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 the most popular jumping-off point for exploring the region on a day tour. Sign up for a jet ski safari, go on scenic flights high above the Coral Sea, try your hand at sea kayaking, or go on one of the many sailing adventures around the islands. There are plenty of day tours to the Great Barrier Reef or you could see the reef and Whitehaven Beach in a single day. There are also tours which explore Airlie Beach such as the popular Segway tour which travels around town and along the waterfront. Allow time for a swim in the 4,300sqm Airlie Beach Lagoon which has stunning Coral Sea views and is free to use. Strolling along the town’s attractive main street which is filled with cafes and boutiques is another enjoyable way to pass the time.

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Tailor-Made trips

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Highlights of Airlie Beach

snorkelling with turtles

Snorkel coral reefs

Explore one of the world's most incredible natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef, on a day tour from Airlie Beach. It takes just a few hours to reach the outer-reef pontoon where you can swim with shimmering fish in every colour of the rainbow. If you're lucky, you might also see turtles or graceful stingrays gliding past. 

People walking on Whitehaven Beach

Airlie Beach day tours

Whether you would like to go kayaking, go on a snorkel or dive trip, take a semi-submersible ride around the reef or simply sit back, relax and watch the world go by from the comfort of a motor cruiser, there is a day trip to suit every budget and every type of traveller. You can also book day tours which explore the town of Airlie Beach. 

Sailing in the Whitsundays

Sailing adventures

Get ready for a day out on the water on a Coral Sea sailing adventure just off Airlie Beach or around the Whitsunday Islands. Sunlight sparkles on the ocean, the sun warms your back, and colourful fish tempt you to slip on your mask, snorkel and fins and jump in the water on this relaxing day sail. 

The heart reef in the Whitsundays

Scenic flights

See a different side of the Great Barrier Reef with a one hour scenic flight that takes in the best of the Whitsundays, from Whitehaven Beach to Hill Inlet, Hook Passage and myriad Whitsunday Islands including heart reef. Rainforest tumbles down rugged hillsides, idyllic rocky bays beckon and shimmering, crystalline blue waters beg to be explored. 

Sunset on the Whitsundays

Sail the Whitsundays

Sit back and relax with a cool drink and watch the sun bathe the water in a soft orange glow on a sunset cruise around the Whitsunday Islands. Enjoy views of the national park and distant resorts as the sky is bathed in purples, pinks and blues. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the sparkling Southern Cross twinkling overhead. 

Whitehaven Beach

Visit Hill Inlet Lookout

Take a full day tour to Whitehaven Beach and relax on the pure white sand of what is arguably one of the world's most famous beaches. You'll have time to explore the national park, play a game of beach cricket, enjoy a beach barbeque and even climb to the top of Hill Inlet Lookout on the northern end of beautiful Whitehaven Beach. 

Airlie Beach tour reviews

Airlie Beach FAQs

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.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy

Whitsunday Coast Airport at Proserpine is the closest airport to Airlie Beach. If you fly into Whitsunday Coast Airport, you will need to drive or take a transfer to Airlie Beach. This is easy to arrange with buses meeting all incoming flights. The transfer 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 area is almost completely flat. If you would 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. 

Anytime of year is a good time to visit Airlie Beach. Summer is hot and humid and perfect for swimming. Spring and Autumn are cooler and the town and surrounding area tends to be quieter. In winter, whales are frequently spotted in the surrounding waters. If you are visiting Airlie Beach between October and May and swimming in the ocean, it is advisable to wear a 'stinger suit' 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 is a supermarket in the heart of town which is handy if you have forgotten to pack any essentials.  

There is no need to get dressed up, even if you are 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 in Airlie Beach.

Airlie Beach is on the mainland so there is good WiFi coverage in town and the surrounding area. 

Airlie Beach is on the mainland so there is good mobile coverage in town and the surrounding area. 

Intrepid is 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.

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

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