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Is Airlie Beach A Good Place To Retire?

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Talia Jones
Updated Mon 13 Nov 2023

An older couple laughing together on a boat

If you’re coming close to retirement and wondering where in Australia you’d like to slow down and enjoy the finer things in life, then Airlie Beach in North Queensland's Whitsundays is a perfect place to retire. With year-round blue skies, warm weather, ocean views, plenty to do, and a strong sense of community, retiring in Airlie Beach is a no-brainer! 

The biggest perk of retiring in Airlie Beach is that the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands are right on your doorstep. You'd have the luxury of enjoying these natural wonders whenever you please!

Here are the reasons why Airlie Beach is a good place to retire.

The Whitsundays weather is wonderful year-round


A man in a hat holding a platter of fruit with blue water behind him

Airlie Beach is a never-ending summer. Year-round, the temperature stays relatively warm. The typical temperature during the middle of winter sits around 20 degrees Celsius, meaning you can get away with wearing summer clothing all year. Although summer does reach 30 and above, you can always find ways to cool off whether it’s by taking a dip in the local lagoon or heading out on the water and cooling down in that sea breeze. With summer temperatures lasting all year, you do truly feel like you’re on a permanent holiday which is what retirement should be, right?!

Sense of Community

Market stalls lined up along the beach

Although the town is bustling with tourists each day, the actual population of Airlie Beach is lower than you would think. The influx of travellers does make the town feel bigger, but the residential population is around 4,000 people. Which means that you do feel a strong sense of community once you settle in and become a local. You’ll get to know the local barristers, the bartenders, the shopkeepers, and it won’t take long before you’re recognising faces in the supermarket. 

Airlie Beach has everything you need

The inside of a shopping mall

Airlie Beach is a small town but it does have everything you need. From hair salons to furniture stores to car mechanics, you can pretty much find anything you need without having to travel far. There are three large chain supermarkets, a small independent grocer, plenty of clothing stores, beauty salons, weekly markets, electronic stores, and more. If you want a clearer overview of the shops in Airlie, check out our shopping centres article. Airlie Beach also has a small airport, and it isn’t far from the Whitsunday Coast Airport in Proserpine which is ideal if you're wanting to visit family, or have them visit you!

Great Food Scene 

The front of a pub

Besides the islands and the reef, Airlie Beach is renowned for its restaurants, bars and cafes. From fine dining to casual eateries, you can find all types of cuisine in the town. Airlie’s main street is riddled with restaurants including classic Aussie pubs, tapas-style cuisines, Indian, Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese and more. There are even food trucks and pizza joints if you’re chasing a quick and easy food fix! If you’re wanting a lovely sit down meal, Paradiso, Fish D’Vine, La Tabella, Mika’s or Anchor Bar are great venues with equally great views to enjoy while you dine. During the day there are plenty of divine cafes to visit; Fat Frog, Boho, Treehouse, Sidewalk and Garuma are a few to name! 15 minutes out of Airlie Beach is a beach bar and grill called Northerlies which is a dreamy location to visit for sunset drinks and dinner. The venue is situated on the water and feels as though you’re at a tropical resort in paradise!

Exciting Day Trip Opportunities

A golf buggy driving next to a grass field on an island

With endless day tours out to the islands and reefs, you'll never go bored! You could visit Hamilton Island as ferries depart and return throughout the day to and from the Port of Airlie. Hire a buggy on the island and visit the lookouts, marina, beach, resorts and swimming pools. Or if you're feeling young at heart, you could even board a scenic flight and see the islands and Great Barrier Reef from above.

There are also nearby towns to check out if you’re looking for a day out. You could visit the museum in Proserpine, dip in the beach at Horseshoe Bay in Bowen, catch a film in Mackay, wake up early and see the kangaroos at sunrise at Cape Hillsborough, or spend a day in the mountains in Eungella National Park. If you’re craving a beach day, you could visit Dingo Beach and Hydeaway Bay which each have beachside pubs and restaurants too.

Whitsunday Clubs to join 

A group of people in matching blue floral shirts with their hands in the air
Photo: Airlie Beach Ambassadors

Retiring from your job might leave you wondering how you will spend your newfound free time. But like any Australian town, there are plenty of clubs around Airlie Beach worth joining. If you’re looking for ways to stay active then joining the Bowls Club, Golf Club, or Yacht Club might be perfect for you. Otherwise if you’d like to pick up slower paced hobbies, joining the Airlie Beach Ambassadors Club, Bridge Club, Lions Club, Car Club, Rotary or Men’s Shed might be better suited for you. Regardless of what club you’re after, they are all right around the corner!

Boat tours that are senior friendly 

Four arms holding drinks up against clear blue water

You’d be silly to move to Airlie Beach and not experience what the town is famous for - the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef! Thankfully, there are plenty of boat tours suitable for seniors that run weekly where you can sail through the turquoise blue waters, island hop and visit secluded bays and beaches. There are sunset sails where you can sip champagne as you take in the views, comfortable overnight trips, luxurious day trips, adventurous and authentic sailing experiences, and steady boats for those requiring wheelchair access. Spend your time snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, relaxing on the world famous Whitehaven Beach and visiting Hill Inlet Lookout.

Don’t ever let growing older stop you from living your best life! Retirement is the prime time to move to the Whitsundays and wind down in the never-ending sunshine!

For more information on retiring in Airlie Beach don't hesitate to contact our friendly local travel experts by calling +61 74914 2425 or via our live chat today!

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