Tourism Whitsundays, Queensland Australia, Whitsundays Holidays - Tourism Whitsundays QLD - Airlie Beach
The Whitsundays, Queensland.
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Airlie Beach

With its gorgeous outlook over the bays and islands, and the tropical feel of an island resort, Airlie Beach is the perfect base for your next holiday to the Whitsundays. The largest town on the Whitsunday Coast and the main point of access to the islands and the Great Barrier Reef by day, Airlie Beach is a thriving hub which offers a vibrant array of dining and nightlife, shopping and relaxation. How you choose to spend your day, exploring the Whitsundays, relaxing by the lagoon or at the beach and tantalising your tastebuds by night, you are guaranteed a good time.

How to Get Here

Get from anywhere to Airlie Beach with ease. You can fly, drive, take the bus or the train or even your boat!

  • Fly to Whitsunday Coast Airport (Proserpine)

The closest airport is in Proserpine located 30 minutes from Airlie Beach by car. Fly directly from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane with Jetstar, Tiger Air or Virgin Australia. Shuttle buses meet all flights.

  • Fly to Great Barrier Reef Airport (Hamilton Island)

You can also fly to Hamilton Island Airport from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns with Jetstar, Qantas or Virgin Australia and take a ferry with Cruise Whitsundays to Airlie Beach.

  • Drive from Cairns to Airlie Beach

Driving down south of Cairns to Airlie Beach via Townsville is an experience you will never forget. Journey past verdant fields and scenic towns stopping for a break at the enchanting coastal city, Townsville. Cairns to Airlie Beach takes 8 hours by car.

  • Drive from Sunshine Coast to Airlie Beach

Driving down to Airlie from the Sunshine Coast takes approximately 11 to 12 hours. We suggest making a stop at Yeppoon and visiting Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary. You could also stay here for the night. The next day you could drive to Airlie Beach directly (which is approximately 6 hours away) or make a stop at beautiful Mackay. The journey from Mackay to Airlie Beach will take approximately 2 hours.

  • Train Journey

The train journey from Cairns to Airlie takes around 11 hours while Sunshine Coast to Airlie takes 14.5 hours but you are promised beautiful views of the surroundings. Queensland Rail services link Proserpine to all major destinations from Cairns to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and beyond. Shuttle buses meet all trains.

  • By Bus

The cheapest travel option from Cairns to Airlie Beach is taking the bus. Travelling through the scenic region, enjoy the view without the stress of driving yourself. The bus journey from the Sunshine Coast to Airlie Beach takes 19-20 hours.

Why Airlie Beach

Situated on the coast with the stunning mountainous backdrop of Conway National Park, Airlie Beach is a cosmopolitan town with a variety of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.
You can chill out at the renowned Airlie Lagoon during the day and enjoy the famed nightlife when the sun goes down.
A choice of four beaches means there’s always somewhere to ‘get lost’ and you can enjoy a gentle stroll along the Bicentennial Boardwalk. Make sure you also sample the excellent dining options available.

What to Do Here

Airlie Beach offers freedom of choice and flexibility with the majority of tours and activities based out of Port of Airlie to the south and Abell Point Marina to the north both of which are a short stroll from the main street.

1. Adventure in and around Airlie

You can choose between activities as diverse as sailing, bareboating, kayaking, jet skiing, scenic flights, snorkelling, scuba diving, crocodile spotting, mountain biking, bushwalking, Segway tours, camping, hiking, golf, shopping, relaxation and much more! You can also join a tour heading to Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet or the Great Barrier Reef. You can also join a Whitehaven Beach tour from Airlie Beach with most tours also taking you on a journey amongst the amazing Whitsunday Islands for a spot of snorkelling & exploration

2. Airlie Beach Markets

Every Saturday morning, the foreshore of Airlie Beach is lined by temporary tented shops selling local produce and souvenirs. This lively place is a must-visit and a great way to meet the friendly locals. Buy coffee, art and crafts, or sample some delicious fresh produce. Stroll on the waterfront and unwind in the beauty of this diverse resort town.

3. Explore the Landscape

Explore the waterfront by foot or Segway. Just minutes from Airlie Beach, discover quiet coves, beaches and rainforest, and a diversity of green landscapes which contrast perfectly with the myriad blues of the ocean. Conway National Park is one of the best-kept secrets of the Whitsunday Coast and Hinterland, with numerous walking trails and scenic lookouts, which wind through the rainforest, Australian bushland and seasonal waterfalls such as the stunning Cedar Creek Falls.

4. Explore the Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsundays Islands are easily accessible from Airlie Beach - Visit Daydream Island, Hamilton Island, Hayman Island, Long Island and the Whitsunday islands for an epic unforgettable time on pristine beaches surrounded by turquoise waters.

Please note: Daydream and Hayman Island are currently undergoing refurbishment, and are due to open in 2019.

5. Explore The Great Barrier Reef

If exploring the reef is on your bucket list, do it when you are staying on Airlie Beach. Hop on a boat and within no time you’ll be jumping into the azure water exploring the coral gardens and following pretty coloured fish flitting about their day. If you’re lucky, you might spot a turtle. When visiting during whale season, you could even be lucky enough to see the magnificent humpback whales in their natural habitat. You can either choose to go on a day trip or for an extraordinary adventure, choose an overnight tour. There’s nothing quite like setting up camp on a pontoon permanently moored on the Great Barrier Reef. You can also enjoy your own private sunset and sunrise from your own boat.

Where to Stay in Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach boasts a broad array of accommodation from stylish 5-star resort hotels on the water's edge and apartments on the hillside overlooking the panorama of beach, bay and islands, to bed and breakfast options, motels, camping and caravan parks as well as backpacker accommodation. The town easily achieves the perfect balance between all of these styles, with all accommodation houses taking maximum advantage of the stunning views, and the village atmosphere unifying travellers of all budgets together in the same relaxed, holiday feel. 

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Airlie Beach

Road Trips from Airlie Beach

1. Airlie Beach to Bowen

Time Taken: 60 minutes
The spectacular beaches of Bowen are famous the world over. From pristine turquoise waters to fringing reefs that can be explored right from the shore, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better collection of beaches in one place. Don’t leave this coastal town without slurping on some fresh mango sorbet or taking an Instagram-worthy image in front of the 10-metre high Big Mango.

2. Airlie Beach to Cedar Creek Falls

Time Taken: 30 minutes
A favourite with locals and frequent visitors, Cedar Creek Falls with its spectacular waterfall and natural rock wall amphitheatre has carved a place in everyone’s hearts. Grab your bathing suit and drive through lush green fields to get to the spectacular falls.

3. Airlie Beach to Proserpine

Time Taken: 30 minutes
Surrounded by sugar cane plantations offering scenic views, visit this peaceful town to slow down and relax. Grab your fishing rod and go fishing for barramundi on Lake Proserpine, also known as Peter Faust Dam. For those seeking adventure, this lake is also the perfect destination for Water Sports and Freshwater fishing. Head to Proserpine River to spot mighty crocs.

4. Airlie Beach to Cape Gloucester

Time Taken: 60 minutes
This is the place to visit for beachcombing, swimming, epic views all day and long lazy lunches. Choose from several pristine beaches and secluded coves to spend your day lounging under palm trees. With Coral Sea as the stunning backdrop, it is also a fantastic place to tie the knot.

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