Schoolies celebrations are in full flight this week at Airlie Beach.
Schoolies celebrations are in full flight this week at Airlie Beach. Contributed

Schoolies incoming: Hundreds expected to flock to Airlie

HUNDREDS of school leavers are expected to arrive in Airlie Beach this Saturday for the annual Schoolies celebration.

The week-long party is a tradition for those leaving school each year and Airlie Beach is a Schoolies hotspot, drawing youngsters from all over Australia.

Whitsunday Regional Council's events officer Liz Youd said preparations were well under way for this year's seven-day Safety Program, in Fairy Tree Park, on the Airlie foreshore.

"On behalf of the Schoolies Advisory Committee, we are looking forward to welcoming Year 12 school leavers to celebrate their high school years in a safe environment,” she said.

"We are looking forward to hosting them, and we hope they enjoy Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays.”

This year, there is plenty on offer for Schoolies with free sausage sizzles, Mexican and tropical theme nights, yoga, pilates, the Whitsunday Rocks Scavenger Hunt and DJ dance parties with special headline DJs throughout the week.

There is also a free bus service, tour operator discounts and a Blow Zero competition each night.

Ms Youd said Schoolies were encouraged to speak to the SES, the Queensland Police or the volunteers, if they needed assistance, and the Red Frog volunteers would also be out and about, acting as a safety network for the school leavers.

The Red Frogs are a positive role-model, lending a sympathetic ear, dishing out water, walking people back to their accommodation and even making pancakes for everyone.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler believes Schoolies is a great opportunity to showcase the fun and adventurous experiences on offer in the Whitsundays.

"The Schoolies initiative, run by Whitsunday Regional Council, has traditionally seen a great spike in visitation for the region,” she said.

"Council works hard to provide exciting events in a safe environment for the young school leavers. The Whitsundays is the Heart of Fun and we hope all Schoolies visiting the area enjoy their time here, make the most of what the beautiful Whitsundays have to offer, and return to visit the region for years to come.”

Whitsunday Police Sergeant Barry Haran said preparations for Schoolies were under way "the same as any other year” with extra police from Mackay set to lend a hand.

"There will be a full police presence and we will be doing extra patrols in the Airlie Beach Safe Night Precinct. There will also be a permanent police presence in Fairy Tree Park just to make sure everyone is OK.”

Schoolies are encouraged to register online to avoid having to queue to collect their wristbands and are reminded to bring photo ID.

Registration is $110 plus booking fee and can be made at www.localtickets.com.au.

Schoolies can also visit www.whitsundayschoolies.qld.gov.au to stay up to date.


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