Holiday Guide To Airlie Beach, Queensland Australia

© Official Local Whitsundays Website

Topic – Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia 4802
Author – Nath J (Whitsundays Local For 22 years)
Quick IntroductionHi all, welcome to this article on everything you gotta know when coming to Airlie Beach for a holiday.  If you’re in a hurry or just interested in certain info, you can skip to any topic on this page by using the links below. Enjoy!

Did you know that Airlie Beach in Queensland, Australia, has been one of the top holiday destinations in the country in 2022 and 2023?

With its stunning natural beauty and endless activities, it’s no wonder why so many people flock here each year.

This complete holiday guide takes you through what Airlie Beach offers. There’s something for everyone, from the breathtaking Whitehaven Beach to the vibrant nightlife scene.

Whether you’re into hiking through lush rainforests, snorkelling in crystal clear waters, or simply relaxing by the beach lagoon, this seaside town has it all.

Airlie Beach QLD Australia

Holiday Accommodation

If you’re looking to escape and explore the Airlie Beach village feel, I have the perfect list of Airlie Beach accommodation for you. From luxury resorts to budget-friendly stays, there’s something for everyone here. To save you time searching online, I’ve already written a guide on the best places to stay in Airlie Beach – be sure to check it out!

Below I will cover four different categories of holiday accommodation here in Airlie Beach with what I consider the best in each catorgory.

Holiday Apartments

Airlie Beach has a massive range of Holiday apartments, and while you have a lot to choose from, Whitsunday Reflections stands out above the rest. Here is why.

Whitsunday Reflections: this is by far the best holiday apartment in Airlie Beach. Situated high on the hill above town, these 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments are self-contained and have beautiful views of the islands, coral sea and beachside town of Airlie.

Each apartment has a large balcony, freestanding bath, king-size bed and luxury fittings.
for more information on Whitsundays Reflections, see the details below

Address – 25 Horizons Way, Airlie Beach QLD 4802
Phone – 0416 048 131
Website –
Reviews on 

Caravan Parks

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort: When it comes to a caravan park BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is not only the best in the Whitsundays but is the best in Australia after being awarded GOLD in the Australian Tourism Industry Council awards for Caravan and Holiday Parks in 2022.

This place is on another level, and the waterpark and pool is huge! Think of this as a destination rather than somewhere to stay. Check out the photos, website and review score to see what I mean!

Address – 25/29 Shute Harbour Rd, Airlie Beach QLD 4802
Phone – 0749485400
Website –
Reviews on 

If you are travelling in a caravan with pets, check out this comprehensive guide to pet-friendly caravan parks in Airlie Beach for a stress-free holiday with your furry friend.

Holiday Homes

Holiday in the Whitsundays: This business has over 40-holiday homes around the Whitsundays and is a locally run family business. You can be assured the people that operate these holiday homes live here and will be here for any help you need.

From budget-friendly stays to luxury homes with views to die for, you will find a massive range of holiday homes to suit your needs.

I can personally vouch for the team at Holiday in the Whitsundays, as last year, I was invited to meet the team and visit their holiday homes. I was very impressed with their service and the amazing views.

Phone – 0448253469
Website –

Backpacker Hostels

If you’re planning a budget-friendly trip to Airlie Beach, you’ll be pleased to know that backpacker dorms are available (however, the options have declined in the last few years). These dorms provide a fun and lively atmosphere to meet fellow travellers worldwide.

The dorm rooms are typically spacious and comfortable, equipped with bunk beds and lockers for your belongings. Most backpacker dorms also offer communal kitchens where you can prepare meals, saving even more money on dining out.

YHA Airlie Beach is the best option and is located on the main road in town (at the quiet end, away from noisy bars and clubs). I have visited this property many times over the years and its always clean and well looked after. And yes they have a pool!

Address – 394 Shute Harbour Rd, Airlie Beach QLD 4802
Phone – 0749466312
Website –
Reviews on 

Here are my favourite 12 things to do in Airlie Beach

If you’re looking for an adventure in Airlie Beach, there are a few key activities you should consider.

Below are my top 12 things to do in the local region. These are my favourite activities after living in the region for 22 years.

1. Whitehaven Beach Tour

ZigZag Whitsundays Whitehaven Beach Tour

Explore the stunning Whitehaven Beach on tour from Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island, where you can stroll along the silky soft sands and take in breathtaking views from the Hill Inlet lookout and South Whitehaven Lookout. As you step onto this slice of paradise, prepare to be mesmerized by the 98% silica sand.

Here are some tips for picking your tour

  • Whitehaven Beach has two different places tours go to, tongue bay to access the Hill Inlet Lookout, and South Whitehaven Beach and South Lookout.
    If you want to set foot on the 7km stretch of beach, the South End is for you. If you want to see the swirling sands of Hil Inlet, then the North end is for you.
  • Do you want to snorkel as well? Some tours have snorkelling, and some do not.
  • Do you want a full-day tour or a half-day tour?
  • Once you know the answers to the above, head to our Whitehaven Beach Tours page to find the right trip.

Whitehaven Beach is truly a gem of the Whitsunday Islands with its powdery white sands and turquoise waters. It’s so worth checking out this iconic beach!

2. Whitsundays Scenic Flight

Whitsundays Scenic Flight With Fly Australia Charters

Soar through the skies and experience the breathtaking beauty of the Whitsundays, Great Barrier Reef and Heart Reef on a scenic flight that offers unparalleled views of the iconic Reef and Islands.

From high above, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of crystal clear waters, pristine white beaches, and coral reefs stretching as far as the eye can see. This Whitsundays scenic flight is not just a journey; it’s an opportunity to see nature at its best and fly over one of the seven wonders of the natural world.

Fly Australia Charters have 70 Minute Scenic Flights that cover all the above and depart just 5 minutes from Airlie Beach at Whitsunday Airport. They guarantee you a window seat on the plane to take those magical pictures.

Whether you embark on this adventure solo or with friends and family, this scenic flight promises an experience that will leave you speechless and craving more.

3. Jetski Tour

Jetski in front of a Cruise Ship outside Airlie Beach

Whitsunday Jetski Tours offers various options that depart from Coral Sea Marina Resort multiple times daily.

Hop on a jet ski made for 2 people and feel the adrenaline rush as you zip through the breathtaking Whitsunday Island Marine Park.

Glide across crystal-clear waters, surrounded by lush green islands and vibrant coral reefs. Depending on which tour you book, you will get awe-inspiring views of Airlie Beach, Port of Airlie, Daydream Island, South Nolle Islands and more as you navigate this aquatic paradise.

To see their full range of Jetski Tours, with live availability and bookings, click here.

4. Airlie Beach Lookout

View from the Airlie Beach Lookout

One of the secrets of this town is there is an official lookout!

Located at the roundabout of Waterson Way and Airlie Main Street, it’s a great spot to take in all that Airlie has to offer. Situated on a ring road and a path that wraps around in a semi-circle for you to appreciate the view of the Coral Sea and Whitsunday Islands!

The Airlie Beach Lookout is modern and well-maintained; you can enjoy panoramic views right from the centre of town – plus those mountains and turquoise waters will take your breath away. As it’s located at the end of the main street it is easily accessible by walking or by car via Airlie Crescent

5. Airlie Beach Lagoon

Airlie Beach Lagoon From Above

Immerse yourself in the refreshing oasis of Airlie Beach Lagoon. Crystal-clear waters beckon you to unwind and escape the tropical heat. This stunning 4300 sqm outdoor pool is a true gem in the beautiful Whitsundays region of Queensland, Australia. With 4.5 million litres of fresh self-chlorinated water, it’s the perfect place to cool off and relax on those warm and humid North Queensland days.

Not only does the Lagoon provide a swimming experience for all ages, including a children’s pool, but it also offers convenient free amenities for your comfort in the way of free BBQs, changing rooms and bathrooms.

The lagoon has plenty of shade and sunbathing areas located on lush green grass around the pool.

Best of all, it’s free to enter and conveniently in the town centre.

Opening hours are
05:30am to 7:00pm during Winter (June to August)
05:30am to 9:00pm during summer (September to May).

6. Great Barrier Reef Tour

Guest snorkelling at a Great Barrier Reef Tour

Now it’s time to embark on an unforgettable adventure to the blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef. This natural wonder is a must-see for nature enthusiasts like yourself.

From Airlie Beach, you currently have two options.

1. Red Cat Adventures – (New Product) This tour only takes 40 people and spends the day at the reef with snorkelling and all food included. for more information on this Great Barrier Reef Day Tour see here

2. Cruise Whitsundays. This is a large ferry carrying over 300 guests visiting a pontoon on the reef, for more information on this tour see here.

I have listed the above in my preference of choices based on reef quality at the snorkelling sites.

Whether you choose a high-speed tour to secluded snorkel spots or an Outer Great Barrier Reef pontoon tour, you’ll be amazed by the vibrant marine life and crystal-clear waters.

With friendly service and knowledgeable guides, these tours will ensure you make the most of your visit to the Great Barrier Reef.

7. Cedar Creek Waterfall

Cedar Creek Waterfall 25 minutes from Airlie Beach

 Cedar Creek Falls is a hidden oasis on the hot tropical days we know so well living here.

This stunning waterfall is nestled amidst tropical rainforests on the mainland at a very quiet location, just a 30-minute drive from town, offering a refreshing escape from the bustling world.

Dip in the freshwater pool beneath the falls and feel rejuvenated as you immerse yourself in these natural surroundings.

If you are lucky, you may spot the freshwater turtles and local Goannas that call this place home. There is a walk to the top of the waterfall, but be careful; it’s steep and slippery!

How to get here?

Self-drive from Airlie Beach 30 mins (directions here)

6-Hour Tour- Falls To Paradise (Information here)

8. Visit Bowen

Beach in Bowen Queensland

A day trip to Bowen is the perfect way to discover more of the Whitsunday Region. Unlike the tourist town of Airlie Beach, Bowen is laid-back by the sea with some stunning beaches and has the true Queenslander feel.

With eight stunning beaches to choose from within a 10-minute drive from each other, including the picturesque Horseshoe Bay, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to soak up the sun and enjoy the crystal-clear waters.

One of the highlights of visiting Bowen is its proximity to the inner reef. After putting on your snorkel gear, you can swim above colourful corals and mesmerizing fish at Horseshoe bay.

At low tide, walk towards the North Head Lighthouse and marvel at the incredible sea life that emerges, from giant red starfish to graceful green sea turtles.

Some of the attractions are the Big Mango, beaches, children’s water park, fresh seafood and more. For more information, visit Bowen Toursims Website Here.

9. Visit Cape Gloucester and Hydeaway Bay

Cape Gloucester beach

Cape Gloucester and Hyeaway Bay are one of my favourite places to go for some peace and quiet.

Just a short 40-minute drive from Airlie Beach, you will find the small town of Hydeaway Bay. Let me give you four reasons why Cape Gloucester should be at the top of your holiday must-visit list and here is why:

  1. Cape Gloucester offers a pristine, undeveloped beach experience with calm turquoise waters and clean beaches.
  2. The area provides a quiet and secluded getaway, away from the tourist crowds of Airlie Beach.
  3. Visitors can enjoy the restaurants and bars on the beach at Cape Gloucester Resort and Montes Resort.
  4. Hydeaway Bay beach, along the way, is a piece of paradise!

How to get here?

Self-drive from Airlie Beach 50 mins (directions here)

6-Hour – Cape to Creek Day Tour (Information here)

10. Hike to Honey Eater Lookout

Honey Eater Lookout View over Airlie Beach

Honeyeater lookout trail is for medium to high levels of fitness. there are some steep climbs, especially in the first stage. But the view over Airlie Beach and Whitsunday Islands is so worth it!

This trail offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in nature while enjoying stunning views of Cannonvale and the Whitsundays Islands.

The initial steep ascent may challenge your stamina, but fear not, for the rest of the hike is relatively easy, allowing you to catch your breath and take in the scenery.

As you reach the top, prepare to be mesmerized by an expansive view that overlooks Coral Sea Marina Resort and Cannonvale. It’s like standing on top of the world!

So grab plenty of water, lace up those shoes, and prepare for an unforgettable journey amidst the magical Whitsunday Islands.

11. Visit Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island

Feel the tropical relaxation as you explore Hamilton Island, immersing yourself in its natural beauty and indulging in endless adventure and discovery opportunities.

Here are four reasons why a visit to Hamilton Island should be at the top of your Whitsundays itinerary:

1. Play a round of golf

Immerse yourself in the ultimate golfing experience at Hamilton Island Golf Club, the only Australian 18-hole championship course on its island. With breathtaking views and pristine greens, this is a golfer’s paradise.

2. Watersports

Get your adrenaline pumping and maximize the island’s complimentary watersports equipment. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or just looking for active fun, you can enjoy catamarans, kayaks, paddleboards, windsurfers, and snorkelling gear. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and explore the vibrant marine life of the Whitsundays.

3. Indulge in great bars and restaurants.

Treat your taste buds to a culinary adventure on Hamilton Island. You can sample fresh and regional produce with renowned restaurants and bars while enjoying the island’s laid-back atmosphere. Sip on a refreshing cocktail or savour a delicious meal while taking in the stunning views of the Whitsunday Islands.

4. Unlock your creativity at the Art Gallery.

Unleash your inner artist at the Hamilton Island Art Gallery. Set against the beautiful Whitsunday Islands backdrop, this gallery provides the perfect setting to nurture creativity. Learn from our resident artists and be inspired by the natural beauty surrounding you. Discover a new passion or refine your skills in a relaxed and inspiring environment.

Hamilton Island offers an unforgettable experience where nature meets adventure, making it an ideal destination for your Australian holiday.

12. Whitsunday Standup Paddle Board and Kayak

Whitsunday Standup Paddle Board

Experience gliding across the water on a stand-up paddle or kayak with the local SUP team at Whitsunday Stand Up Paddle & Kayak. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, this activity is perfect for all ages.

Choose to strike out on your own or with a group of friends. And let’s be honest, half the fun is falling in and getting back up! With two locations at Coral Sea Marina and Lagoon Beach in the centre of town, it’s convenient for everyone.

Also, check out their kayak hire. It’s a great 2-hour session where you usually get the chance to see turtles!

So grab your paddle or hop into a kayak and get ready to explore the coastal mainland waters in style. Get closer to nature, laugh, and make unforgettable memories with SUP at Airlie Beach.

To make bookings for any of their Whitsunday Stand Up Paddle & Kayak products, click here for their website.

Tours In Airlie Beach

Tour Guests at South Whitehaven Lookout

To fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the Airlie Beach region, a tour is the best way to explore the mainland and Whitsunday Islands.

From exploring the Great Barrier Reef to cruising through the stunning Whitsunday Islands and Whitehaven Beach, there is something for everyone.

Being a tourist town, there are a lot of tours! So my list of tour categories is below, and then I will show you the best places to book and why.

  1. Whitehaven Beach Tours
  2. Whitsunday Islands Snorkelling Tours
  3. Great Barrier Reef Tours
  4. Sunset Cruises
  5. Scenic Flights
  6. Jetski Tours
  7. Glass Bottom Boats
  8. Waterfall Tours
  9. Jet boat Thrill Rides
  10. Sky Diving
  11. Crocodiles in the Wild
  12. Private Boat Charters
  13. Segway Adventures
  14. Exploring on a Tuk-Tuk
  15. Plus more!

These tours offer an unforgettable experience that showcases the natural wonders of Airlie Beach in all its glory.

You can find all the tours in Airlie Beach here on Viator, which has live availability and Bookings. All Airlie Beach tourism operators trust this website and give you all the activities on one website. You can also check out my own Airlie Beach activities guide here.

So grab your sense of adventure and get ready for an incredible journey!

Local Restaurants

Indulge in the delectable flavours and aromas of local cuisines in local restaurants in this tropical paradise. Airlie Beach offers a full range of dining options that cater to every palate.

From waterfront eateries to local bars. There is something to please everyone’s taste buds. You can see our complete guide for restaurants in Airlie Beach here (I have written a separate guide as it’s too much information for this page)


Magnums Hotel on the main street

Explore a variety of lively pubs, clubs, and restaurants close to each other. As the sun sets over this coastal paradise, the party begins!

Start your evening at Magnums Bar. It’s a popular spot known for its energetic atmosphere and live music. Dance your way over to Airlie Beach Hotel. Here, you can sip on tropical cocktails while enjoying stunning ocean views.

For a taste of Irish charm and good craic, head to Paddy Shenanigans. They offer traditional pub fare and a pint of Guinness. The Pub is another must-visit venue. They have an extensive range of beers on tap and delicious pub grub.

When you’re ready to hit the dancefloor, go to Boom Nightclub. They have pulsating beats and an electric atmosphere. And last but not least, don’t miss Mama Africas. It offers unique, infectious sounds and all your favourite drinks.

So grab your friends, get loose, and prepare for an unforgettable night out in Airlie Beach!

Whitsunday Markets

Stalls at the Whitsundays Markets

The Airlie Beach Markets is one of the most vibrant attractions and is held every Saturday morning until about 1 pm.

Open – Saturday, 7am to 1pm
Location10-20 Airlie Esplanade, Airlie Beach QLD 4802
Rating on Google – 4.3/5  (based on 325 reviews)

Picture yourself strolling through a bustling beachside path filled with colourful stalls and the aroma of mouthwatering food wafting through the air.

The markets are a treasure trove of local and fresh produce, art, craft, souvenirs, and handmade goodies waiting to be discovered.

From unique trinkets to delectable treats, there is something for everyone here.

Whether searching for a keepsake to remind you of your holiday or the perfect gift for a friend, these markets have got you covered.

So grab your recyclable shopping bag, check out the latest stalls on their Facebook Page and prepare for a morning of vibrance and delight at the Whitsunday Markets in Airlie Beach!

Fishing Spots Around Airlie Beach

Catching fish in Airlie Beach

Get ready to cast your line into Airlie’s rock walls and coral formations, where whispers of Mangrove jack, Coral trout, Grunter, and Whiting dance through the salty air. These fishing spots offer abundant marine life just waiting to be reeled in. Before you go fishing, check the latest Coral Sea Tides and up to date weather for the region, as some fishing spots are to shallow at low tide.

  • Get ready for some action at VMR Rockwall! With notable catches like Fingermark, large golden Trevally, and even big Permit, you’re in for a good fishing experience. Don’t forget to try fishing on the right side of the ramp, too – Bream, Mangrove jack, Trevally species, Fingermark, and Barramundi are waiting for your bait.
  • If you’re up for a short drive from Airlie Beach, head to the Proserpine River. This is where you’ll find all kinds of tasty fish, including King Salmon lurking in deep bends using small mullets or live prawns as bait. And if you prefer lures, soft vibes are recommended for catching many Salmon.
  • Don’t miss out on the Port of Airlie and Whisper Bay boat ramp rock walls, either! Here you can hook Grunter and Whiting while enjoying breathtaking views.
  • Shute Harbour Jetty is a renowned fishing spot, popular among anglers in the area. At dawn, tuna schools are abundant around Shute Harbour and Long Island. Those that have had the fortune to fish here have reported catching Mack tuna, Northern bluefin, giant trevally, Barramundi, and Mangrove jack. Live baits are recommended for optimal fishing results. All in all, this is an ideal spot for a successful fishing experience.

So grab your gear and embark on an unforgettable fishing adventure in Airlie Beach – where every cast promises excitement and time with mates and family!

Public Boat Ramps

VMR boat ramp in Airlie Beach

If you are bringing your boat to Airlie Beach, the next part is for you! Before you depart on your boat, make sure you have your safety equipment up to date and check our maps page for the islands and Whitehaven Beach.

There are four boat ramps in Airlie Beach, where you can quickly launch into the sparkling waters of the Whitsundays for a day of fishing or visiting Whitehaven Beach.

Coral Sea Marina: This ramp offers easy access to the marina and its bustling atmosphere. Docking here means being close to restaurants, shops, and fellow sea lovers. There is dedicated boat trailer parking, but like every Whitsunday boat ramp, it will fill up quickly if the winds are under 15 knots.
Location on Google Maps

Port Of Airlie. Located 400 meters from the main street, this is a double-lane boat ramp with a large carpark for cars and boat trailers.
Location on Google Maps

VMR: The Volunteer Marine Rescue ramp is located in Cannonvale opposite the police station and is protected by a rock wall ( also good for fishing). There is parking here, but it often spills out onto the road.
Location on Google Maps

Shute Harbour: A 10-minute drive from town, this boat ramp is not the easiest and has many complaints from locals as the fixed dock is hard on boats on certain tides. Boat trailer parking here is limited, so you need to be early! This is the closest boat ramp to Daydream Island and Long Island resorts.
Location on Google Maps

if you don’t have your own boat but would like ti hire one and explore the stunning Whitsunday Islands at your own pace, then you can check out our guide for Airlie Beach boat hire options.

Local Beaches On The Mainland

Boathaven beach at sunset in Airlie Beach

While Whitehaven Beach is the main drawcard to the region, there are also some nice beaches on the mainland. When you’re ready to soak up the sun and feel the sand between your toes, head down to the Main Beach on the esplanade – it’s a slice of paradise with palm trees and cafes across the road. Below are the three beaches to visit while here on holiday.

Main Beach: Picture yourself strolling the warm sands with Palm Trees along the shoreline for shade. This beach is conveniently located in the heart of Airlie Beach on the Esplanade.

New Beach (Boathaven): this artificial beach was built when Port of Airlie was built. It is sheltered from the southerly wind and has a stinger net during the season to swim in. The sand is a stunning white and soft to the touch. This is the best beach in Airlie and well worth a look. there is also a stinger net here in season for swimming.

Cannonvale Beach: Surrounded by mangroves at each end and affected heavily by low tide, this beach is perfect for taking your dog for a run and gazing across the coral sea towards the Whitsunday Islands. The beach is a mixture of rocks and sand

Hiking Trails

Mount Rooper walking trail Lookout looking towards the Whitsunday Islands

Ready to hit the trails and discover the breathtaking beauty of the tropical rainforests of Conway National Park and State Forest? This expansive park covers over 33,000 hectares of land and protects various ecosystems like tropical rainforest, mangroves, open forest, and lowland rainforest. You can choose from short walks leading to quiet beaches or uphill hikes offering stunning island views.

For a full list of walking trails around the Airlie Beach and Whitsundays region, visit our National Parks website to access their PDF Map 

1. Coastal Fringe Circuit and Hayward Gully:
Coastal Fringe Circuit. This easy-grade walk spans 1.2 kilometres with access from the Conway picnic area.

2. Hayward Gully:
With an easy grade covering a distance of 1.6 kilometres, this walk continues through lowland forest until reaching Hayward Gully. Enjoy the sights of lowland rainforest and rocky gullies along the way.

3. Swamp Bay and Mt Rooper:
Swamp Bay: Explore this moderate-grade track measuring 2.1 kilometres by accessing it from Mt Rooper car park. Keep an eye out for signs that describe the Indigenous use of local plants.

Mt Rooper: Choose from four walking options to experience stunning views. The turn-off is located 200 meters along the Swamp Bay track, leading to Conway Outlook (800 m), Mt Rooper Lookout (2.3 km), Mt Rooper Circuit (5.4 km), or Mt Rooper Circuit and Swamp Bay (7.2 km). All options have a moderate grade and can be accessed from Mt Rooper car park. 

4. Coral Beach, The Beak, Kingfisher Circuit, and Wompoo Walk:
Coral Beach: This moderate-grade walk spans 1.1 kilometres and begins at the car park. Take in panoramic views across Whitsunday Passage while exploring this picturesque trail.

5. The Beak: Covering a distance of 620 meters with a moderate grade, access this walk from Coral Beach carpark. Walk east along Coral Beach until you reach The Beak lookout symbol.

6. Kingfisher Circuit (part of the Great Whitsunday Walk): Embark on this 2-kilometre walk with a moderate grade starting from Forestry Road carpark. You can either return to the car park or continue to Wompoo Walk.

7. Wompoo Walk (part of the Great Whitsunday Walk): Enjoy a 3.5-kilometre moderate-grade hike accessible from Forestry Road carpark. Follow the old logging road and turn left to reach a serene creek. Be on the lookout for the melodious calls of wompoo fruit doves from the canopy.

Car Hire 

Avis, Europcar, or Hertz conveniently have offices on Shute Harbour Road in the middle of town and at Proserpine Airport (Whitsunday Coast). These car rental agencies offer various vehicles to suit your needs.

Avis, known for their friendly local team led by Jay, takes car rental to the next level. Whether you’re looking for a small compact vehicle or a spacious SUV for all your beach gear, they’ve got you covered. And the customer service is outstanding.

For live availability and bookings in Airlie Beach see the Avis Website here


This holiday destination has something for everyone, from trendy boutiques to quirky souvenir stores. If you are looking to see what shops we have before you arrive on your vacation, we have a complete guide to shops on the main street of Airlie Beach. Just remember we are a small town with a main street that’s only 400 metres long so shops are limited, but you will find most things you need in town. Otherwise, there are two shopping centres in Cannonvale which are a 5-minute drive, or you can take the bus, which leaves town every 30 minutes.


There is a Woolworths located just behind the main street of Airlie Beach for all your supermarket needs.

As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by cold air conditioning, which is needed on most days in Airlie; like any regular supermarket, they cover all bases but be warned, as it’s a smaller Woolworths than most, the range can be limited.

From fresh meat to vegetables, deli and drygoods they stock the lot. Online ordering is also available with a direct to boot option in the carpark.

Car parking in Airlie Beach

There are various options available for parking your car in Airlie Beach. Whether you’re happy to splash some cash or prefer the freebies, we’ve got you covered.

Plenty of paid parking spots are scattered around town if you’re willing to fork out a few dollars. Just follow the map below and nab yourself a prime location near all the action.

But if you’d rather keep those precious dollars for cold beers at the beach, fear not! There are also some sneaky free car parking areas behind the main street.

Below I have made a map in Google, red icons are paid parking, and green icons are free parking.

Nearby Towns and Getaways from Airlie Beach

Dingo Beach Hotel

Located just a short drive from the vibrant coastal town of Airlie Beach, you’ll find several stunning destinations waiting to be discovered.

Proserpine is a charming town that offers a taste of rural life with its sugar cane fields and friendly locals. A local museum offers insights into the early settlers of Proserpine and the history of Airlie Beach. There are two supermarkets with lower prices than in Airlie Beach, plus a coffee plantation with an information centre and a very famous shop in the region called Colour Me Crazy.

Dingo Beach is perfect for those seeking a tranquil beach getaway, where you can relax on white sandy shores and enjoy breathtaking sunsets. There is a local pub on the beach that serves good meals.

And if you’re looking for a secluded paradise, Hydeaway Bay is the place to be, with its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. I holiday here once a year to get away from the crowds. Make sure you visit Cape Gloucester Resort for lunch, as it’s a hidden gem of the Whitsundays.

Shute Harbour is a must-visit for boating enthusiasts and people looking for a nice view of the close Whitsunday Islands. There is a newly renovated marina with a cafe and good coffee.

Getting to Airlie Beach

Jetstar plane at Whitsunday Coast Airport

If you’re worried about transportation, don’t fret – several convenient options are available to get you to the beautiful destination of Airlie Beach. Whether you prefer flying or taking a scenic road trip, here are some ways to make your journey as enjoyable as your holiday:

Fly-in: Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast Airport) is serviced by all major Australian airlines, with daily flights and connections from other destinations. Just hop on a plane and enjoy the breathtaking aerial views before landing in paradise.

Hit the road: If you’re up for an adventure, follow the Bruce Highway and the well-signposted turn-off to Airlie Beach. It’s only a 30-minute drive through stunning landscapes. Enjoy the freedom of cruising along the open road while soaking in Queensland’s natural beauty.

Hop on a coach: For those who want a hassle-free journey, interstate coach companies offer regular services along the east coast of Australia. Airlie Beach is often a stop on their routes, allowing you to sit back, relax, and let someone else drive while you admire the scenery.

Read our 10 Ways to Get to Airlie Beach guide for more information. No matter how you choose to travel, getting here is just the beginning of an unforgettable holiday filled with laughter, relaxation, and natural adventures. So pack your bags and get ready for a fantastic time!

Best Time Of Year To Visit?

When planning your trip to this tropical paradise, you’ll want to consider the best time to visit and avoid the high humidity of the wet season. April to November is your golden ticket! During these months, temperatures hover around a comfortable 25 to 30 degrees Celsius, making it perfect for fun in the sun. The winds usually blow from the south, keeping you cool and refreshed.

From November To April is the wet and HOT HOT HOT season! During these months, the temperature is between 30 to 38 degrees, with very high humidity and the chance of decent rain and a few storms. This time is also cyclone season for the north tropical coast.

What’s on? Guide

Get ready to dive into the exciting events and activities happening in Airlie Beach! There’s never a dull moment in this vibrant coastal town. 

See our complete event guide here, including events on Whitehaven Beach.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Airlie Beach on the Great Barrier Reef?

Yes! Airlie Beach is on the Queensland coast, with the coastal waters and Islands part of the Great Barrier Marine Park. 

Can you swim at the beaches?

Yes, you can swim at beaches, although you should be careful and read any warning signs. The best places to swim are boat haven beach, where there is a stinger net and the Airlie Beach Lagoon. If you want to swim in the ocean, wear a stinger suit between November to April to protect you from dangerous jellyfish.

Can you drive from Airlie Beach to the Whitsundays?

No sorry, the only way to get to the Whitsunday Islands is by boat, plane or helicopter.

How to get from Airlie Beach to Hamilton Island?

Cruise Whitsundays at Port Of Airlie has ferries that operate between Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island. See their timetable here.   

Is the region safe?

Airlie is a very safe place to live, with a nice friendly community. In this region, humans are the least of your worries as the rivers have crocodiles and the ocean has dangerous jellyfish, but if you have common sense and follow instructions, you will be safe as you can be. I chose to raise kids here as it’s one of the safest places for families.

Is there a beach at Airlie Beach?

There are two beaches in town, one on the esplanade and the other on Boathaven Beach at the port of Airlie. 

How to get from Airlie beach to Whitehaven Beach?

There are many tour companies which include, boats, ferries, scenic flights and helicopters, you will find these on our Whitehaven Beach Tours Page.

How to get to Airlie Beach from Proserpine airport?

There are plenty of shuttle services, car hire and buses,  we prefer the Whitsundays Transit Airport bus as it’s comfortable and has great airconditioning.

Is it easy to get around in Airlie Beach?

The township is small and easy to walk around, there are taxis and public transport buses if you wish to discover the regional area we recommend car hire from Avis in town.

Are there mosquitoes and midges?

It depends on where you are staying; some areas are worse than others, but generally yes there are mosquitoes and midges in Airlie Beach, especially around sunset and sunrise.

Are there salt water crocodiles?

There are saltwater crocodiles all along the northern parts of Australia including Airlie Beach, mostly they live in the rivers but can sometimes be seen around the coastline.

Do you need a stinger suit at Airlie Beach?

We do recommend wearing a stinger suit if you are swimming in the ocean between October to April, think of them as seatbelts, you’re better off wearing one just in case.

Are there dolphins in the Whitsundays?

We often see dolphins around the Whitsunday Islands on boat tours quite often, like most dolphins they love playing with the boats.

When is Whale Season in the Whitsundays

Humpback whales migrate here from Antarctica from June until September to breed and give birth to calves in the warm tropical waters of the Whitsunday

Does it rain a lot in Airlie Beach?

The region’s weather in Summer is our wet season. In January, February and March, our rainfall can be from 100 – 300mls. That can seem like a lot but it’s worth noting these are isolated days and most rain falls in the evening.

Can you drink the tap water?

The tap water is safe to drink in Airlie Beach, in saying that it’s heavily chlorinated (due to the warm climate) and is not the best tasting. People filter their tap water to get rid of the unpleasant taste.

Does it get cold?

It’s very rare for Airlie to have a cold day, cold for us is under 20 deg. We enjoy a subtropical climate that provides fine, mild weather most of the year. Except in summer which is hot humid and sticky.

What is the hottest month ?

January is the hottest closely followed by December, these days are mostly over 33deg with high humidity making it feel like 40+ deg

What are the top attractions to visit in Airlie Beach?

The top attractions are 

Whitehaven Beach 
Hill Inlet 
Whitsunday Island
Hamilton Island
Great Barrier Reef
Daydream Island
Hayman Island

What are the most popular things to do with kids?

this is easy, the Airlie Beach lagoon and Eslande playground will keep kids busy for hours and are a safe place to play. Also, take them on a tour of the island on a smooth fast boat like ZigZag Whitsundays, they will love it!

What tours are good for avoiding crowds?

ZigZag Whitsundays only takes a maximum of 30 guests and purposely stays away from the bigger crowded boats as much as possible.

Nath J

Nath J

Hi, I’m Nath J, your go-to expert for everything Whitsundays Tourism. Since 2001, I’ve been immersed in this incredible destination, accumulating 22 years of industry experience. My journey has taken me from Operations Manager at Tallarook Sail and Dive to running my own businesses like Ripple Effect Online. I’ve given workshops on direct tourism bookings and even authored an ebook, Whitsunday Islands: A Journey through Paradise.

Why trust me? I hold certifications like “Whitsundays Tourism Hero” and “Respecting First Nations Cultural Protocols in Australia,” both issued by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council. My work has garnered testimonials from tourism business around the region, praising my unique, genuine approach to tourism marketing.

Find me on Facebook and LinkedIn or drop me an email at

Learn More About Nath J