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Is it Worth Staying in Airlie Beach?

Updated Tue 24 May 2022

A couple standing at a lookout overlooking islands

Airlie Beach is a vibrant, popular tourist destination located in North Queensland's Whitsunday region with an endless array of activities to do. Surrounded by tropical islands, turquoise waters, great restaurants, and a buzzing nightlife, Airlie is definitely worth the visit. Not to mention, the Great Barrier Reef (one of the best coral reefs in the entire world) is a quick hop away. The endless summer weather is also a reason why tourists from all over the world visit. From staying in backpacker hostels to five-star resorts, Airlie caters towards every budget! What’s not to love?

Here are reasons why it is definitely worth staying in Airlie Beach:

The Great Barrier Reef

People snorkelling and swimming on the Great Barrier Reef in front of a floating pontoon

Considering that The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system AND is one of the Natural Seven Wonders of the World, how could you not want to visit it? The tropical reef is home to an exotic array of marine life, corals and more. From snorkelling with sea turtles to diving with reef sharks, the opportunities are endless. Even if you’re not keen to submerge yourself into the water, there are glass bottom boats or viewing platforms where you can cruise over the reef and admire from above. The reef is only 2-3 hours away from Airlie by boat and lucky for you - we have plenty of awesome reef tours you can choose from. 

Hamilton Island

Blonde girl hanging off a golf buggy in front of a resort and palm trees

Hamilton Island is the ultimate tropical holiday destination and the best part is that it’s less than an hour away from Airlie which means paradise is essentially at your doorstep. Relax on a lounge surrounded by lush palm trees on the beach, hire a golf buggy and cruise around the island, hike up to the lookouts, make use of the swim-up bar, feast at the many restaurants, go snorkelling or hire a mini catamaran or stand up paddle board and explore the reef. Stay for a few nights or just spend the day - check out what option sounds best for you here! It would be rude not to pass up the opportunity to live that island life, right?!

Whitehaven Beach

Girl sitting on a swing in white sand and tropical blue water

Known for its glistening white sand, Whitehaven Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world. This postcard worthy location is only an hour away from Airlie and you can spend half a day or either a whole day out there. Explore the swirling silica sands, swim in the azure waters, or take a hike up to the Hill Inlet lookout and admire the stunning views. Check out which tour suits you best and find out for yourself what makes Whitehaven so popular!

The nightlife scene

Girls standing together in a nightclub Photo: Mama Africa

If you’re into staying out late and getting your party on, then Airlie is most definitely worth it for you. Airlie is known for having a radiant nightlife scene, no matter the day of the week. Mama Africa's Bar and Nightclub is open Thursday through to Sunday nights but if you’re wanting to get your boogie on earlier in the week, Magnums Hotel or The Airlie Beach Hotel are the spots to hit. You can almost always find live music every night of the week too just by wandering down the main street and keeping an ear out.

Nearby waterfalls

Waterfall surrounded by greenery and rocks and water

A 30 minute drive from Airlie is where you can find Cedar Creek Falls. This beautiful hidden gem is a must-see! It’s a safe swimming hole where you can take a picnic and spend the day there with family or friends. The natural freshwater lagoon is surrounded by intriguing rock formations and natural sights. It has amazing views from the top of the fall which is only a quick hike up to. If you want to experience the waterfall in its best state, go there after a massive downpour of heavy rain to admire how spectacular it is.

The restaurants and bars

A hamburger and chips on a table with the ocean in the background

Airlie Beach’s main strip is full of choice and variety when it comes to restaurants and bars. From Italian to ramen, kebabs to pub food, ice-cream parlours to rum bars, the options are limitless. Visit Paradiso on the foreshore to enjoy breakfast with a view, La Tabella to enjoy an Italian long lunch feast, or Fish D’Vine to get a taste of the fresh, locally caught seafood. The restaurants alone will become the reason you’ll want to keep coming back to Airlie.


A lookout with the sun rising behind the mountains

If you’re an active person, the hikes in Airlie are to-die-for! With stunning views of the Whitsunday Islands and beautiful hiking trails, you’ll feel so rewarded by visiting Airlie. Whip out those hiking shoes, pack a backpack full of essential supplies and find a hike that suits you best. Honeyeater, Mount Rooper, and The Great Whitsunday Walk are just a few to name that are spectacular. For more information on hikes around Airlie, check out Hiking around Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays!

If Airlie isn’t already on your Australia Bucket List, it is now! What are you waiting for?

Start your Airlie Beach planning now by calling our friendly team on +61 74914 2425 or chatting online!

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