Airlie Beach is the jumping off point for the enchanting Whitsunday Islands, but the lively little tourist town is a genuine destination in itself. A word of warning... one of the Cairns Unlimited team (who shall remain nameless) got 'lost' in Airlie Beach some years ago. He arrived on a Saturday, and left on a Saturday, and has never been able to figure out whether he spent two weeks there... or three!

Airlie Beach Lagoon, the gate to the Whitsundays, in Tropical North Queensland.With the Conway National Park and Conway State Forest as a backdrop and the spectacular Whitsunday Islands at its front door, it's no wonder Airlie Beach is so popular. It's a major destination for backpackers following the east coast trail, as well as for yachtsmen sailing the tranquil waters of the Great Barrier Reef. It's an attractive little town - only a few blocks long - with pleasant parkland and two beautiful marinas. The town has been thoughtfully developed with tasteful low rise resorts that blend in with the surrounds rather than dominate them.

The beach itself is small, but the local council has compensated for that with the construction of a 4,300 square metre lagoon, holding 4.5 million litres of salt water. That's about the size of about six full-size Olympic swimming pools, set in four hectares of shady botanic gardens, with a children's pool, barbecues, picnic shelters, toilets, showers, and parking. Supervision is undertaken by lifeguards from the Royal Life Saving Society of Queensland, who are in attendance from 7:00am to 9:00pm, seven days per week. Dedicated security staff patrol the site from 9:00pm to 5:00am, seven days per week. The lagoon provides a 'stinger free' swimming environment all year round.

Airlie Beach is colourful and cosmopolitan, yet maintains a relaxed and inviting village atmosphere. Life revolves around the beach, lagoon and marina by day, and the restaurants, bars and clubs by night. You wouldn't imagine it but Shute Harbour - 11 kilometres down the road - is one of Queensland's busiest ports, filled with yachts, cruisers, water taxis, ferries, and fishermen. On the other side of town, the Coral Sea Marina is capable of hosting over 200 vessels, from small leisure craft to 40 metre super yachts.

1,100 kilometres north of Brisbane and 640 kilometres south of Cairns, Airlie Beach is truly an adventure destination, with superb diving, snorkelling and sailing right on the doorstep, in the pristine Whitsunday Islands. Visitors can take scenic flights, skydive, jet skiing, parasailing, jet boating, kite surfing, ocean rafting, waterskiing, tube riding, surf kayaking... or even enjoy the thrills of 'looping-the-loop' in a vintage aerobatic bi-plane.

... and at the end of the day, the nightlife in Airlie Beach provides something for everyone, from typical Aussie pubs to sports bars, rowdy backpackers bars and nightclubs.

Every Saturday the foreshore parkland turns into a bustling market with stalls selling fresh fruit and veges, local arts and crafts and all manner of goods under the shade of coconut palms, with views across Pioneer Bay and the Whitsunday Passage.


Airlie Beach is one of the most popular destinations in Tropical North Queensland, and has a great supply of accommodation. Holiday accommodation in Airlie Beach varies from luxury resorts and self contained apartment complexes to affordable motels and home style bed and breakfast accommodation, not to mention a selection of caravan parks and campgrounds, with some offering self contained villas, and modern ensuite cabins. Airlie Beach has long been a favourite destination among backpackers as well, and there are no less than half a dozen backpackers hostels to choose from. If it's family friendly accommodation you're looking for, or budget accommodation while you enjoy the Whitsundays, Airlie Beach has something for everyone. Please visit our AIRLIE BEACH ACCOMMODATION page.


Shingley Drive, Coral Sea Marina, Airlie Beach
Phone (07) 4946 6848

The Whitsundays... three days in one!

Multi award winning Ocean Rafting visits the 'Wild Side' of the Whitsunday Islands, the uninhabited islands with beautiful natural scenery brimming with marine, bird and animal life. There are two exciting tour options, the Northern Exposure and Southern Lights. Each Ocean Rafting day offers three days in one, including an exhilarating ride to Whitehaven Beach, pristine snorkelling reefs and guided Whitsunday Island National Parks walks.

Ocean Rafting is the only tour to have direct access to the stunning and iconic Hill Inlet beach, and special snorkel sites at Hook Island and Border Island ensure a memorable underwater experience. The semi rigid inflatable vessels are super fast allowing guests to experience a fun ride, adventure and education amongst the natural beauty of the Whitsundays. 32 passengers at most allows for personal snorkelling lessons and the pleasure of a small group. Ocean Rafting is proud to be Advanced Ecotourism Certified.
1/384 Shute Harbour Road, Airlie Beach
Phone 1300 475 247

The jewel of the Great Barrier Reef!

GSL Aviation is proud to offer a range of great value scenic flights, island transfers and air charter from our base at Airlie Beach in the beautiful Whitsundays.

See it all with our Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef scenic flight tours giving you an excellent overview of the most popular Whitsunday Islands and the famous Heart Reef & Whitehaven Beach. With expert commentary you will appreciate the layout and beauty of this amazing area, all whilst soaring above these breathtaking sights! Ask us about our 'Fly and Cruise' packages too and enjoy the Reef from above and below the water!

Sights include: Shute Harbour, Hamilton Island, Hill Inlet, Whitehaven Beach, Hayman Island, Hook Island, Daydream Island, Bait Reef, Heart Reef and Hook Reef.
Whitsunday Airport, Airlie Beach
Phone (07) 4946 9111
website link coming soon

Find a Whitsunday Tour by Destination!

Air Whitsunday Seaplanes has been proudly providing seaplane tour services to the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands since 1973 with some of the most breathtaking and memorable experiences provided by Mother Nature.

Over four decades operating history, Air Whitsunday has grown and evolved into an iconic business that concerns itself with providing excellence and a memorable luxury experience to all our guests.

Choose from a range of scenic flights over the Whitsunday Islands.


402 Shute Harbour Road, Airlie Beach
Phone: (07) 4940 2000 / Fax: (07) 4948 2352
With a fleet of 13 vessels, Oz Adventure Sailing offers you the opportunity to explore both above and below the protected tropical waters of the beautiful Whitsunday Islands, whether you are looking for the ease of a by the cabin charter on a racing yacht, cruising yacht, tallship or a luxury yacht.

Coral Sea Marina, Airlie Beach
Phone (07) 4946 4999
Catering for the backpackers market, Southern Cross Sailing Adventures provides sailing holidays exploring beautiful locations such as Whitehaven Beach, Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Island, Mantaray Bay and Nara Inlet at Hook Island. There is time to snorkel and swim on the island coral fringing reefs.

24 The Cove Road, Port of Airlie
Phone (07) 4946 4662 / Fax (07) 4946 4382
On this full day adventure, you'll enjoy swimming, snorkelling, beautiful beaches and bays, an all you can eat BBQ lunch.

24 The Cove Road, Port of Airlie
Phone (07) 4846 7000
Cruise Whitsundays provide transfers to/from Hamilton Island Airport and Whitsunday Coast Airport (Proserpine) to Daydream Island Resort and Spa, Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island. The service provides a seamless, hassle free and fast connection for arriving and departing guests with modern and well-appointed vessels.

Shop 1, 4 The Esplanade, Airlie Beach
Phone (07) 4946 4999
ProSail offers you the opportunity of sailing the Whitsunday's aboard one of their crewed eco acredited maxi sailing yachts. Or explore both above and below the tropical waters of the Whitsunday Islands aboard a crewed luxury vessel or a chartered sailboat.

Coral Sea Marina, Airlie Beach
Phone (07) 4946 7400 / Fax (07) 4946 7698
Join multi-award winning Whitsunday bareboat charter company, Queensland Yacht Charters, for your next boating adventure. There is a large range to cater to all tastes and budgets.

6 Bay Terrace, Shute Harbour
Phone (07) 4946 9232 / Fax (07) 4946 9512
Enjoy your Whitsundays adventure with the range of activities a bareboat charter provides access to - swimming, snorkelling, sailing, diving, beachcombing or fishing.


Conway National Park, located between Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour, covers an area of 22,500 hectares, including the largest area of lowland tropical rainforest in Queensland. The vegetation found in Conway National Park is very similar to that found in the Whitsunday Islands. The park is home to some very good walking, picnic spots, fishing and wildlife viewing. Conway National Park is of high biological significance. Twenty-three species of animals who inhabit this park are significant nationally and internationally, six species are rare or threatened and three are known only from this area. Camping is permitted in the area.

Offering unique attractions to keen naturalists, Conway State Forest provides a constant refuge for up to 20 rainforest plant species that can only be found in the Whitsunday region. There are four campgrounds in Conway State Forest where camping is permitted but they are only accessible on foot. Remember to obtain a camping permit before. Fees apply.

For more information about these National Parks and others around Tropical North Queensland, please visit our NATIONAL PARKS page.


Airlie Beach is a fantastic destination in Tropical North Queensland. Visitors can enjoy different tours and activities, including sailing and snorkelling.A Whitsundays sailing trip is virtually mandatory on everyone's itinerary, including backpackers, not least because it's a beautiful and extremely affordable activity. Dozens of companies operate out of Airlie Beach. Day trips generally visit a couple of islands and Whitehaven Beach (on Whitsunday Island) and include lunch and snorkelling. Options range from fast rafts and island-hoppers to a leisurely sail on a ketch or catamaran. For a comprehensive list of all the cruises available in the region, have a look at our CRUISING TOURS page.

Scuba diving or snorkelling is another of the activities anybody spending their holidays in Airlie Beach is compelled to do. The number of diving companies is increasing every day, you only have to decide which one offers what you are looking for and GO AHEAD!!! Find more about snorkeling and scuba diving trips on our SCUBA DIVING AND SNORKELLING TRIPS page.

Also, there are a number of operators that offer whale watching tours between July and September. It is during these months when the whales give birth and, although their food supply (krill) is in Antartica, they come to these warm waters so the babies can survive. Seeing these whales is an unforgettable experience. The larger adults can be up to fifteen metres long, can weight around 45 tonnes, with pectoral fins of ten metres. Can you imagine what it would be like finding yourself surrounded by this gigantic mammals? Despite their massive size, Humpback whales tend to be very gentle and very curious about humans, so it is not unusual for them to approach the vessel and spend some time playing around.... 'showing off', in other words!

And the ultimate way to discover the beautiful area around Airlie Beach and the magnificent Whitsunday Islands is by renting your own boat or yacht and skippering it yourself. Have a look at our BOAT HIRE page to see all the boats available in Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands.

1/265 Shute Harbour Rd, Airlie Beach
Phone 1300 663 634
Make sure you get the best views by jumping directly over the fantastic Whitsunday Islands. The ultimate adrenalin rush with the ultimate view, just ask anyone that has ever skydived and they will tell you it is the best thing they have EVER done, there are no words to describe it, just do it!

Coral Sea Marina, Airlie Beach
Phone 0459 538 754
Whitsunday Jetski Tours offers exciting adventure tours in the Whitsundays and is the first and only guided jetski tour operating from Coral Sea Marina, Airlie Beach to the Whitsunday Islands. Guests can ride the latest model Sea-Doo jetski into the beautiful world heritage Whitsunday Island Marine Park.


Airlie Beach is a haven for those looking to have a good time. Apart from all the tours and attractions available, the events that take place in the town are many.

You will be delighted by the delicacies chefs from the restaurants of Airlie Beach will prepare for you. From gourmet delights to an extensive range of Australina wines, chefs from the finest restaurants in the area are here to make sure that you experience the incredible food the different regions have to offer as well as try, and purchase, the best wines of all the Australians regions.

Formerly known as Hog's Breath Race Week, the Airlie Beach Race Week is an annual yacht racing regatta in which Yachts from all over Australia and overseas compete for seven days on Pioneer Bay in the Whitsunday Islands. The regatta draws approximately 150 yachts and has grown to being the largest annual sailing event on the Queensland coastline.

Showcasing the Marine Industry, the Oceanic Boat and Leisure Show offers visitors a wide variety of exhibits, including power boats, luxury yachts and trialable tinnies. Anyone interested will have the opportunity to visit the 50 metre Hoecker, where exhibitors will be showing everything from refrigeration and luxury holidays to marine electronics.

Everybody will have fun as entertainment will be provided during the weekend. Make your way to Airlie Beach for the show and learn how to catch a barramundi, enjoy a delicious and tasty barbecue, join in any of the competition and much more.

A weekend full of fun combining sailing and running with the beautiful Whitsundays in the background. The Tropical Peaks Race involves four runs and four sailing legs: Airlie Beach, Long Island, Hamilton Island and South Molle Island. If you are a runner you are not required to sail and viceversa, but it is mandatory that running is done in pairs.

With more than 200 yachts of all kinds competing, the Whitsundays Fun Races is now a major event on the social calendar. Airlie Beach welcomes many overseas visitors every year who come to the town not only for the race but also for the many other activities that will take place during the weekend.