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Can You Drink The Tap Water in Airlie Beach?

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Alison Condon
Updated Tue 28 May 2024

A person holding a water bottle by the sea.

Yes, the tap water in Airlie Beach is completely safe to drink! Similarly, it is totally safe to drink the tap water in the Whitsunday Islands like Hamilton or Daydream Island.

Unlike the sea that surrounds Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays, which can only be swam in at certain times of year, the tap water can be used year-round, no matter the season!

Like anywhere else in Australia, the tap water in Airlie Beach is considered completely safe to drink. So, when you’re cooling off after your snorkel tour or your Whitehaven Beach day, you can rest assured that the local water is just as safe as it is hydrating!

This news tends to be a particular relief to backpackers who are travelling through Australia after visiting countries like Indonesia, Peru, or Thailand, where tourists are strongly advised to avoid drinking or using the tap water and risking an upset stomach.

Issues with the drinking water in the Whitsundays and wider Australia are extremely rare. That being said, it’s always wise to keep your eyes and ears peeled for any temporary Boiled Water Alerts when travelling - particularly after flooding or a cyclone.

How clean is Australia’s drinking water?

Australia often ranks high among other countries for the quality and taste of its tap water. That’s thanks to the country’s meticulous water treatment guidelines and rigorous testing.

The NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) set Australia’s drinking water standards, which include some particularly stringent health and safety requirements compared to other countries.

A drinking fountain in Eurong Resort, K'gari

Where does Airlie Beach tap water come from?

The main source of Airlie Beach’s tap water is the nearby Proserpine River. The water, which is harnessed through the Peter Faust Dam, goes through intense and thorough treatment at the Whitsunday Regional Council’s water treatment plant to effectively remove all impurities, pathogens, and contaminants. 

When it has gone through all testing and quality control, the clean water makes its way to the taps of Airlie Beach, keeping locals and tourists hydrated and healthy!

A woman posing in front of a sign for Airlie Beach

Where does tap water on the Whitsunday Islands come from?

Meanwhile, on surrounding islands like Daydream Island, Hamilton Island, or Hayman Island, the tap water is held to just as high a standard - though it is sourced in different ways depending on each island’s infrastructure.

In bigger islands like Hamilton, there are desalination plants that convert seawater into clean, safe drinking water that meets NHMRC standards. Alternatively, they can secure drinking water from the mainland, which goes through treatment before it’s distributed to islanders.

Meanwhile, smaller islands harvest rainwater which they then treat to remove all contaminants and match the country’s safe water requirements.

A couple walking along the beach on Hamilton Island

Check out our thorough Visitors Information guide for everything you need to know before visiting Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays!

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