Airlie Beach, Queensland
The largest town in the Whitsundays and the tourism hub of the region, Airlie Beach is situated on the gorgeous Whitsundays Coast in North Queensland – about 620 kilometres south of Cairns.
Surrounded by beautiful turquoise water that glitters just metres off the shore, and backed by rows of undulating jungle-clad hills, Airlie Beach enjoys a warm subtropical climate and is the perfect jumping off point for cruises to the Great Barrier Reef, Heart Reef and Whitehaven Beach.
As a town almost entirely focused on tourism, Airlie Beach has a wide variety of cafés, restaurants, bars and stores that line its main drag. The town also features a lovely swimming lagoon, which is perfect for a quick dip.
A popular cruise destination, Airlie Beach welcomes over 800,000 tourists annually. Many of these holidaymakers arrive by cruise, docking at Abel Point Marina.
Most cruise ships dock at Abel Point Marina, which is only a 10 minute walk away, along a scenic boardwalk, from the centre of town.
Abel Point Marina has recently undergone a major redevelopment and now boasts a range of state-of-the-art facilities for cruise passengers to enjoy. Further developments in the area continue.
- Public Toilets
- Wi-Fi Internet Access
- Luggage trolleys
- Laundry facilities
- Cafés, restaurants, shopping and bars.
Taxis are readily available within walking distance of the port, giving passengers access to surrounding attractions and accommodation options.
How To Get Around
Travellers have quite a few transportation options once in Airlie Beach. Whitsunday Transit is the region’s local bus service, connecting Airlie Beach with Cannonvale, Jubilee Pocket, Shute Harbour and Proserpine. Services run every 20-30 minutes.
Car hire is also an option, as is taking a local taxi.
Shute Harbour, where most of the trips leave to head out to the Great Barrier Reef, lies about 12 kilometres east out of town. Most cruise companies provide courtesy buses to pick you up and drop you off in town. If not, expect to pay $30 for the taxi ride over.
Travel times from the marina:
- It is a 10 minute walk to the centre of Airlie Beach.
- It is a 40 minute journey to Proserpine Airport (cost is approximately $15 per person by shuttle bus or taxi).
- Currency – The local currency is the Australian dollar. Coins come in 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 denominations. Notes come in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations.
- Time Zone – Airlie Beach is on Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), which is 10 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
- Weather – Airlie Beach enjoys a warm subtropical climate all year round. The hot and humid wet season runs from November to May, when average temperatures hover around 32 degrees Celsius. Expect only a few days of wet weather per month. Although temperatures do fall slightly during June to October (Airlie Beach’s winter season), it’s still quite warm compared to the rest of Australia. Expect an average high of 27 degrees Celsius during the day and an average low of 16 degrees Celsius come nightfall.
- Great Barrier Reef – Experience a full day exploring the world’s largest coral reef system and spend time in the water getting up close and personal with all sorts of marine life, from schools of tropical fish and manta rays, to turtles and reef sharks. Travellers can elect to scuba dive or snorkel in some of the best parts of the Great Barrier Reef, including Hardy Reef and Knuckle Reef Lagoon. Cruises start at around $200 per person for a full day cruise with many inclusions.
- Whitehaven Beach – A pristine 7 kilometre stretch of sandy white beach, Whitehaven Beach is one of the main drawcards of the Whitsundays archipelago. Located on Whitsunday Island – the biggest island in the island chain – it is blessed with some of the clearest blue water in the world, and is the perfect beach at which to relax, unwind and get that much-needed tan. A full day cruise starts at around $150 per person and includes return transfers, buffet lunch and snorkelling gear.
- Heart Reef – Naturally shaped in the form of a love heart, Heart Reef is an iconic image of the Whitsunday Islands. Fly over this natural wonder on a sea plane or helicopter flight and marvel at its sublime beauty from the sky. A 60 minute scenic flight starts at $199 per person.
- Airlie Beach Main Street – A constant hive of activity, Airlie Beach’s main strip, which is called Shute Harbour Road, is lined with clothing boutiques, cafés, restaurants, souvenir stores and nightlife venues. Stroll along the street and soak up the summer sun, as well as the relaxed, carefree atmosphere that fills the air.