our local staff in various locations around Australia and New Zealand to provide customers and travellers with the inside scoop on what not to miss, and what you won't always find in a travel brochure. When embarking on your next adventure, the best kind of perspective is the local one. Here's what our employees recommend in The Whitsundays in Queensland, Australia:

Must Dos

Hydeaway Bay Beach
1.5 km in length, Hydeaway Bay Beach is located about a 45-minute drive north of the better known and popular Airlie Beach. With stunning views of Gloucester Island, Saddleback Island, and other idyllic paradise settings you can spend a relaxed day searching for shells at low tide or paddle-board and kayak your way through the hues of blue. This beach is perfect for a lazy day of soaking up some rays and planting a beach chair into the silky sands.

Dingo Beach
The sister beach to Hydeaway Bay, Dingo Beach, offers an array of activities. Dip your toes in the water, go snorkelling or head to the boat ramp and throw in a line for a day of fishing. Visit the pub or one of the locally owned boutique shops and restaurants. Not to mention, the sunsets off Dingo are of epic proportion (and there's one every night!). - perfect for enjoying an evening stroll or for cooking up the days catch at the plentiful public barbecues.

Bowen Beach
Bowen Beach has a tropical vibe with palm trees, crystal blue waters, and striking coral gardens. Located about an hour drive north of Airlie Beach, Bowen is a utopia for snorkelers and divers alike. Our staff recommend climbing to the top of Flagstaff Hill for a panoramic outlook that traces the coast's silhouette as far as they eye can see. Simply stunning.

Bredl's Wildlife Farm
Learn about Queensland wildlife, explore the local flora and fauna and get up close and personal with Australia's most iconic creatures. Only a 45-minute drive south of Airlie beach, take your travels off the beaten path for a nature-rich family adventure. This wildlife park is only accessible by car and requires a booking.

Airlie Beach Lagoon
Right in the heart of Airlie Beach, get ready for sunbathing, swimming with friends, and enjoying the beach town atmosphere. Free of charge, one end of the lagoon has a children's pool, perfect for families.

Best Restaurants

Capers on the Esplanade
Soak up the sun with a beachfront view. Capers on the Esplanade perches right on the beach. Whether you're after breakfast, lunch, or dinner, enjoy the outdoor ambiance with modern Australian cuisine and a bevvie or two.

Fish D'vine and Rum Bar
Famous for its delicious cuisine and tranquil atmosphere, book ahead to enjoy these two very different but very enjoyable vibes. The seafood restaurant boasts a fresh menu packed with succulent dishes and award-winning gastronomy. Their rum bar displays a collection of over 560 rums - enough said.

Fat Frog Beach Café
Grab breakfast or lunch with your dog - and a view. Just opposite Cannonvale beach, the locals love this eccentric spot. You'll enjoy healthy dishes and treats for your four-legged companion. Craft beer and wine are a feature (for the humans) here too.

Little Vegas Burger & Bar
American street food, juicy burgers, and a buzzing atmosphere. Little Vegas is right on the main strip of Airlie Beach, and unsurprisingly, is open late for any night owls in need of a bite to eat. Think fried chicken waffles, spicy fish tacos, and beer-battered onion rings… mouth-watering.

Hidden Gems

Eungella National Park
If you aren't on a tight time schedule, make a pit stop in Eungella National Park, about 2.5 hours south of Airlie Beach. Here you will find insane views of inland rainforests, encounters with the platypus, and cascading valleys. There are a variety of bushwalks suitable for beginners, mid-level hikers, and advanced bushwalkers alike. Stop off at Broken River for a picnic, or walk towards Finch Hatton Gorge, a Hertz Staff favourite within the Eungella National Park. Finch Hatton Gorge shows off picturesque waterfalls, volcanic rock formations, and lush vegetation.

Cedar Creek Falls
Located approximately 30 minutes from Airlie Beach and 20 minutes from Proserpine, Cedar Creek Falls is the perfect stop for a peaceful stroll through the forest to a flowing waterfall. Likewise, this natural waterhole is an ideal place to have a swim and bask in the clear waters. The falls are close to the car park, ensuring a short, easy walk to and from your destination.

Coral Beach
Take a 20-minute drive from Airlie Beach or a pleasant walk about 1km through the Conway National Forest from the south entry to reach the secluded Coral Beach. Travellers are also able to bush-drive to the beach. You'll be met with impressive blue waters and a non-tourist ridden 'private' paradise. This beach got its name for a reason. Intricate bits of white coral are littered across the beach where the waves kiss the sand. Enjoy the views of the Coral Sea from a location just far enough off the beaten path to make it feel like your own personal getaway.

Honeyeater Lookout
Aiming high? Take a trek on the Honeyeater trail for panoramic views across the islands of The Whitsundays. This lookout has a steep ascent, requiring a medium to high fitness level. Access is through the Kara Crescent trailhead and is about 2.5km in length. What's a steep uphill walk turns into a sweet reward when travellers have a world of paradise at their feet.

Local Events

With the surf and sun, the Whitsundays area hosts a plethora of entertaining events throughout the year. From music festivals to challenging physical feats, a few events that may fit the bill include:

• Wintermoon Festival (May)
• Great Whitehaven Beach Run (June)
• Airlie Beach Race Week (August)
• Hamilton Island Race Week (August)
• Whitsunday Reef Festival (August)
• Airlie Beach Music Festival (November)
• Local Markets - Every Saturday