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Cheap Things to do in Airlie Beach for Backpackers

Updated Fri 29 Apr 2022

Backpackers in Airlie Beach

If you've recently arrived in Airlie Beach and you're on that backpacker budget, I'm sure you'll be hunting down the cheapest ways to enjoy your time here. Lucky for you, we have figured out the best things you can do at the lowest costs so you can enjoy your time in Airlie without worrying about draining that bank account. 

Day trip to an island

Whitehaven Beach

Depending on how money conscious you’re trying to be, you can choose either a day trip to Hamilton Island or Whitehaven Beach. If you’re taking the cheapest route, from $99 you can zip out to the famous Whitehaven Beach for a day of sunbathing, snorkelling, playing volleyball and sightseeing. From $121 you can get over to Hamilton Island, make use of the resort pool, go for bush walks, visit the many restaurants and shops, and relax on the beach. Each trip will have you experiencing the breathtaking views of the Whitsundays as you cruise over to your destination. 

Feast on fresh Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips in Airlie Beach

Craving salty hot chips and a piece of locally caught fish? The Whitsunday Seafood Bar is the perfect place to give in to those cravings. For $13 you can get a piece of mackerel with chips or splurge a little extra and order wild barramundi and chips for only $16.50! Eat your food while it’s still hot down by Airlie’s foreshore or beach. Bring along a picnic rug, something to drink, company if you wish and enjoy watching the world go by as you devour your deliciously cheap dinner.

Have a BBQ and watch the sunset

Sunset in the Whitsundays

Pop over to the Woolworths behind McDonald’s on Airlie’s main street, buy yourself some sausages, salads and bread for under $15 and go secure yourself a BBQ on Airlie’s foreshore. Cook up a storm and settle in to watch the Whitsundays display a gorgeous array of colours as the sun sets. 

Read a book by the lagoon

Airlie Beach lagoon

Located next to Cold Rock, just off Airlie’s main street is a small boutique bookstore. There, you can score a second-hand book for between $2 and $5. The store is conveniently located across from the Airlie Beach Lagoon where you can curl up under a palm tree and have a morning or afternoon of maximum relaxation. If you don't have a towel or chair to relax in, pop over to the Travel Shop and ask for a $5 deck chair!

Buy an ice cream and wander down the boulevard 

Whitsunday ice creamery

Whether you want to cool off after an afternoon by the lagoon, or you’re craving that after dinner sweet-treat, Airlie has a few ice-creameries that’ll hit the spot. Take your pick of Cold Rock, New Zealand Natural, or Whitsundae, the gelato bar, to satisfy that sweet tooth. If it's an after dinner treat, wander through Airlie’s lively boulevard after dinner with your $5 cone, take in the fairy lights along the foreshore and see the streets come to life. Definitely worth the ice-cream headache!

Visit Ballistic Beer brewery 

Brewery in Airlie Beach
Image sourced: Ballistic Whitsundays

If you’re keen to try quirky, unique flavours of craft beers, the Ballistic Beer Brewery is for you. The brewhouse is a five minute drive away from Airlie and is open most afternoons. The flavours of craft beer include crisp lagers, earthy IPA’s, chocolate stouts, and tropical pale ale’s. This place is ideal if you're seeking somewhere to socialise, get a little rowdy or unwind in a convivial environment.

Go for a sunset sail

Sunset sail in the Whitsundays

From $65 you can climb aboard a yacht and romantically sail off into the sunset on one of our Sunset Cruises. Take your backpacker friends or just yourself and mingle with like-minded strangers as you watch the sky fill with majestic colours as the sun fades behind the islands. Complimentary nibbles and bubbles are included so you can kick back, relax and take in the beauty of the Whitsundays offshore. 

Visit the Coffee Plantation

Coffee Plantation in Airlie BeachImage sourced: Whitsunday Gold Coffee

If you’re like us and love a coffee (or ten) a day, then we have exciting news for you! The Whitsundays have their very own coffee plantation, Whitsunday Gold. In fact, it is one of the largest coffee plantations in Australia. Located on the Proserpine River and nestled into the luscious valley is where you can enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee. You can also grab lunch as they have an affordable, delicious menu you can indulge in.

Spend a day at the Coral Sea Resort

Whitsundays Coral Sea Resort

If you want to ditch the backpack and live that 5-star life for a day, The Rocks Pool Club at the Coral Sea Resort is exactly where you can go. For an entry fee of only $25 you can spend the day making use of the club’s facilities. Take in the views, dip and relax by the pool, and while you’re at it - why not treat yourself to a cocktail or two as they are known to be deliciously refreshing!

Get your thrill on a Jetski tour 

Jetski tour in Airlie Beach

If you’re keen on a hit of adrenaline, splurge just a little, and hire a Jetski for only $125 and partake in a guided tour around the islands. Get ‘insta’ worthy photos on your Jetski with that beautiful island backdrop that will make your friends back home super envious! Experience the turquoise waters and exotic marine life up close in this 60-minute guided tour.

If you're wanting to find out more cheap things to do in Airlie Beach, we can help!

Just ask us how by live chatting to our local experts or call +61 7 4914 2425 today!

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