Beaches are the best choice for a vacation spot, especially in summer. Many locals and tourists visit beaches during summertime to enjoy a fun vacation with their partners and families while killing the heat with the cool breeze. There are many who love sitting by the beach and tanning under the summer sun, whereas others prefer taking a dip in the water.
Like other parts of the world, beaches are a popular tourist spot in Australia. Aussies love tanning under the sun and enjoy a nice bar-b-que on the beach with their friends and family. Airlie Beach in Queensland is one of the most beautiful beaches for a getaway. You can enjoy various fun activities on the beach and take joyful memories with you. This article tells you what to do in Airlie Beach.
Fun Things to Do in Airlie Beach
Known as the “Heart of the Reef,” Airlie Beach is located in the heart of the Whitsundays region. Airlie Beach has been a favorite among visitors for some time away from their busy routine. It is not only a popular tourist destination in summer, but the tropical weather makes it the perfect choice year-round.
You can swim in the lagoon, snorkel in the coral reef, or cruise around the islands. Sleeping at the Great Barrier Reef is another exquisite activity every visitor wants to experience. Also, the seafood is to die for. You can find the finest lobsters and fish to feast on.
We have compiled the best activities at Airlie Beach to ensure you get your money’s worth. Pick your favorites and enjoy a fun vacation at this gorgeous location.
Swim in the Airlie Beach Lagoon
What’s better than starting your trip with a swim in the Airlie Beach Lagoon?
The beach lagoon welcomes you with clean water, sandy shores, and magnificent palm trees. It is the perfect place to visit with your partner or kids to enjoy a fun day without worrying about the kids’ safety. This place is incredibly safe, and the kids can enjoy their time at the kiddie pool. Meanwhile, you can immerse yourself in the beautiful sun or dip in the cool waters. Alternatively, bring your favorite book and enjoy reading with a view.
The best part is that Airlie Beach Lagoon is absolutely free!
Take a Helicopter Tour
Nothing is more exciting than a helicopter tour, especially when you get to see beautiful islands instead of concrete.
Booking a helicopter tour with one of the companies enables you to see some of Australia’s most breathtaking islands from the top, including Hill Inlet, Long Island, and Daydream Island. You can also get a helicopter to go to Whitehaven Beach.
It is one of the most worthy experiences and the best way to see this beautiful place.
Immerse Yourself in Nature at the Cedar Creek Falls
Cedar Creek Falls is a gorgeous part of the Airlie Beach region that you must visit on your trip to see the majestic beauty of nature. Cedar Creek Falls are halfway between Airlie Beach and Proserpine on Saltwater Creek Road; you can reach there within a few minutes from the parking lot.
Take your swimsuit with you if you plan to swim in the rainforest pool. Many tourists also hike up to the falls to experience a more beautiful view from the top. But remember that Cedar Creek Falls also have lizards, turtles, fish, and numerous birds.
However, going to Cedar Creek Falls might not be as worthy of an experience in the summer. The best time to visit the waterfall is in winter when it is in full flow.
You cannot miss fishing when you are at a beach with the best opportunities. While Airlie Beach has numerous fishing spots, the Shute Harbor Jetty is among the best. Shute Harbor is the ferry dock for boats to the Whitsunday Islands, around 10 kilometers from Airlie Beach. The Conway National Park runs this small residential area with beautiful holiday homes.
Most visitors to Airlie Beach take an evening tour of Shute Harbor to enjoy the views and take stunning photos. For fishing, going to the Shute Harbour Jetty with a custom-made fishing pontoon in the morning is a better choice. You can find mackerel, bass, marlin, and trout in these waters.
Walk Along the Bicentennial Walkway
The next on the list is another free activity, close to the Airlie Beach Lagoon. The Bicentennial Walkway is a five-kilometer walkway from Airlie Beach to Cannonvale Beach. It is the perfect way to explore the surrounding areas after a fun-filled day at the lagoon.
The walkway is kid-friendly; you do not have to worry about hurting those little feet. The trail is flat and stroller-friendly. Many people prefer staying at the beach to strolling through the walkway, though it is a beauty on its own. When you head out of the Airlie Beach Lagoon around sunset, you will experience the sky’s gorgeous changing colors as you move through this walkway.
The walkway offers various small tucked-away beaches, cafes, and live music. Take a walk and stop for a coffee or seafood dinner at one of the famous restaurants in the area, like The Deck Airlie Beach. Or, move to your hotel after the long walk and go out for a delicious dinner at one of the other popular restaurants.
Hike the Conway Circuit
Besides the fun beach activities and skydiving, Airlie Beach offers the perfect spot for a thrilling hike along the Conway Circuit in the Conway National Park.
The Conway National Park is on the coast between Shute Harbor and Airlie Beach. As you enter the park, you will see gorgeous exhibits of nature, mesmerizing and inviting you to explore more. The Conway Circuit, formerly known as the Whitsunday Great Walk, is a 28-kilometer trail along the mountain ridges in Conway National Park. The hike is quite a favorite among visitors due to the splendid views of rugged cliffs and rainforests on your way. Along the trail, you will also spot yellow-faced honeyeaters, white-brown scrubwren, sulfur-crested cockatoos, and kookaburras.
The Conway Circuit is a long, three-day hike – walk throughout the day and spend the nights camping under the stars. Many experienced riders also opt for mountain bikes to explore the trail in a shorter time (around 4 hours).
Shorter Trails in the Conway National Park
If you are looking for shorter hiking trails in the park, the Kingfisher Walk and Mt. Rooper Circuit take comparatively less time. The Mt. Rooper Circuit is a 5.5-kilometer hike, while the Kingfisher Walk is a 2.2-kilometer round-trip. Furthermore, the Hayward Gully and Fringe Circuit feel like only short walks along the trail.
Jet Ski or Sail at the Whitsunday Islands
Sailing trips are a must-add to the itinerary when visiting Airlie Beach. Whether you have an ample budget or want to try something for free, Airlie Beach has a sailing opportunity for everyone!
Whitsunday Islands offer the best sailing waters in the Southern Hemisphere. The best part is that these waters are easy to navigate, even if you are not an avid sailor.
You can enjoy sailing around the island in various ways, including:
- Sailing tours
- Bareboat charters
- Sailing with skippers
Bareboat charters are a popular way to explore the Whitsunday Islands without a boat license. Hire a yacht or motor cruiser and skipper the boat yourself to enjoy sailing around the island on your own
Alternatively, get a boat with a skipper to sail it. You can also opt for sailing tours where you only relax and enjoy a long trip around the heavenly islands. Indulging in Twilight Yacht Racing conducted by the Whitsunday Sailing Club every Wednesday is another fun (and free) activity you might want to experience.
Adventurous tourists also opt for guided Jet Ski tours at Whitsundays for an exciting 2.5-hour small group tour around the islands.
Experience Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef
Airlie Beach, located next to the world’s largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef, is the perfect site for snorkeling and experiencing underwater life. Various tour companies offer snorkeling and scuba diving tours at the Whitsunday Islands. The Heart Reef and Hardy Reef are among the most popular spots for snorkeling. You can see amazing marine life at the Great Barrier Reef, including sharks, tropical fish, rays, sea turtles, over 1,400 types of coral, and 1,650 fish in the reef.
On a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef, you will get morning and afternoon tea-inclusive options with a full buffet lunch.
Whether you are a snorkeling and scuba diving person or not, this is a lifetime experience everyone must avail of at least once. You will be amazed by underwater life if you have not gone scuba diving before.
We understand that beaches are more about scuba diving and jet skiing, but Airlie Beach offers something exceptional – skydiving!
Adventure enthusiasts can sign up for skydiving at Airlie Beach from 15,000 feet in the air. It is a safe, unforgettable experience as you land up straight in gleaming blue waters, watching the beautiful islands and beaches while you glide downwards.
Highly trained and skilled instructors help you with this amazing experience to ensure you have the best of your time.
Observe Underwater Life at the Glass Observatory
When we say Airlie Beach is something for everyone, we are not exaggerating. If you want to observe and experience underwater life without getting wet, a trip to the underwater glass observatory is all you need.
The glass-bottom boat tour from Shute Harbor is a popular Airlie Beach activity suitable for all ages. The ship’s crew comprises experts in marine biology who tell you everything about the fish. You can also feed the fish and connect with like-minded people.
In case you do not see the marine organisms at first, do not worry; they eventually appear, leaving you in awe.
Explore the Hidden Hydeaway Bay
Hydeaway Bay is a hidden secret around 50 kilometers from Airlie Beach. It is the perfect spot for a day out with friends and family when you want some quiet time and less crowded. Take the Gregory-Cannon Valley Road to Dingo Beach Road and turn into Hydeaway Bay Drive to reach Hydeaway Bay.
The gorgeous Hideaway waters are ideal for taking a swim and boating. You can also bring your boat to go boating at Dingo Beach; the Bay also has vessels to rent. Alternatively, walk around the beach or play games with your family. Sometimes, visitors come across dolphins, turtles, or dugongs on the beach if you’re lucky!
Hydeaway Bay is an easily affordable experience you must not miss when you visit Airlie Beach.
Enjoy a Tuk-Tuk Ride
Though tuk-tuks are usually associated with Asian countries, you can have a fun tuk-tuk ride at Airlie Beach. It is one of the best modes of sightseeing around the area.
These tuk-tuk rides take you to the hot spots at Airlie Beach, including the Coral Sea Marina, the Port of Airlie, and everything in between. You only have to sit, relax, and munch on your favorite snacks while the locals take you through interesting locations.
Tourists interested in enjoying local cuisines can opt for food-based tuk-tuks that also offer you samples of local foods throughout the ride.
Watch the Sunrise with Kangaroos
It is not a complete trip if you do not experience sunrise with kangaroos at the Cape Hillsborough National Park!
Besides finding Kangaroos in parks in Australia, seeing them roam around the beaches is a sight to remember. Most kangaroos come around the beaches early morning or evening, which is why a morning at the Cape Hillsborough National Park is perfect for kangaroo spotting.
Book a trip to the park with breakfast and morning tea after spending time with the kangaroos at the beach before returning to your accommodation.
Buy Souvenirs at the Local Market
The Whitsunday Lions Airlie Beach Community Markets are perfect for strolling and browsing the local produce and other things every Saturday from 7 am to 1 pm.
The market is known for its coffee, but you can also find home-baked treats, candles, crystals, jewelry, and souvenirs. The colorful local clothes and handcrafted goods might seem a little pricey, but you can always make a bargain.
Sleep at the Great Barrier Reef
Do you remember we mentioned sleeping at the Great Barrier Reef at the beginning? This is a must-mention on the list of things to do in Airlie Beach because you might not experience it elsewhere.
Sleeping at the Great Barrier Reef is made possible by ReefSleep, allowing you to float on a pontoon in a soft bed, listening to the marine life – it’s as beautiful as it sounds, or even more!
Most visitors reach the Reefworld pontoon cruising and enjoy snorkeling before sleeping in their comfy beds at night. Enjoy your day spotting turtles, scuba diving, or socializing with other visitors. Most crowds leave after the day tour, and you have the reef until the next morning.
The ReefSuite experience is a more private and exclusive experience that allows you to sleep in an underwater room and enjoy your slumber around the fish swimming around you. It’s not something you get to experience often.
Indulge in the Local Cuisine
When you go to Airlie Beach, taking a bite of the local cuisine should be on your list. The beach restaurants offer an impressive variety of local food, including seafood options to indulge in the deliciousness.
Some popular restaurants include the Boathouse Fishbar and Whitsunday Seafood Bar to enjoy sealife delicacies. At the same time, Boatys and Sorrento Restaurant & Bar are excellent for a fancier and more relaxed dining experience with live music on the weekends; The Deck Airlie Beach is perfect for a casual lunch.
The meals at Airlie Beach are mostly yummilicious whether you visit any of the restaurants mentioned above or any other.
Explore Other Beaches
Visiting Airlie Beach does not mean you only have a specific area to enjoy your vacation. The nearby beaches around the Whitsunday Islands offer mind-blowing views and an extensive array of fun activities.
Airlie Beach is one of the most popular beaches of the Whitsundays, but you can also visit Boathaven Beach to enjoy the Coral Sea views. Moreover, Cannonvale Beach at the other end of the Bicentennial Walkway is perfect for beachcombing at low tide.
Whitehaven Beach is another well-known and famous tourist spot from Airlie Beach. The beach is known for its white, silky sand along the turquoise water. You can enjoy various activities at Whitehaven Beach, including sailing, cruising, or rafting. You may also take a dip for a more economical day at the beach.
The Bottom Line
The Airlie Beach, located in the heart of the Whitsundays region, is a beautiful tourist location with silky sand and turquoise water. It is known as the “Heart of the Reef,” as the beach is incredibly close to The Great Barrier Reef. Being waterfront, Airlie Beach offers various water sports, including snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, boating, sailing, fishing, and much more. Besides water-based activities, visitors can also enjoy skydiving and a helicopter tour. Also, check the local events and book them before reaching Airlie. There is no shortage of fun activities in Airlie Beach, and you can end your tour with a visit to the local market to pick a souvenir of choice.
How to get to Airlie Beach?
You can reach the Whitsunday Coast Airport at Proserpine, taking a flight from your destination, and a 30-minute drive takes you to Airlie Beach. Use the local taxis or bus service, or book airport transport to reach your hotel from the airport.
How many days do I need in Airlie Beach?
With the surplus activities in Airlie Beach, you need at least 4 to 5 days to explore the region properly. Plan your trip according to your preferred activities and book the tours to make the best of every minute at Airlie Beach.
What month is best for Airlie Beach?
It is best to visit Airlie Beach in September and October as the days are sunny and clear. You might also see the Cedar Creek Waterfalls inflow during this time.
Does it get cold in Airlie Beach?
Airlie Beach has a tropical climate throughout the year and does not get cold during winter. You might experience 24°C – 25°C from June to October during winter.
Diana was an active fitness model in the past. She has had numerous shoots done at different locations and found out that her true interest was in exploring the world! Later on, this passion motivated her to write multiple tarvel blogs about whatever place she visited and discovered, and here it is! Enjoy reading a variety of blogs by Diana to get a lively experience of several places.