Holidays are thirty work, we know! Especially when they come with lashings of saltwater and sunshine. Come sunset you'll probably be looking for something to celebrate the end of an invigorating day or as an appetiser for a delicious dinner. There are two places you absolutely shouldn't miss: One Tree Hill on Hamilton Island for sunset drinks and Fish D'Vine's Rum Bar.
Fish D'Vine & Rum Bar
450 rums. If that doesn't spin your wheels you're probably not taking the syrup seriously. Unlike self-confessed rum nerd owner Kev Collins. Opening a rum bar was a wise career choice. Even if you 'don't like rum' after questionable youthful experiments tainted by Bundaberg, give it a go. We're pretty sure you'll walk away a convert. At worst, you'll enjoy a mojito that rates as world class.
One Tree Hill, Hamilton Island
On top of the hill looking north and west over ocean and islands, One Tree Hill has always been popular for impromptu sunset drinks. Now there is a casual bar doing a roaring trade with a $10 daily cocktail special. Share plates of antipasto, cheese or seafood make One Tree Hill an alluring pre-dinner appetiser.
A bar come restaurant on Airlie's waterfront strip, Breeze Bar does many things right. Like a wide variety of cocktail selections and creative food done well. Wine drinkers might be best to go elsewhere (see Denman's below). But if you're looking for a drink accompanied by a decent meal in a great spot for people watching Breeze won't disappoint.
Denman Cellars Beer Cafe
Dockside at Port of Airlie Marina, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe is the sort of place you call into for a late afternoon beer and end up staying all night. Beer, wine and cider from across the globe will quench parched throats after a day on the water but the food menu is what will likely entice you to settle in for the evening. Made for sharing kangaroo kebabs, duck pancakes and chilli salt calamari should keep hunger pangs at bay.
Whitsundays Sailing Club
Not just for salt-caked, wind-blown yachties, Whitusnday Sailing Club is one of the best spots in Airlie to quench your thirst. For starters, they've got a prime waterfront position. WSC is a local's hangout but is equally welcoming to visitors. It's just the sort of place where it's natural to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Drop in during Race Week (August) when things get very lively!
Dockside at Port of Airlie Marina, convivial Walters Lounge is an intimate atmospheric bar with a focus on inventive cocktails and boutique wines with heavy Italian and French influences. Expect a liberal dash of quirkiness with spirits that get your tastebuds dancing and cocktails to make your heart sing.
Whitsundays Gold Coffee Shop
Having had your fill of singing syrup perhaps a caffeine hit is in order. You're in luck. Whitsunday Gold Coffee is one of Australia's largest coffee plantations. Sure, it's a ways out of town but the Great Barrier Bean produces a rich aromatic coffee. You'll probably learn a thing or two in the Coffee shop and Roastery while waiting for your caffeine fix.
Bommie Deck at Hamilton Island Yacht Club
A tad more sophisticated than Airlie's yacht club offering, Bommie Deck at Hamilton Island Yacht Club makes the list on location alone. Styled along classic yacht lines, the deck cantilevers over Dent Passage. It's probably the only outdoor bar in Australia that comes with a fairly high chance of spotting a turtle (or humpback whale during migration season).
Sunset drinks on the deck of a yacht
There are few more rewarding places to savour a gin and tonic, a glass of bubbles or an ice cold beer than from the deck of a yacht gently bobbing on her anchor. The breeze dies down turning the sea into a glassy slick that reflects a scarlet sky. Mountainous islands meld into dark shadows broken by the occasional light. The first stars appear, twinkling overhead and on the water. Dusk on a yacht creates magical moments that will linger with you long after the holiday tan has faded.
Sunset drinks on a beach
If you can't get yourself on a yacht for sunset drinks, pack a picnic with wine, cheese and oversized beach towels and head down to your nearest beach. So long as the south east trades predictably cease at dusk, sunset drinks on a tropical beach are equally as magical as the yacht kind.