Each afternoon Craig and I would go to the Shed Bar at Nomad’s Backpackers for happy hour between 4pm-5pm and the kids would have a play on the grass in front of the pool. Each afternoon the same barman was working, a backpacker from the UK. He asked what we had planned for our final day in Airlie Beach and at that stage we had nothing planned. He gave a great spot to visit to kill the day, lunch at Hydeaway Bay.
He suggested we head over to a quiet beach about 50mins drive from Airlie Beach, he said there was a nice restaurant to have lunch called Monte’s and a beautiful beach for the kids to have a play, sounded ideal. We’d had a full day the previous day on our day trip snorkelling with Ocean Rafting to Whitehaven Beach and I could really do with a relaxing day by a beautiful beach.
We had a hire car so it was easy enough for us to do the trip. We headed off about 12pm and arrived close to 1pm. Its an interesting drive as there’s nothing but cane fields for miles then a random residential area appears. You go through town and then you hit a dirt road. Monte’s Restaurant is about 5kms down this dirt road.
Monte’s Restaurant is located right on the beach. There was an available table on the deck looking straight on to the beach. We ordered some drinks and lunch, Craig had a seafood special, I had a Cajun chicken open sandwich and the kids had wedges with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce. My meal was amazing, Craig really enjoyed his too. The kids were busting to have a swim so after we finished our meals we headed onto the sand for a swim.
It was stinger season so we were advised that it was best for the kids to wear stinger suits but the restaurant was renting them for $10 each! Bit expensive really so we decided to have just have a paddle in the shallow water. There was a local couple that we met when the kids started playing with their dog so they joined us for a beer and then we started chatting. They said that seeing as the wind was south west this day and not a north wind that the kids would be fine swimming without the stinger suits. I had noticed that some people had their kids in them and some didn’t so we decided to let them swim without them. We didn’t have any issues thank god!
Monte’s was open all afternoon so we all had a swim then sat and had a chat and a couple of beers on the beach under a tree whilst the kids played in the sand. Our new friends said we were welcome back anytime to camp on their land close in Hydeaway Bay. They were great with the kids as they have 15 grandkids of their own. I love that about people when you are travelling, there are some amazing people in this world and I love meeting them, I think that’s the thing I love about travelling the most.
Monte’s also had accommodation attached to it and it looked lovely and very reasonably priced. A 2 bedroom apartment on the beach was $1290 for 7 nights in low season. It’s BYO hammock for the tree outside your apartment though! Craig and I both said that we would be happy to return there and spend a week. The kids would be happy as its right on the beach and the apartments have kitchens for preparing meals although I would be happy to eat at Monte’s each night!
Monte’s was a real gem and a highlight of the trip. It had a nice relaxed feel about it and the staff were really friendly, one of the waiters had his boat tied up outside the restaurant and he went home between lunch and dinner service. If we hadn’t chatted with the barman each night we would never have found this place. Again it comes down to the people you meet and the insider tips they give you!
Have you ever found a gem of a place by accident, tell me all about it in the comments below. I would love to hear about it. Whitehaven Beach is incredible, I can see why its the most famous beach in Australia, click the link for more photos.