Airlie Beach Post COVID-19 Lockdown

As state borders reopen and tourism slowly begins to re-bloom, it’s no secret that things have changed since pre-COVID times. With day-to-day life shuffled around, it’s important you travel to Airlie Beach geared with up to date information so you can make the most of your trip. Here is our ultimate guide to Airlie Beach post-COVID-19 lockdown:

Airlie Beach main street

There’s a record low housing vacancy 

Everyone wants a piece of paradise: as COVID-19 in the southern cities surged, people split for regions like the Whitsundays. People are taking up rental properties left, right and centre, with an estimated one percent of Airlie Beach’s rental housing market currently available. While it might be a bit of a sticky situation to find an affordable rental property in a good location, thankfully tourist accommodation is pumping.


The food scene is pumping 

Tantalise those taste buds because Airlie Beach’s restaurant scene is a force to be reckoned with. Generally speaking, most restaurants are doing well and catering to a large influx of travellers and locals alike. The only difference is that, with the loss of the backpacker industry, the market has shifted to fit in with the needs of Australian tourists. Currently, weekends and school holidays are pumping, with Australian families and travellers venturing to the Whitsundays for their weekend or holiday trip. Many restaurants at Airlie Beach are also continuing to offer takeaway options.

Fresh Seafood, Prawns and Fish, Airlie Beach, Sailing

Day boats are busy

Day trips to the reef, Whitsunday Island and other bucket list destinations around the region are busier than ever. With a quieter backpacker market, the main punter has morphed into Australian families and couples. Many day trip boats have switched to a family-focused approach, causing a huge boom in day trips, particularly during the school holidays.

ocean rafting day boat

Small boats are busy

Smaller boats to the outer reef, Whitehaven Beach and other must-see destinations are also pumping in the post COVID-19 era. The small group sailing options are great for those who are after an intimate and authentic experience of sailing the Whitsundays, as the boats usually cater for eight to ten people maximum. It’s the perfect option for couples, families or a tight-knit group of friends, hosting four or five bedrooms. Due to the small numbers required for these trips, the small boats are overwhelmingly busy and don’t seem to be slowing down!

powerplay, airlie beach

Airlie Beach is the perfect place to work from home

Working from home has been embedded into the lives of many thanks to the pandemic, and Airlie Beach is one of the nation’s best spots to do it. The township is so relaxed that it boasts zero traffic lights and a sparse population despite a lively atmosphere. From a breezy esplanade to wide open spaces and some of the best views on offer, it’s no wonder that the working-from-home generation is more than content in Airlie Beach. Tired of working from your sea-view balcony? Airlie Beach is the new Melbourne, with an incredible array of food and drink venues that happily host remote workers. For those who get the opportunity to work flexibly and remotely, why would you choose to live anywhere else?

Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach boasts over 50 delectable dining venues 

Filled to the brim with delicious and fresh food, Airlie Beach still offers over 50 incredible dining spots in the face of the COVID-19 era. As a township that thrives off tourism, it boasts world-class dining, restaurants and bars that serve everything from Vietnamese to Italian and even Latin fare. As it’s perched on the Great Barrier Reef, the cuisine is rooted largely around fresh and incredible seafood. Amongst those worth mentioning is Fish D’Vine, SideWalk Cafe, Sorrento Restaurant & Bar, Whitsunday Sailing Club and Mika Live BBQ & Bar.

food at hamilton island

A lively and low-key night scene perfect for families and couples 

While the night scene at Airlie Beach couldn’t give the cities a run for its money, there’s something to be said about the humble and quaint evening fare of the Whitsundays - even during a pandemic! As restrictions eased, more and more of Airlie’s favourite local haunts began opening back up to the public, and now, they’re pumping like never before on the weekends and school holidays. While the beloved clubs are still restricted from pulling out their best moves as Queenslanders are still kept from the dance floor, the groove remains and the booze keeps flowing! Some of the best places in town for a cocktail or a beer on tap are Paddy's Shenanigans, Mama Africa, the famous Fish D’Vines Rum Bar (renowned for making the best mojito outside of Cuba), Boatys and The Shed Bar.

family at bar

Employment is booming compared to other parts of the country 

As COVID-19 restrictions eased in Queensland, a slew of home-building grants appeared on the cards. Months later, it has enabled builders and tradespeople in the Airlie Beach region to remain employed and stay busy building homes and other buildings for those taking advantage of supplements and early superannuation withdrawals. 

Jobs in the tourism and hospitality industry are also largely on offer in Airlie Beach, thanks to the tourism industry’s bounce back in the middle of the year.

Airlie Beach is a great spot for builders

There’s plenty to do on the weekend 

One of the major draw cards for Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays region is the incredible array of activities to do and nature to explore. The best part is that these activities haven’t been dampened by COVID-19 or its restrictions, so the region remains your oyster. Whether you’re interested in exploring the sea or the land, Airlie Beach and surroundings have you covered! 

If you’re into exploring the deep blue, consider taking one of the amazing day boat trips on offer. With incredible activities like snorkelling, scuba diving and SUP boarding to be enjoyed, there’s a day trip to suit every want and need. From a fun day out taste-testing all that snorkelling has to offer across Whitsunday Island on Whitsunday Bullet, to a wallet-friendly experience on Ocean Rafting, there’s so much on offer for couples, friends and families. Feeling more adventurous? Check out Atlantic Clipper, renowned for its fun and alternative sea adventures that include a slippery slide into the ocean and SUP boarding.

There’s also a bunch of great fishing tours to enjoy, including WFC: Full Day Fishing. Use quality fishing gear amongst experts who will take you to the best spots to catch Coral Trout, Giant Trevally and more. You can even get your catch cooked for under $10!

If you want more from the islands, team up with Scampers and head to the islands for a night (or two, or three, or more) of no-frills camping in some of Australia’s finest camp sites. The 10 metre aluminium barge transports up to 34 happy campers across the sea to the South Molle Island Group, Cid Harbour, Whitsunday Island East and North or Hook Island. They also offer camping kits, snorkelling gear and kayak hire. 

Back on the mainland, there’s plenty more to explore. Go four-wheel driving at Cathu State Forest, where you can spot over 100 species of birds and enjoy a lovely BBQ amongst the trees. 

For those who feel like a fish out of water, there’s also an amazing array of swimming spots in Airlie Beach and the surrounding areas. For a cozy swim on shore, head to the Airlie Beach lagoon. If you’re ready to dip your toes into nature, head to Whitehaven Beach and enjoy all of the beauty it has to offer! 

kayak on whitsunday island

Airlie Beach is the ultimate COVID-19 safe destination 

All in all, Airlie Beach is one of the luckiest spots in the world in the face of the pandemic. With wide open spaces, fresh air, green grass and the looming ocean, there’s simply no better place to be. Dining and drinking venues are also set up perfectly to cater to social distancing, with open-air bars like Magnums and Northerlies offering the perfect spot to have a COVID-19 friendly drink or bite to eat.

Airlie Beach is COVID-19 safe

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