Set on the Whitsunday Coast, Airlie Beach is a vision of sugar-white sand and turquoise water. The laid-back town is loaded with opportunities to soak up the sunshine and is also a launchpad to the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands. Local tour operators offer excursions to swim with tropical fish, scuba dive among kaleidoscopic corals and get up close with breaching humpback whales.
Just south of town, Conway National Park beckons with trails that wind through the lush coastal rainforest. Scenic flights take off from Airlie Beach and unlock bird’s-eye views of natural wonders such as Heart Reef and Whitehaven Beach.
Love to fish? Set sail on a fishing charter and reel in trophy-sized marlin and mahi-mahi. In the town centre, Shute Harbour Road is lined with cafes, bars and seafood restaurants. Grab a bite to eat or relax on the grass by the swimming lagoon.
Getting around Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach is compact and walkable, with plenty of street parking available. The town is serviced by Whitsunday Coast Airport, with shuttle buses running to Airlie Beach in around 40 minutes. Renting a car is ideal if you plan to venture further afield to Mackay and Townsville.