Well, Christmas has been everything we expected and more!
Everyone says that Christmas just isn’t the same in hot weather… and of course to some extent it is very different to a magical London Christmas experience – but nonetheless, its been perfect! I am a lover of all things beachy, so a Christmas on Airlie Beach is always going to be a yes from me!
So, just how can you spend Christmas in the Whitsundays…
“Twas the night before Christmas…
Christmas Eve is all about preparing and getting ready for the Christmas Day celebrations; however, there is only 2 of us here and as we are being cooked for on Christmas Day, there is not too much for us to prepare! So, what better way to kick off Christmas than doing something in true Aussie style and celebrating with a barbie around the pool? We are true lovers of barbecues so it was the perfect way to get us into the Christmas spirit! (Not that it takes much to start me off!)
We know that not everybody has their own private pool & barbie over Christmas as Airlie Beach is backpacker and hostel HEAVEN; but there are many public BBQs dotted around everywhere! If we didn’t have our own, we would have absolutely put together a Christmas barbie spread and head out for the day on the hunt for the best located BBQ on Airlie Beach! Lions Park is the perfect waterfront & public BBQ location!
There is a fantastic website called Meat In a Park which actually finds you the closest public BBQ to your location, wherever in Australia you may be! May you Aussie travellers never search for a public barbie again!
Thank me later.
In terms of food, we opted for our favourite – wholemeal buns, grilled chicken marinaded in Nandos HOT peri-peri sauce (what else?!), with lettuce & tomato, a long with a side of lettuce boats filled with fino slaw (again, Nandos inspired.)
Some would say that we LOVE a Nandos…
… and that really was it, right up until we ran out of alcohol!
Barbecues are not for everyone – and thankfully most of the mainland venues remain open for Christmas Eve celebrations; bars and restaurants! So, there really is something for everyone.
Our day started at around 6am, of course I made my way straight to the music speakers and blared out the ‘Christmas Hits’ at full volume! Who doesn’t do that?!
The face time calls were first priority (after opening our presents of course.), as our families back in the UK were still awake and enjoying their Christmas Eve evenings, so it was perfect timing for our Christmas Day wishes – even if it was a few hours early for them!
After the phone calls were done, the fun began – drinking Mimosas and eating our most loved breakfast; smoked salmon with scrambled eggs!
I am a real lover of Christmas & a huge kid when it comes to anything Christmas related, so I had to make sure we had a beautiful lunch planned. I also love any excuse to get dressed up and it is always a must for me to wear red on the 25th December!
I opted for a red slinky maxi dress with a cowl back, purchased from Zaful during one of their unbeatable sales at the price of $12.75! Yep, $12.75.
(Buy it here)
It was the perfect choice of wardrobe for the setting considering it is the height of the Aussie summer & extremely hot at the minute! There is just no way that I can have my arms or shoulders covered at any time. The dress is a fish tail/trumpet style and is perfect for keeping you cool underneath!
We had been looking online for a while on where to spend our day – and I am so pleased that we spent it where we did; at the Coral Sea Resort!
Coral Sea Resort is a beautiful hotel, with a jetty & restaurant overlooking the coral sea water… Bliss!
They offer two sittings on Christmas Day. The first sitting is from 11.30am until 2.30pm… and the second sitting from 4pm until 7pm!
We opted for the first sitting as we prefer Christmas lunch rather than dinner.
We arrived promptly at 11.30am and made our way inside; we were welcomed onto the jetty, handed a glass of bubbly and offered a selection of canapés… Lovely! (Although they were octopus canapés… ew.)
After half an hour of relaxing on the jetty & enjoying the coral water view, we were approached by our waiter and escorted from the jetty to our table! We thought that was such a nice touch. Usually, you would make your own way to the restaurant and be taken to your table – but here they approached each party personally on the jetty, and escorted you table by table.
You wont find that in London, thats for sure!
We arrived at our table – and were glad to see Sangria being one of the Christmas cocktail options! So, a jug for us it was.
Rick opted for the Seafood Platter to start which consisted of
Sashimi tuna, natural oyster, king prawns, herb bug, smoked salmon, crab salad with grilled lime & saffron aioli.
I chose the Antipasto Platter…
Selection of cured meats, marinated vegetables, bocconcini cheese, stuffed peppers, smoky eggplant and homemade bread.
and then came our Christmas lunch…
Roast turkey roulade with chipolatas (a pig in blanket!), sage & onion stuffing, duck fat potatoes, glazed vegetables & gravy,
with two side dishes to share…
Rocket & pear salad
Glazed beets and roasted pumpkin
Followed by a beautiful dessert buffet consisting of;
A selection of chefs Christmas puddings and gateaux served with fruit coulis, anglaise & brandy sauce
as well as a selection of Australian cheese with chutneys & compotes.
I honestly can not find one negative to say about the food – for us, it was the perfect Christmas lunch!
We made our way back onto the jetty and enjoyed our last hour sipping cocktails & taking in the stunning surroundings.
Of course, we never miss an opportunity for a photo!
We booked & paid around 2 months in advance for this as I was concerned that it would sell out – and it absolutely did; there was not one empty table! The price came to a total of $296 ($148pp); which for a Christmas lunch in a location as breathtaking as this – we thought was fantastic.
I could not recommend the Coral Sea Resort any more! It is the perfect place for any traveller or Aussie to spend their Christmas Day; for both families and couples!
There are plenty of other magical options for Christmas Day across the Whitsundays; many of the mainland restaurants offer Christmas Day lunches and buffets catering for all budgets and styles!
And if thats not your thing, there is absolutely nothing wrong with spending Christmas Day around a public BBQ with good company!
After all, it always comes down to what you make of it. Celebrate Christmas your own way! If I would have started looking into our Christmas celebrations in the Whitsundays a bit earlier, we would have spent up to a week on Daydream Island. Daydream is a secluded Whitsunday island and they are said to create the most unforgettable Christmas experience. Can you believe that Santa trades in his sleigh for a jet ski and delivers gifts to the children on Mermaid Beach – how magical does that sound?
The island was totally fully booked, accommodation and restaurants; and to be honest, I am not surprised!
There is always next year!
After our beautiful lunch, we decided to take a detour on our way back from Coral Sea and took a drive up to the private estates…
The houses and the views are just indescribable.
Sadly, Christmas has come to an end again for another year! We didn’t drink too much Christmas Day which meant that we were feeling fresh as flowers on Boxing Day!
We woke up at around 8AM – had a beautiful breakfast in bed and then made our way to Hydeaway Bay Beach! Beach day – YAY!
There are 2 beautiful beach restaurants located along Hydeaway which we were recommended – the first is named Montes, but sadly due to Cyclone Debbie; Montes has closed for refurbishment until further notice. Boo!
The second restaurant is called ‘The Oar’ at the Cape Gloucester Resort – and what a perfect way to spend our Boxing Day!
Hydeaway is around a 45 minute drive from Airlie Beach. If like me, you enjoy seeking out hidden gems along the coast – gems that aren’t filled with tourists and that can offer peace & tranquility – then this should be on your to-do list whilst visiting the Whitsundays! We started off with lunch and a drink, of course – a full stomach makes a happy heart!
The Oar has a relatively small lunch menu; but the prices are very reasonable considering the huge portions!
This is our first Christmas abroad – and it truly has been so special!
Christmas 2017; memories that will last a lifetime.