The Boathouse Apartments are pure extravagance in an amazing setting.
The Boathouse Apartments are pure extravagance in an amazing setting. Lauren Reed

Port project has it all

WHETHER you are a multimillionaire yacht owner looking for a luxurious Whitsunday getaway, a backpacker on a budget looking for a swim or an Airlie Beach local looking for a cup of coffee, the Port of Airlie will have it all.

Over the past five years the old mud flats littered with sunken boats at the end of the Airlie Beach Main Street have been transformed into the Port of Airlie development, which is moving forward at an alarming rate.

Completion of the project, which includes resorts, a 300-berth marina and luxurious properties, is still some way off but along with a beautiful man-made beach and public park, visitors are already enjoying the magnificent Boathouse Apartments and a shopping and dining precinct that will house a wide mix of destinations.

The official opening of the man-made beach will take place this morning and from tomorrow residents and tourists alike will be able to use it. The beach will be open for swimming at both high and low tides, something never before seen in Airlie Beach.

“Australia is now 30 hectares larger than it was four years ago,” said Andrew Forster, the North Queensland sales manager for Meridien, the company that is developing the Port of Airlie.

“The beach was designed so people can swim here on low and high tides. The sand has come from Ten Mile Beach at Bowen.

“If anyone asks if the area is gated for the residents, well that’s not the Australian way; we want everyone to enjoy this beach and park,” Mr Forster said.

If you’re thinking a place like this, with multimillion-dollar properties and luxurious apartments is only a hideaway for the rich and famous, you would be wrong. The beach is public and the restaurants and shops don’t discriminate.

“You don’t have to be a Ferrari-driving, Rolex-wearing person to come to the Port of Airlie.

“The top end market and backpacker markets can co-exist,” Mr Forster said.

“This is how it has to be done in a place like Airlie Beach.”

The shopping and dining precinct under the Boathouse Apartments already houses The Coffee Club and will soon welcome Billabong, Calypso Fashion, Aimer Accessories and more shops to offer anyone well-deserved retail therapy.

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