Cedar Creek Falls is not so falls-like in the winter months. During the wet season (summer) it's definitely worth a look, though you'll be disappointed in the drier months (take the trek down to Eungella National Park to go platypus spotting if you want to see nature at its best in the winter).
Avoid some of the backpacker bars on Airlie Beach's main street if you're not on the same wavelength as a 20-year-old lad from east London. Some of these 'bras' are great fun and offer cheap drinks and a lively crowd, but you'll also see your fair share of wet T-shirt competitions, 'Wonderwall' covers and more English football jerseys than at the last FA Cup final.
Don't stay at the Reef View Hotel on Hamilton Island how on earth they let 1980s property tycoon Keith Hamilton put up a 20-plus-storey block of concrete on one of the earth's greatest island groups defies belief. It doesn't feel right being in so much concrete while you're in such pristine surrounds.
I'd also avoid most of the bars on Hamilton Island (they're okay at the Marina, though) where the "new rich" battle each other to see who can produce their platinum Amex cards first and have bragging rights about their wealth. You'll also see a few work conference groups here not always so much fun to be around.
There's the odd tourist attraction on Hamilton Island more suited to places such as Phuket or Kuta. For example, Jetryder, is a jet-boat ride that brings yachties running to their decks with their fists in the air as jet-setters thunder past with loud techno music blaring. The day we tried it, the driver ripped off a large section of mangrove vine and one of our main ports of call was a haven for turtles and dolphins. Sigh.
Also, consider avoiding the big group tourist activities. Beaches such as Whitehaven Beach are best looked at with a small group, or even with just your partner or your family it might cost a little more to book an intimate charter, but consider how it feels to have paradise plundered by a hundred others fighting you for their bit of paradise.
If you want absolute water frontage accommodation in the Airlie Beach area, don't book anything located in Cannonvale. Cannonvale is actually a suburb of Airlie Beach and is a five-minute drive from any water. Many accommodation outlets use pictures of famous Whitsunday Island beaches, such as Whitehaven Beach, on their brochures, which give customers the idea they'll be staying on the beach. Unless you're staying on an island resort, you won't be staying on any beach in Airlie (the closest you can come is at Coral Sea Resort, which is actually on the water).
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Next: Near the beaten track
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