SERIOUS preparations are underway throughout the Whitsundays as the clock ticks down to Christmas and locals and visitors decide where to celebrate this special time of year.
On the mainland, a variety of restaurants have been busy preparing mouth-watering menus for Christmas lunches and dinners.
At Peppers Airlie Beach, Tides Restaurant will be hosting Christmas Day packages for lunch or dinner including a three-hour deluxe beverage package and three-course choice menu with foods such as slow-cooked pork belly and Atlantic salmon to tantalise the tastebuds.
In the Abell Point Marina, Barcelona will cater for both traditional and Spanish tastes with a banquet buffet lunch and welcoming champagne.
At Port of Airlie’s Denman Cellars a five-course set menu function is on the cards, with each course to be beer, wine, or cider matched.
Airlie’s Colonial Palms Motor Inn will be catering to those looking for a carefree, lazy Christmas lunch by the pool, incorporating a complimentary champagne.
Club Croc Hotel, Airlie Beach, will no doubt be popular with families. The venue is hosting a Christmas lunch with sittings available from 11.30am.
All of the Airlie Beach Hotel’s venues will be open for dinner on Christmas day, with regular menus at Mangrove Jacks, Cactus Jacks and Capers with the latter also offering two and three-course specials. The Down Under Bar will also be serving Christmas roasts for the princely sum of just $15.
The Whitsunday islands will of course have their own special brand of Christmas cheer.
Santa will arrive at Daydream Island’s Mermaids Beach on a jetski on Christmas morning. The island’s restaurants will offer buffet and Christmas lunches and dinners and at the Fishbowl Tavern there will even be a movie under the stars.
Santa will make appearances at the Breakfree Long Island Resort and One&Only Hayman Island, where kids will be able to visit a Christmas wonderland.
Meanwhile on Hamilton Island this year’s Christmas activities will include outdoor and indoor movies, water walkers, coconut husking, palm weaving, roaming magicians, glow mini golf, sandcastle competitions and tropical trivia. The kids ‘fun zone’ will adopt different themes each day, from mini Olympics to pirates ahoy, from super heroes to nature’s wonderland and from masquerade to wet and wild. A nightly story time will be held, with a reminder to the little ones to keep their eyes out for Santa’s reindeer pulling his sleigh up around the Reef View Hotel.
All restaurants will be open on Christmas Day, with Santa scheduled to make a special appearance at each one. Carols by candlelight will be held at the Outrigger lawn on Christmas Eve.
ON THE MAINLAND
Peppers Airlie Beach
What: Christmas Day packages for lunch or dinner
Cost: $159 per adult
To book: 4962 5100 firstname.lastname@example.org
What: Banquet buffet
Cost: $95 adult, $25 child
To book: 4946 4277
Colonial Palms Motor Inn
What: Christmas dinner and complimentary champagne
To book: 4946 7166
What: Five-course set menu function
Cost: $120 adults, $30 kids (aged 12 or under)
To book: 4948 1333
Sorrento Restaurant and Bar
What: Degustation lunch and live music
Cost: $85 adults, $35 children under 12
To book: 4946 7454
What: Two and three course lunches and dinners
Times: 11.30am-2pm and 5.30-8.30pm
Cost: $35 two courses, $49 three courses
To book: 4964 1777
Club Croc Hotel, Airlie Beach
What: Christmas lunch
Cost: $69 adult, $29 child (aged 4-14)
To book: 4946 7155 ccabfom@ocean
Down Under Bar
What: Christmas lunch and dinner
To book a table: 4948 2000
What: Kids activities, Carols by Candlelight, Christmas meals
To book: http://www.hamiltonisland.com.au
Breakfree Long Island Resort
What: Visit from Santa, Christmas lunch for resort guests
To book: 1800 075 125
Daydream Island Resort and Spa
What: Santa’s arrival, Christmas meals
For more information: 4967 6023
One&Only Hayman Island
What: Visit from Santa, Christmas Wonderland
To book: reservations@oneandonly