Backpacker Heaven: Seen “The Beach”? Then You’ll Love This!

“The Beach” is perhaps the most iconic backpacker film in recent memory, that has inspired millions of vagabonds to pack up their stuff and just go!

Every single one of my travels has been inspired by “The Beach”, hence the name of this website (The Beach Film). What I’ve learned across different continents however, is that we are all searching for paradise. “The Beach” film made Thailand even more famous than what it was, and spurred countless nomads on a Southeast Asian adventure that has continuously boomed since its release.

But what happens when you’ve been to Thailand, you’ve followed Richard’s path, and you have experienced Maya Bay for yourself? What happens when the world’s backpacker mecca becomes overrun with travellers, to the point that you feel like solitude is not possible? I believe I have discovered a backpacker path that offers all the ideals and values represented, and yearned for, in “The Beach” film.

It’s far away. It’s tropical. It’s dangerous, at times, and above everything, it’s on the backpacker trail of Eastern Australia.

Airlie Beach.

Airlie Beach P1090011 P1090010

This place, to me, is a backpacker mecca of the world that isn’t nearly as publicised as other spots. It contains sharks, crocodiles, deadly spiders, venomous snakes, and dangerous waters, but it also contains an assortment of travellers from all over the world, from as far as Germany, Sweden, Canada, Holland, England, Israel, and Japan. I have travelled far and wide in search of paradise,  just as Richard did in “The Beach”,  just as many others have that I have come across. Airlie Beach often proves to be the highlight of their backpacking trip around Australia, and dare I say, it has a feel about it that Byron Bay has lost.

In Northern Queensland, you will find the fun-filled, backpacker town called Airlie Beach. Gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. A backpacker town that should be more popular than it is, but for reasons unknown, isn’t. In my humble opinion, this qualifies it as a hidden gem that promises to give you many memories, new friends, and experiences that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Want to skydive over the Great Barrier Reef? Want to cruise through crocodile infested waters? Dive with Great White Sharks? Party like there’s no tomorrow? Want to enter a hippy community that by day, is relaxed, chilled, and hot, and by night explodes with nightlife? Above it all, do you want to do this in a tropical abyss that is far away from home?

Airlie Beach streets P1090096 P1090090 P1090023

You can’t get further than Australia, and when you land in Queensland you should skip right past the Gold Coast and go up north. Nowhere else in the world have I seen such a camaraderie amongst backpackers, where strangers meet and become best friends, where experiences are lived and the opportunity to do crazy things is encouraged. Perhaps it’s part of the Aussie spirit:

Go for gold, no worries, just do it! 

I was in Airlie Beach only a few months ago, and before then, the start of 2006. It has retained its exact charm; it is no better or worse, it has simply remained true to what it is, and in the world of backpacking, that is an extremely rare quality to find.

As backpackers move around the gigantic continent of Australia, they arrive in Airlie Beach for a few key reasons. One of them is to experience the backpacker life; discovering tropical beaches, falling in love, and navigating one of the world’s harshest environments. Another key reason is to sail the Whitsunday Islands, where they make stops at Hook Island, Hamilton Island, Daydream Island, and of course, Whitsunday Island, home to Whitehaven beach (rated as one of the world’s best beaches).

Whitehaven Beach: The sand is 98% pure silica, meaning you can scrub your jewellery clean in it!
Whitehaven Beach: The sand is 98% pure silica, meaning you can scrub your jewellery clean in it!

Sharing News is Part of a Traveller’s Nature

Australia is at the top of many backpacker’s to-do lists, but due to its remote location and the expense of getting there, not many people get to do it. But you know what? In the words of Richard, “Trust me, it’s paradise.”

Airlie Beach should be at the very top of every traveller’s list who is heading Down Under. It contains a colourful, vibrant, fun-filled backpacker community that rivals the backpacker scene in Thailand, Bali, and Peru. Sure, Australia doesn’t contain the ancient, spiritual culture of the aforementioned countries, and in truth, it’s one of the best places in the world to live (so the cost of travelling there can be quite high). But what Australia lacks in ancient culture, it makes up for in Airlie Beach: A place too far for most people’s agendas, yet it is that exact inconvenience that makes it all the more special.

If you make the effort to take the spectacular journey, you will be rewarded immensely. I dare any backpacker out there who thinks Thailand is the epitome of backpacker-dom, to go out on a limb and experience what Thailand offered before it became overrun with tourists.

In search of paradise? Want to be inducted into backpacker heaven? Before it’s too late and the crowds overrun it, head to Airlie Beach, Australia. It’s impossible to be disappointed, and if you wish to throw yourself into legitimate backpacker culture, there aren’t too many places around the world that can offer what Airlie Beach does.

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