About Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach is the entry point to the Whitsundays – characterised by gorgeous resort towns and 74 stunning tropical islands. Airlie Beach town lies between Cannonvale and Shute Harbour on the Whitsunday Coast; the town is ideally located at the bottom of the Conway Ranges beside a beautiful tropical beach and bordered either side by picturesque marinas.
Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was occupied by members of the Darumbal Aboriginal language group. These people are also known as Woppaburra or Ganumi. The Darumbal people lived in harmony with their country. There were six clan groups which constituted the Darumbal Nation.
These clans all lived within their own territorial boundaries they considered theirs. They would gather with other clans for ceremonial purposes and all shared a common language.The Aboriginal people in this region depended on traditional plant foods and native animals. Marine environment provided food in the form of turtles and their eggs, dugong, fish, shellfish, crustaceans and other marine products. Traditional use of the area ended earlier this century.
Following European settlement, Airlie Beach was officially recognised as a town in 1935, and since then has affectionately been known as ‘Airlie’ by both locals and visitors. The town most likely takes its name from the parish of Airlie – as in Airlie Castle and the Earl of Airlie – in Scotland.
Aquaduck Airlie Beach
1 hr Tours departing daily
***Tours temporarily closed due to COVID-19***
10:30am, 12.30pm, 3pm
Check-in time is 15 minutes prior to departure
(2yrs - 16yrs)
(2Ad + 2Ch)
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Airlie Beach Today
Today Airlie Beach is home to approximately 5,000 people of which about 1300 consider themselves locals, the remainder are workers or visitors enjoying living in paradise.
In June 2019 the Airlie Beach foreshore was officially reopened following a $6.3million upgrade transforming the area into a seaside parkland for all to enjoy complete with playground, parks, picnic areas and landscaping. The foreshore is also home to the Sunday markets, where locals and visitors converge to relax, catch up with friends and enjoy the chilled out atmosphere whilst strolling through stalls selling locals crafts, fruit, vegetables, flowers and gifts. It’s hard to miss this bubbling hub of weekly activity.
Airlie Beach main street is a hustle and bustle of restaurants, cafes, and specialty stores, amongst the large variety of food venues In town, is the world’s first Hogs breath Cafe which opened in 1989. Airlie also has a very busy nightlife, with pubs and nightclubs operating most nights of the week.
Airlie Beach Lagoon
Airlie Beach Lagoon is a free swimming area and open to everyone and monitored by lifeguards. Located parallel to the Main Street, on the foreshore of Airlie Beach the lagoon provides an environment that is completely safe from stingers, all year round. The lagoon includes include a sheltered toddlers wading pool, a shallow, 1.5 metre maximum depth children’s pool and a larger pool.
Airlie Beach’s hidden gems are its natural scenery. On its doorstep lies both rainforest and ocean paradise.
The Whitsundays rainforest area – Conway National Park is approximately ten minutes drive from town at the end of Shute Harbour Road. The park has a number of walking tracks which take the visitor through a variety of vegetation types including lowland rainforest, mangroves and open forest. Take the Mt Roopertrack for spectacular Whitsunday Passage and island views. You can access the Swamp Bay camping area on foot or by boat. This park includes the rainforest-clad Conway Peninsula and protects the largest area of lowland tropical rainforest in Queensland outside Tropical North Queensland. Hoop pines grow on coastal ridges and in damp gullies, emerging above the rainforest canopy. Rugged, steep, rocky cliffs provide a spectacular 35 km-long backdrop to the Whitsunday Passage and islands.
Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands.
There are 74 islands in the region, South Molle is the closest island to Airlie Beach. Hayman and Hamilton Islands are the most famous attracting visitors from all over the globe including Oprah Winfrey, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. Whitsunday Island is the home of famous Whitehaven Beach. This beach is known the world over for its beautiful soft white sand and the 7 km stretch of beach along the island which is only accessible by boat, seaplane & helicopter from Airlie Beach.
Visitors are not only coming to lay on the white sandy beaches of beautiful tropical islands but for the Great Barrier Reef. The world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is home to thousands of individual animal species from birds to mammals, to fish and corals, there is a huge variety of what can be found above and below the water. The most noticeable species on the reef are the fish, of course! There are thousands of species of fish that live in the Marine Park, many of which you will see on any snorkelling trip! They come in an amazing range or sizes, colours and temperaments. Some will be happy to come, greet snorkelers and hang out close by, while others may dart away and seek shelter from their visitors!
You will be amazed by the variety and the colour. And what is the most recognised fish of the The Great Barrier Reef? The Clownfish of course aka the Nemo fish. Made famous by the Disney movie Finding Nemo.
With its friendly laid back lifestyle and stunning natural scenery, Airlie Beach truly is a sparkling jewel in the Whitsundays crown.