Airlie Beach: The Vibrant Heart of the Whitsundays

Airlie Beach: The Vibrant Heart of the Whitsundays


Palm Trees at Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays region of Queensland.


Nestled in the heart of the Whitsundays region, the vibrant coastal town of Airlie Beach has long been a popular beach holiday destination in Queensland.

The gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef, Airlie Beach is a fabulous base from which to explore these awesome places.

Backed by the rainforest-clad hills of the Conway National Park, Airlie Beach boasts a stunning palm-fringed beach, great vibe and wonderful views of the Coral Sea that will consume you all day.

Throw in some fabulous year-round tropical weather, plenty of family-friendly activities and some great places to eat and you have all the ingredients for a wonderful holiday.


About Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach is a perfect spot for tourists to visit in Queensland.

Believed to have been named after the parish of Airlie, in Scotland, Airlie Beach is a gorgeous beach town, on the coast of the Whitsunday region in Queensland.

It lies 1112 km north of Brisbane, and 618km south of Cairns.

Known as ‘The Heart of the Reef’, Airlie is nestled between Mackay to the north and Bowen in the south. It has a permanent population of just over 1,000 people.

As well as being a tourist destination in its own right, Airlie Beach is a popular overnight stop for people heading to and from Brisbane and Tropical North Queensland.



One of Airlie’s main drawcards is its magnificent lagoon.

Situated right in the centre of Airlie Beach it has become the major focal point for the area.

Officially opened by the Premier of Queensland on 8 January 2001, the lagoon is surrounded by grassy knolls. Which makes it perfect for a spot of sunbathing and many other beach activities. Or just to find a quiet spot in the shade to read a book.

A very family-friendly area, the sandy beach situated at one end of the lagoon provides a safe stinger free environment for people to splash about in.

Surrounded by landscaped gardens for added visual beauty, there is also a children’s pool for the kids to enjoy too.


Things To Do

As well as the lagoon, Airlie Beach has a wonderful boardwalk to stroll upon as well as a selection of cool shops and boutiques.

If you fancy a hike or mountain bike the lush rainforests of nearby Conway National Park is not too far away.

Alternatively, you can experience Australia’s most beautiful drop zone with Skydive Airlie Beach.

A short drive away is Shute Harbour, a great place to visit for spectacular views and kayaking. While the Honeyeater Lookout offers the most amazing view of Airlie Beach and the surrounding azure waters.

If you are in Airlie Beach on a Saturday, why not check out the Whitsunday Markets too? You will find locally made crafts and jewellery made onsite.

Golf lovers may also want to head over to The Whitsundays Country Golf Club, a championship, 18 hole course showcasing one of the best views in the state.


Whitsundays & Great Barrier Reef Tours

Many people visit Airlie Beach as it provides convenient accessibilty to the Great Barrier Reef.

Overall there are 74 Whitsunday Islands that can be explored either by day trip, overnight cruise or private charter. (Only 7 of these are developed).

Several tour companies in and around Airlie Beach offer a range of Great Barrier Reef experiences.

These include, amongst other things, staying overnight on a boat, doing a certified dive, or snorkeling in several different locations in the Outer Great Barrier Reef.

If you have some spare time, take the opportunity to see some beautiful marine creatures in their natural Great Barrier Reef home.

Alternatively, why not visit Whitehaven Beach which was recently voted the number 1 beach in the world by TripAdvisor.

For something a bit more high adrenaline why not go on a helicopter ride?


Best time to visit

Airlie Beach is blessed with a subtropical climate. Which means it enjoys fine weather all year-round.

During the Summer (between December and February) it is both the wet season and the jellyfish season, so bear that in mind if you are looking for a swim.

The summer temperatures can reach up to 32°C with a high humidity. So it can be very hot then. In winter, the average daily temperature is around 23°C.

So it might be an idea to plan your visit to Airlie Beach between June and October.


How to get there

Airlie is an easy destination to get to and can be reached in many, different ways.


By Air

Both Virgin Australia and Jetstar operate flights in and out of nearby Proserpine Airport.

These include daily direct flights from Brisbane, as well as connecting flights from many other destinations. Tiger Air also offers direct flights from Sydney.

The Proserpine Airport is located about a 25-minute drive from Airlie Beach. Once you land, there are plenty of options for hiring a car. You can also take the Whitsunday Transit bus or catch a taxi.


By Road

Airlie can be reached via the Bruce Highway (Highway 1) which runs up from Brisbane or down from Mackay.

The turn off is on the northern outskirts of Proserpine and is about a 30-minute drive to esplanade at Airlie Beach.


By Coach

Airlie Beach is a popular stop off point for most of the leading interstate coach companies.

Greyhound Australia and Whitsunday Transit are two such companies that regularly operates bus services to and from here.


By Boat

Ferries to the nearby Whitsunday Islands operate several times a day from Port of Airlie.


By Train

Queensland Rail operates a regular passenger service (Sunlander), between Brisbane and Cairns, that stops off in Proserpine which is about 26km from Airlie Beach.



When it comes to accommodation Airlie Beach has it all.

From hotels, motels and resorts to pretty much every kind of camping, caravanning, backpacking or holiday park style accommodation there is an option in Airlie Beach for any need the overnight visitor might have.

If you are planning a visit to Airlie Beach, you can use the search box below to find the best hotel and holiday accommodation deals currently on offer.

Some notable options to look out for are the Airlie Beach Hotel, the Coral Sea Resort, the Colonial Palms Motor Inn, Magnum’s Airlie Beach, Mirage Whitsundays and the Mantra Club Croc Airlie Beach.

All of which have received a huge number of favourable reviews across most hotel booking sites.



Airlie has a wide range of dining options to suit all budgets and tastes.

One of the most popular feeds can be had at ‘The Pub’ in the Airlie Beach hotel. Located on the Esplanade, overlooking the newly landscaped parklands and beach, this establishment features a bar and bistro with alfresco dining and live entertainment.

An alternate option is the award-winning Fish D’Vine & the Rum Bar. Not only do they serve the area’s freshest seafood produce, they also stock over 500 rums, sourced from around the world.

Another great seafood meal can be had at the Seafood Indulgence, which offers signature feasts for two or more people.

For something a little more highbrow try The Clipper Restaurant and Bar at Coral Sea Resort. Set against the backdrop of a marvellous ocean view they offer a delicious five-course tasting menu at dinner.

The Ultimate list of 36 Awesome Sunshine Coast Beaches!
18 Essentials to take with you for the perfect beach day out!


Welcome to Beach Scenes

Hi! My name is Spencer and I have created Beach Scenes to help you find the perfect travel destination for your beach holiday in Queensland.

I hope the reviews and recommendations on my site inspire you to book an Australia Queensland vacation!

Follow Beach Scenes

Join our VIP Beach Club
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content from Beach Scenes!
Stay Updated
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.