Airlie Beach – Alive day and night!
Vibrant and alive, Airlie Beach is the beating heart of the Whitsundays. It is the epicentre of access to the islands and the reef by day, and by night offers such an array of dining and nightlife that every night is Saturday night!
Colourful, cosmopolitan and inviting, the community of Airlie Beach is the mainland gateway to the Whitsundays for holiday action and relaxation. Situated in a picturesque peninsula that reaches out to the Whitsunday Passage, the effervescent town is located on the shores of a palm-fringed coastline and overlooks the calm waters and yachts of Pioneer Bay. As you drive into Airlie Beach the road climbs above Abel Point Marina, providing expansive views of aquamarine water with islands to the horizon.
The laid back, tropical ambience you experience as you stroll along the main street of Airlie is pure Whitsundays. Here you can book a coastal, island or reef getaway, grab a smoothie or latte at a café, or dine and dance the night away.
Be sure to visit the Airlie Beach Lagoon for a day of relaxation. Set is a landscaped parkland overlooking Pioneer Bay, this man-made outdoor saltwater pool also has free barbecue areas, amenities and showers, children’s pool and playground. It is also a popular place for travellers to meet for a refreshing swim or to sunbathe and chill out.
Every Saturday morning the foreshore of Airlie Beach transforms into an outdoor marketplace. Under the shade of the coconut palms, local vendors sell fresh fruit and vegetables, arts and crafts and more. On Sunday night enjoy free live music on the foreshore.
Airlie’s dining and entertainment options are primarily located along the main street and esplanade and vary from upmarket dining to alfresco cafes and cheap eats. Dance the night away in one of Airlie Beach’s many lively clubs and bars that provide plenty of entertainment well into the night.
Tour booking agents are in abundance to inform you of everything the region has to offer. Available tours and activities span a wealth of day or overnight trips, cruises to the islands and the Great Barrier Reef, and on-land and aquatic adrenalin pursuits.
Abel Point Marina is the departure point for much of the water-based activity in the Whitsundays and its just a five-minute walk from the centre of Airlie Beach via the scenic boardwalk which winds along the water’s edge. Charter yachts, sailing cruises and dive adventures depart from the recently expanded marina, which caters for cruising yachts right up to the superyachts from around the world.
A visit to Airlie Beach is a must-do on most travellers’ lists – with great attractions in the tourist town and the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef on the doorstep. Whether you’re the adventurous type, active family or couple looking for a romantic getaway the hardest part of enjoying the Whitsundays is deciding what to do.
Exploring Airlie Beach and its surrounds will surprise you with just as many exciting and beautiful locations on the mainland to experience as on the water.
What women want
Girls, don’t leave yourselves out of your fabulous Airlie getaway. The kids will have a great time at Airlie Beach Lagoon in the water, playground while guys find their niche sizzling the bbq lunch while enjoying the view to the islands.
Here are a few suggestions when you’re ready for some “me” time –
Find true tropical resort wear in Finally For Women the boutique fashion house specialising in anywhere, anytime gear plus friendly relaxed service.
Back home in paradise is Karla at Figurehead Hair Salon after styling the rich and famous around the world with her precision cutting, European hair extensions, colour corrections and styles.
And if total indulgence is what you deserve (who doesn’t?) Pampers Day Spa gives you the full body treatment literally from top to toe so you look and feel a million dollars the whole time you’re in the Whitsundays.
Airlie’s weekly Saturday markets offer a quaint range of local arts and crafts, fresh fruit and vegetables and much more. Set upright on the Airlie foreshore; the mood is relaxed and friendly.
The Esplanade, Airlie’s “Eat Street” provides a range of restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy cool sea breezes while you sip a coffee or cocktail. A range of delicacies is available to fulfil your breakfast, lunch or dinner needs in that holiday atmosphere only Airlie can create.
Escape to an idyllic oasis
Welcome to The Whitsundays on the tropical Queensland coast – numerous islands, coral reefs, waterways, mainland forests and dozens of island and mainland accommodation options.
Swim, snorkel, scuba dive, fish, jetski, parasail, windsurf, paddle, enjoy a day cruise on an inter-island ferry, or cruise away for as many days as you like.
Get up in the air for a breathtaking skydive, island hops or unforgettable sightseeing trips. Take to the trails, meet a croc, bush bash on a quad bike, horse ride, shop, be pampered, sip champagne on a cruise or a balcony and eat at a different restaurant every meal. Or do absolutely nothing at all.
Seem too good to be true? A rare geographic location, blissful weather and the excellent service ethic make it all possible. What’s more, it’s safe, clean and friendly with no travel-alert stress.
The average daytime temperature is 23 – 30 degrees. Odd summer days reach around 34 degrees with typical tropical humidity. In winter expect temperate sunny days and crystal clear cool nights.
Pack only the basics; a camera, sunblock, a wide-brimmed hat, UV protective sunglasses and casual clothes – natural fibres and a warm jacket for cooler nights on the water. Shoes? Think sandals and a casual soft-soled pair that protects feet from coral beaches yet doesn’t mark boat decks. If you leave anything behind you can pick it up locally.
Cruise through the Whitsundays
Explore calm water, closely placed islands and rich ecosystems through numerous one-day and extended cruise options – slow or fast, basic or luxury. Charter boat staff can advise on the right cruise for you. Don’t miss Whitehaven Beach, seven kilometres of fine white sand and impossibly blue water, and the nearby stunning Hill Inlet lookout.
Most cruises offer snorkelling, beach or water games and an appreciation of the unique ecosystems. Spot an eagle with chicks on a rocky outcrop, swim with manta rays and from July to September, go whale watching. Don’t forget your camera or they won’t believe you at home!
Day Cruises – if time is short, a full day three-island cruise is ideal. Even shorter are a lunch or sunset cruise. If possible, for variety, take more than one day cruise as their features vary.
Çrewed charters- typically three days and two nights aboard a fully catered and crewed sailing or powered vessel offering accommodation from bunk style to private air-conditioned five-star stateroom accommodation. Snorkel or dive on coral reefs, visit beaches, bush walk or even help sail. After dinner, head above deck to gaze at southern skies and spot shooting stars.
Bareboat charters – With the freedom to cruise at your whim, your private and fully self-contained three-to five-star sailing or powered vessel even has an on-deck barbecue to do justice to a freshly caught fish. For romantic escapes for two, to a fun-filled reunion of friends on the water this is a recommended option for those with some sailing experience.
Yachting enthusiasts – The recently extended modern Abel Point Marina offers facilities from repairs and internet access to excellent food and tour advice for vessels from superyachts to trailer-savers. Even if you aren’t a yachtie, in August and September enjoy the spectacle of Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach Race Weeks and the famous Great Whitsunday Fun Race with events and activities centred around Whitsunday Sailing Club.
Get yourself to The Whitsundays
By road: 125 km north of Mackay and 60 km south of Bowen on Queensland’s coastal Bruce Highway is Proserpine. On its northern outskirts, turn off for the 20 minutes drive through emerald green sugar cane farms and State Forest hilltops to The Whitsunday Coast.
The first suburb is Cannonvale, then comes the breathtaking view of Abel Point Marina and Pioneer Bay followed by Airlie Beach. Proserpine and Airlie are regular stops for north and southbound transit coaches. In a private car, the drive from Brisbane takes about 12 hours with breaks, so plan to stop over mid-trip so you arrive relaxed. From Cairns allow about 7 hours with breaks.
By rail: State of the art trains, including the super-fast Tilt Train, traverse Queensland’s eastern seaboard. Call 13 2332 and specify Proserpine as your destination station.
By air: The two commercial airports are Whitsunday Coast Airport near Proserpine and Great Barrier Reef Airport Hamilton Island. From Proserpine, it’s a 35-minute transfer to coastal destinations. Hamilton Island involves a picturesque 35 – 45-minute big catamaran transfer or a spectacular 15 minute light plane flight to the mainland. Coach, taxi, limousine, plane and ferry transfers should be booked before departure.
Jetstar and Virgin offer direct flights to both ports from most mainland capital cities except Perth and Darwin. Numerous other flights connect via Sydney or Brisbane. From Cairns fly into Hamilton Island. For other main domestic ports, connections usually exist.