There are many reasons to visit Airlie Beach but amongst the most important are that it’s the transport hub for visiting the stunning Whitsunday Islands as well as being a beach party paradise. The town with its big lagoon and fun atmosphere is a firm favourite on the traveller's route. But a more upmarket side has also emerged that has broadened its appeal for all kinds of visitors. Hop on a boat trip at one of the two large commercial marinas head out to explore the islands or the Great Barrier Reef or simply lounge by the lagoon and recover from the previous night’s party.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in Airlie Beach
Whitsunday Islands - Catch a ferry from one of Airlie Beach marinas out to these beautiful islands. There are 74 in totalmostly designated national parks perfect for snorkelling and diving.
Hamilton Island - Forming part of the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef this is the most popular island in the chain and an hour from Airlie Beach by ferry.
Shute Harbour - A sheltered port just a few miles from Airlie Beach. The fishing jetty is a great spot to dangle a line and try and catch your supper.
Port of Airlie - Just along the coast from the main town this is the ferry hub for the islands as well as the place to find high end dining options.
Things to See in Airlie Beach
Walk along Shute Harbour road from the town centre to enjoy the best views. Shute Harbour itself is about six miles way but from here you can catch the ferry out to the Whitsundays and Hamilton Island. These islands form a part of the Great Barrier Reef one of the most iconic and spectacular tourist destinations in the world. Hang out by the side of the Airlie Beach Lagoon a popular and safe swimming spot in the town. There are even real sand beaches and swimming lanes if you’re in the mood for exercise. A few minutes drive from Airlie the Conway National Park is a vast area of mangroves cliffs and woodlands with plenty of tropical wildlife to spot.
Things to Do in Airlie Beach
Despite the name the beach at Airlie is not the main attraction. The presence of jellyfish makes swimming in the actual ocean a little risky. But the lagoon more than makes up for this. It’s about 200 metres long and 50 wide so there’s plenty of space for everyone. Top up your tan during the day and at night head into the centre of town to experience Airlie Beach’s lively nightlife. On Saturdays head to the beachfront market where you can peruse local arts and crafts as well as fresh produce. Catch a boat to the islands to explore paradise itself or go diving or snorkelling in the pristine waters.