Airlie Beach is a tropical tourist town that knows how to have a good time
Located in the heart of the Whitsundays, Airlie Beach is a fantastic launching pad for exploring the Great Barrier Reef. With a laid-back vibe, lovely locals and lively bars and restaurants, it might even turn out to be a highlight of your East Coast adventure. Whether you fancy relaxing by the lawn-fringed lagoon, meandering around the many cafes and boutiques, or dining on local seafood, there's loads to see and do. Do as much or as little as you like — you're on tropical time here.
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Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
Our East Coast adventures start in Sydney or Brisbane. Whitsunday Coast Airport in Proserpine is the closest airport to Airlie Beach. If you fly into Whitsunday Coast Airport, you'll need to drive or take a transfer to Airlie Beach. This is easy to arrange as buses meet all incoming flights. The drive from Whitsunday Coast Airport to Airlie Beach takes around 25 minutes.
If you don't have far to go it's easy to walk around Airlie Beach as the town is compact and almost completely flat. If you'd like to travel further afield, local bus services are provided by Whitsunday Transit and run until around 10pm most days. You can also catch a taxi, or rent a hire car or bicycle.
Airlie Beach has a tropical climate, so any time of year is a good time to visit. That being said, August to October is considered to be a particularly good period as the weather is dry. June to October also offers whale watching opportunities, when humpbacks migrate to the warm Whitsunday waters to birth their young.
If you're visiting Airlie Beach between October and May, it's advisable to wear a stinger suit when swimming in the ocean to protect yourself from possible jellyfish stings.
Airlie Beach is a laid-back destination so you can leave your fancy clothes at home. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are a must, even in winter, as the sun reflects off the sparkling Coral Sea. There's a supermarket in the heart of town which is handy in case you forget to pack any essentials.
There's no need to get dressed up, even if you're staying at one of the resorts at Airlie Beach. Casual clothes or active wear are fine during the day. Smart casual is the usual dress code at restaurants.
Airlie Beach is on the mainland so there's good mobile data and wi-fi coverage in town and the surrounding areas.
Airlie Beach is on the mainland so there's good mobile coverage. Just note that you may be cut off or have patchy reception if you head out on a sailing trip on the open water.
You can swim in certain areas at Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays — but only if you follow local advice and observe warning signs for jellyfish. One of the most popular swimming spots is the Airlie Beach Lagoon on the oceanfront as it's filled with chlorinated saltwater and is patrolled by lifeguards.
We're committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.