Kicking back at a luxurious resort usually comes with a hefty price tag but this resort makes a fancy experience more affordable.
Tucked away in North Queensland’s Airlie Beach is a luxurious little haven that’s full of unexpected surprises.
From the moment you roll up along the driveway to Freedom Shores – named after The Doors song Waiting for the Sun – you feel like you could be at any luxe tropical holiday destination, but without the hefty price tag.
For about $300 a night you can stay in your own little boat bungalow with a private deck overlooking the picturesque Airlie ocean.
The popular tourist town, which provides easy access to the Whitsundays Islands and the Great Barrier Reef, has certainly recovered from Cyclone Debbie which ravaged the region in 2017.
And it was her aftermath that inspired Freedom Shores itself.
Freedom Shores sits on the Whitsunday Coast, Queensland.Source:Supplied
Its boat cabins all have ocean views. The palm trees came from The Pirates of the Caribbean movie.Source:Supplied
The nautical focus for the resort originated when the business acquired the old Shute Harbour jetty poles.
The marine facility at Shute Harbour was damaged extensively during the cyclone but Freedom Shores believed the poles “had character and beauty worthy of being saved”.
The timber inspired an entire resort built around reclaimed boats to create a truly special place that now sees the poles make up the entry ways to the boat cabins.
And those aren’t the only unwanted items that have been salvaged and given a new life – some of the palm trees within the grounds came from the set of the The Pirates of the Caribbean.
The trees were used when the movie was shot in the Whitsundays, but Freedom Shores scooped them up and planted them within the “hidden valley”.
But the showpiece of the resort is the salvaged “Shangri-La” boat which has been given pride of place at its entrance.
Shangri-La being used as a tourist vessel in the 1960s.Source:Supplied
The boat at the resort today.Source:Supplied
The vessel was part of General MacArthur’s fleet during World War II.
It was part of a small fleet that helped land soldiers, ammunition and stores at Milne Bay, Port Moresby, where the allied forces defeated a Japanese invasion of about 2400 soldiers.
It was the first defeat on land for the Japanese during the war, however they continued to bomb Port Moresby.
The boat was later used as a tourist vessel across the reef in the 1960s and now works as a deck and a place to relax with a drink alongside the resort’s pool.
While the resort is a bit out of town, its Northerlies Beach Bar and Grill provides a shuttle service making it easy to get about.
From town you can get out to the islands and the reef. We were lucky enough to head out for Cruise Whitsundays’ amazing Reef Sleep experience where you sleep in a swag under the stars on board their Heart Pontoon.
Back from the reef, Freedom Shores provides the perfect place to unwind with a cocktail kicking back at Northerlies.
And the best part is, you’d never tell from your insta-worthy pics that you didn’t fork out a fortune to take advantage of one of the world’s greatest wonders.
The writer was a guest of Freedom Shores.