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Why Is The Water In Airlie Beach So Blue?

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Thu 27 Apr 2023

A common question that visitors to the Whitsundays have is: "Why is the water in Airlie Beach so blue?". Due to a combination of natural factors including light and water purity, the water in Airlie Beach shines a brilliant, turquoise blue. It's a stunning sight, and you'll notice this captivating blue the second you drive into Airlie Beach. Let's take a closer look at why the water in Airlie Beach and the surrounding Whitsundays region is so brilliantly blue!

British Defender Whitsundays

Why Is The Water In Airlie Beach So Blue?

The water in Airlie Beach is so blue because of the fine sediment that drifts through the sea. This naturally occurring sediment that is scattered throughout the water breaks up the sunlight that hits the water, causing a vibrant cerulean color. The sediment is so fine that you don't notice it when you're swimming or snorkeling. But it scatters the sunlight so that the water around Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays gleams a stunning bright blue!

Also contributing to this amazing blue color is the purity of the water in Airlie Beach. The water around the Whitsundays is very clean and pure, allowing the ocean to appear a vibrant blue. If the water were murky and full of algae, it wouldn't look so stunning. That's why the Proserpine River and other more brackish bodies of water don't appear so blue. But even when you sail around the Whitsunday Islands, that stunning blue color never fades!

Whitsundays water

The Famous Whitehaven Beach

One of the prime examples of the Whitsundays' beautiful blue water is Whitehaven Beach. The swirling turquoise tides contrast against the sparkling white silica sand to create a natural view that looks like a painting. You can get the best view of Whitehaven Beach and its mesmerizing natural colors from Hill Inlet Lookout

Amazingly, the fabulous Whitehaven Beach is just a short boat ride away from Airlie Beach! Visit Whitehaven on a day trip from town, or combine a visit to Whitehaven with an epic, multi-day Whitsundays sailing adventure. For an even more magnificent view of the turquoise sea around Airlie Beach, book a scenic flight and admire the scenery from the air!

Whitehaven Beach

Is It Safe To Swim In The Ocean In Airlie Beach?

The brilliant blue ocean around Airlie Beach is safe to swim in, but you do have to be aware of the season. Every year, October to May is considered stinger season in Airlie Beach. Marine stingers are more common at this time of year, so you can swim in the ocean in Airlie Beach but you should wear a stinger suit.

Some beaches around the area, including Boathaven Beach, will have stinger nets in place to lessen the risk of getting stung by a jellyfish. But if you're out snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef or swimming at Whitehaven Beach, you should wear a stinger suit made of lycra to keep your skin safe from stingers! But as long as you wear a stinger suit, or keep to the netted beach areas, it is perfectly safe to swim in the ocean around Airlie Beach!

stinger suit

Why Do People Visit Airlie Beach?

If you haven't already guessed, people visit Airlie Beach to explore the dazzling Whitsunday Islands! Sailing through the Whitsundays is a real bucket-list experience for many travelers. Airlie Beach is the perfect place to base yourself for a sailing trip around the islands. Whether you want to charter a boat with your family and friends, or hop on a sailing tour geared towards couples, families, or backpackers, getting out on the water in the Whitsundays is the main draw in Airlie Beach. 

You can also book excursions to the Great Barrier Reef from Airlie Beach and go snorkeling or scuba diving! Trips to Hamilton Island, scenic flights, jet ski adventures, and fishing trips are also some reasons why travelers may visit Airlie Beach. No matter what you do, make sure you spend plenty of time admiring or swimming in that beautiful blue ocean!


The Best Things To Do In Airlie Beach

In the town of Airlie Beach itself, there are some fun ways to pass the time while you're not on a tour. Have a beach day at Boathaven Beach and go for a dip in the turquoise water. Or visit the Airlie Beach markets every Saturday morning, or explore inland and visit sights like Cedar Creek Falls! Airlie Beach also has great nightlife, nice cafes and restaurants, and some cute shops. 

No matter when you visit Airlie Beach, and no matter what your plans are, you'll be blown away by the colorful tropical scenery of the area. The turquoise Coral Sea surrounded by lush green rainforests and mountains is a stunning sight to see!

Paddleboard Airlie Beach

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