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Why Don't People Swim At Airlie Beach?

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Wed 01 Feb 2023

Contrary to popular belief, there are lots of great places to swim in Airlie Beach. But people avoid swimming in the ocean at Airlie Beach during stinger season for good reason. This article will unpack the topic of swimming at Airlie Beach, including where you can and can’t swim! Don’t worry there are plenty of ways to cool off when visiting Australia’s Gateway to the Whitsundays!

Airlie Beach aerial view

Why don't people swim at Airlie Beach?

First things first, let’s address the fact that many believe you can’t swim at Airlie Beach. People don’t swim at Airlie Beach because of marine stingers in the ocean during stinger season. Every year, from October to May, the oceans around Tropical North Queensland become populated with marine stingers, or jellyfish. Their stings can cause serious injury, so it’s smart to avoid swimming unprotected in the oceans off Airlie Beach. 

Airlie Beach Lagoon

Can You Swim Off Airlie Beach?

However, you can swim in Airlie Beach in designated areas! If you’re looking for salt water, you can swim at Boathaven Beach. This beautiful stretch of soft white sand is located near the Port of Airlie Marina. With calm, turquoise water and a large, square net that blocks most marine stingers from entering, you can safety splash around without a high risk of stingers. There are other beaches outside town that have stinger nets as well, such as Cannonvale Beach and Dingo Beach. 

But even in the nets at Boathaven Beach, it is recommended to wear a stinger suit for extra protection during stinger season. And if you’re venturing off the mainland to explore the Whitsundays or snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef, your local tour companies will provide stinger suits to keep your skin protected. In the winter months outside stinger season, it is safe to swim without a stinger suit in Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays! 

selfie at pool

Other Places To Swim In Airlie Beach

If you’re visiting Airlie Beach during stinger season, fear not! There are a few safe places to swim in the area where you don’t need to worry about marine stingers. First is the man-made Airlie Beach Lagoon. This gorgeous and spacious public swimming pool sits right in the town center and has grassy areas for picnicking or sunbathing. 

Many hotels and apartments in Airlie Beach also have their own swimming pools! So depending on where you’re staying in Airlie Beach, you can just go for a dip right in your backyard. If you’re visiting the area during the hot summer months, it’s worth booking accommodation with a pool so you can stay cool! You can also take a day trip outside the town center to Cedar Creek Falls, a beautiful and serene waterfall with a calm swimming hole. 

Cedar Creek Falls

Are There Crocodiles At Airlie Beach?

People often ask if there are crocodiles at Airlie Beach in addition to jellyfish. There are crocodiles in this area of Queensland, but they prefer to hang out in muddy creeks and rivers near Prosperine. You won’t find any crocodiles wandering over to the sandy shores of Airlie Beach. The only time this occurs is during extreme weather conditions when wildlife becomes accidentally displaced. 

So don’t worry about crocodiles stopping you from swimming at Boathaven Beach or in the Whitsunday Islands! You can see crocodiles in their natural habitat at a wildlife farm or on a river cruise, but you most likely won’t see them in the ocean or near the Great Barrier Reef

girls snorkeling

Swimming in Airlie Beach

So enjoy your visit to Airlie Beach and stay safe by swimming in designated areas! During stinger season, it is important to stick to freshwater swimming holes, man-made pools, or beaches with stinger nets. This will keep you safe from the potential jellyfish sting! And always wear a stinger suit for extra protection!

But you definitely can swim in Airlie Beach! From Cedar Creek Falls, to the Airlie Beach Lagoon, to Boathaven Beach or your hotel pool, there are plenty of places to escape the Queensland heat. And you can always visit offshore destinations like Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island, or the Great Barrier Reef year-round. Just wear stinger suits in the ocean during summer and you’ll be good to go!

girl standing near waterfall

If you have any other questions about visiting Airlie Beach, chat to our travel experts online or call us at +61 7 4914 2425!

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