Airlie Beach is home to two beaches.
Airlie Beach itself is located in the centre of town along The Esplanade and overlooks Pioneer Bay to Hayman Island. The palm tree lined beach is the perfect spot to sunbake by day, enjoy the sunset and then devour fish and chips on the sand by night.
Boathaven Beach is a brand new beach opened in 2011, and is located at the Port of Airlie development at the Eastern end of town. Boathaven Beach has been engineered to be all tidal, so it remains sandy in all tides. It has a stinger net for swimming in the high risk stinger season (click here for more details on stinger season) and is open to the public every day.
The Whitsundays has a broad range of boutique and souvenir shopping. Airlie Beach’s main street is home to a range of retail stores, as well as all the conveniences you could need while on holidays. In Airlie Beach you can buy anything from swimwear and casual beachwear to party frocks and Whitsundays branded souvenirs. Every Saturday morning the foreshore plays host to the local markets where you can sample local produce and purchase local arts, crafts and fashions. A little further out of town, there are fashion and homewares boutiques, two major shopping centres and several pubs and restaurants in suburban Cannonvale.
The Whitsundays has all the conveniences you might need while on holidays. If you need to stock up on supplies for a boat trip, or self catering apartment, there are Coles and Woolworths Supermarkets, as well as several independent supermarkets conveniently located close to accommodation where you can buy everything you’ll need for your trip. If someone in your travelling group happens to get sick, there are several major pharmacies in the major townships (and hospitals in Proserpine and Bowen), and these pharmacies also offer a wide range of sunscreens, hats, sunglasses, and other items you may need while on holidays. You may have forgotten to pack swimwear (oops!), or can’t resist a beautiful new beach wrap, and there are plenty of boutiques to cater to every fashion need, or you might need to buy beach essentials – a lilo, flippers, snorkels – which can all be purchased locally.
Dining and nightlife
Indulging in delectable food and wine in gorgeous surrounds is a big part of the Whitsundays experience. Local seafood and fresh regional produce feature on menus and as you’d expect in the tropics, the accent is on delicate flavours, simply prepared. On the Whitsunday Coast there’s a vast array of cuisines from five star restaurants to fish and chips on the beach. Sunday afternoon entertainment on Airlie’s eat street, the Esplanade, has become particularly popular. There is no shortage of choice of restaurants in Airlie Beach, many of which also feature wine bars and beer cafes, live music and entertainment to keep you partying all night.
If you’re not too full after all that eating, the nightlife of the Whitsundays is as varied as the cuisines on offer for dinner. Airlie Beach is renowned and can be enjoyed on any night of the week. Start at a restaurant’s wine (or rum) bar, and move onto a backpackers bar, Irish pub or dance the night away in the late night clubs. Live bands and local talent are a regular feature, as well as trivia nights and other fun competitions.
Things to do
You don’t need to step off dry land to indulge in the beauty of the Whitsundays region.
The diverse beauty of the Whitsunday Coast is fun to explore and a good break from water based activities if needed. Even in wet weather (tropical green season is February/March) there are plenty of ways to keep amused on land if the ocean is too rough and wet.
Experience the natural beauty of the islands and coast on foot through National Park tracks winding their way down to protected coastlines and deserted beaches and up to spectacular lookouts. For a wild adventure head up the Proserpine River on a crocodile safari to encounter some of the 200 estuarine crocodiles, and a land tour taking in a variety of wildlife including the migratory birds of the Goorganga wetlands and waterways. Go exploring by taking a scenic drive to picturesque hinterland, secluded beaches and beautiful waterfalls (see Drive Trail Map).
Take time to unwind, refresh and rejuvenate at one of the Whitsundays many award winning health spas, with several located in Airlie Beach and at least one on each of the major islands, some of which can be visited on a day trip.
Tee off on a range of courses at Proserpine or Bowen on the Whitsunday Coast, or on Hamilton Island for the day.
Simply relax in the Airlie Beach Lagoon parklands overlooking the Coral Sea and Whitsunday islands. The Airlie Beach Lagoon offers stinger free, supervised swimming year round, set amongst lush, landscaped gardens. You can also enjoy the free BBQ’s for a relaxed lunch or dinner, whilst soaking up those beautiful views.