There are many things to do in Airlie Beach, it is the gateway to the Whitsundays after all. But before you launch yourself into experiencing the amazing Whitsunday Islands, don’t miss giving Airlie some time.
Of course, there are numerous tour operators in Airlie with something to suit those looking for an adrenaline rush or those looking for a slower pace. We suggest you check out our Eat, Play and Stay post on Airlie to learn more about tours and things you can pay to do in Airlie Beach.
A feature of the Port of Airlie Marina, Boathaven Beach is on the peninsula known as The Beacons.
The man-made beach was designed using 60,000 cubic metres of soft white sand creating the perfect spot to swim and sunbathe while enjoying views out to the Coral Sea and Whitsunday Islands. The beach remains sandy in all tides, offering perfect year 'round swimming conditions. It also has a grassed parkland area - ideal for picnicking.
Airlie Beach’s Eco Barge is an environmental non-for-profit which was established to protect the aquatic environment of the Whitsundays Region. Among other initiatives, these eco worriers organise groups of volunteers to go out to known beaches which catch marine debris from the trade winds. To date, this program has removed over 179,000 kilograms of marine debris from the Whitsunday region.
You can join one of the clean-up groups, to not only get a free boat ride around the Islands but to also meet likeminded people and to feel good about doing your bit.
The falls are best seen during the summer wet season when they’re flowing, however, you can still swim at the base year-round.Enveloped by a natural amphitheatre and surrounding with diverse rainforest you might spot interesting birds and the odd tortoise poke its head up. There are several bushwalking tracks up and around the falls, so you can find a secluded spot and enjoy a relaxing afternoon. Indulge at the Saturday Community Market
Every Saturday morning you can enjoy a morning of shopping, food and music at The Lions Airlie Beach Community Markets. Located on the foreshore of Airlie Beach, up near the sailing club, the markets offer a great atmosphere and connection with the local community. We recommend making the markets your breakfast restaurant of choice if you’re in town on a Saturday.
Also, the Lions Club conducts Cruise Ship Markets at the Airlie Beach foreshore each time there is a cruise ship in town. If you see a big ship coming into the port, you know the market will be on that day.
It’s not often you get to a town with so many playground options. If you’re travelling with kids, you won’t be short of places to take them to burn off steam. Along the Esplanade you will find three playgrounds within short walking distance. Recently there has been a huge modern jungle climbing playground installed up near the sailing club. It's impressive, to say the least!
There is a fourth fantastic playground and flying fox in Jubilee Pocket, just a short 2-minute drive from the town of Airlie.
A holiday in Airlie Beach is not complete without spending a lazy hour, day or two by the lagoon. With excellent views over the Coral Sea, its prime location close to the main street and cafes makes the Lagoon an ideal place to chill and soak up the tropical sun.
Airlie Beach Lagoon creates a safe swimming environment all year round. It’s a huge area patrolled by lifeguards and surrounded by grass, trees and some section have sandy beaches. If you have kids, there are parts of the pool suited to a range of swimming ability, including a shaded toddler’s wading pool and beach.Take a Drive to Cape Gloucester
If you would like to take a scenic drive and get a feel for the landscapes surrounding Airlie, complete with mountains and sugar cane flats, take a 50 km drive out to Cape Gloucester.
Drive through Hydeway Bay and stick to the coast, you’ll come up over a ridge where you start to see the most stunning coastal scenery. Drive to the end of the road towards the cape, and take your pick of private sandy beaches complete with palm trees. It's possible to swim and fish off the beach and of course, it's hard to beat strolling along the shore exploring this pocket of paradise all to yourself.
There are a couple of resort restaurants to choose from in the area, with Montes being a favourite. Or you can simply take a picnic or start up a BBQ at Dingo Beach on your return trip.
The Honeyeater Lookout is a small section of the Conway Circuit trail. A fantastic 7.5 km round trip will take you through a rolling tree-covered trail to a gorgeous lookout over the Coral Sea marina and Cannonvale coast.
This hike is mostly uphill so a level of fitness is required. Please ensure you take plenty of water, insect repellent and take care in extreme heat and if it's been raining.
Honeyeater Lookout can be accessed from the town of Airlie. Walk from the Airlie Beach shops up behind the supermarket to the Kara Crescent trailhead. From Kara Crescent, follow the Conway circuit for 2.3km then turn right toward the Honeyeater lookout.
A 10-minute drive through the Conway Ranges National Park will take you to Shute Harbour, the closest mainland port to the islands. Being at Shute is the best way to feel you’re on a Whitsundays Island without having to hire a boat. The waters are teeming with marine life, the harbour is enclosed with hills covered in a lush forest.
First, stop at Lions Lookout where you can drive up and take in the views over the harbour. If you want to experience a tropical beach all to yourself, take a 30-minute walk to Coral Beach and enjoy the crystal-clear waters and outlook over to the islands. Fishing is a popular activity within the harbour and off the public jetty, with Shute earning a reputation as one of the best fishing spots on the Whitsundays mainland.
The Bicentennial Walkway is flat 6 kilometres’ path which takes you from Jubilee Pocket to Cannonvale. The trail winds through parklands, past the lagoon and turns into a boardwalk which passes the Coral Sea Marina and literally hugs the coast. It’s stunning.
The Bicentennial walk is not just a walk, it’s a way to experience and enjoy different aspects of the area. You will stroll past several cafes, restaurants and bars along the way and also have the chance to spot turtles and marine life in the waters below. If you want to see some impressive private yachts, you can walk around the Coral Sea Marina at about the halfway point. There is also a botanical gardens path as you head into Cannonvale.
Enjoy your time in Airlie Beach and let us know your favourite thing to do!
Join us in the Whitsundays and enjoy the freedom to explore