Further inland, the Whitsunday Region is home to picturesque country towns and farms that produce sugar cane, fruit and veg, and cattle.
Bowen in the north of the Whitsundays, just a 45min drive from Airlie Beach, grows most of the country’s winter tomato supply, as well as capsicum, beans, corn, pumpkin, melons and mangoes.
Be sure to stop at The Big Mango on the Bruce Highway as you enter Bowen and enjoy a frozen mango sorbet as you plan your trip. Bowen is also known for its great snorkelling right off the beach — Horseshoe Bay is a favourite spot.
About one-and-a-half hours’ drive inland from Bowen is Collinsville, a small country town known for its historic mining attractions and traditional Queensland hospitality.
One of the main highlights is a visit to the Coalface Experience Museum, which celebrates the lives of the mining families who have lived and worked in Collinsville. There’s also a small air strip for recreational planes, a large dam for fishing and excellent outback four-wheel driving.
Proserpine, meanwhile, was established in the 1870s on the back of a thriving sugarcane industry, which is still very much a part of everyday life for most people in Proserpine, with the mill working around the clock in the crushing season to process the cane.
The town lies along the banks of the Proserpine River, affording fantastic fishing, and there is also Lake Proserpine about a 20min drive out of town, where you can throw in a line and catch the iconic Barramundi.