Airlie Beach: All The Questions You Are Thinking, Answered!

Airlie Beach is a coastal locality in the Whitsunday Region of Queensland, Australia. According to a 2016 census, Airlie Beach had a population of 1,208 people.The tropical islands, warm blue water and white beaches are what snorkeling and cruising dreams are made of!  Airlie Beach is blessed to be surrounded by National Park on all sides and there are walks of size and to suit all fitness levels.

Airlie Beach: All The Questions You Are Thinking, Answered!

Is Airlie Beach worth visiting?

Airlie Beach may be a fair distance from Queensland hotspots like Cairns and Brisbane, but it sure is well worth a visit. Not only is it located on the Great Barrier Reef, but it’s also home to the world-famous Whitsunday Islands. 

Are there crocodiles at Airlie Beach?

Airlie Beach and world-famous Whitsunday Islands region is home to many species of wildlife including the infamous and intimidating saltwater crocodile. The adult male saltwater crocodiles from this area is known to grow up to 6-7 metres long and can weigh thousands of kilograms.

Is it safe to swim at Airlie Beach?

If you’re staying in Airlie Beach during the stinger season then it’s always a good choice to swim at Airlie Beach lagoon. At the Lagoon, you will have a safe place to swim with lifeguards and no marine stingers.

How many days do you need in Airlie Beach?

3 days in Airlie Beach is ideal. Within 3 days you’ll have the perfect photos of your adventures in Airlie Beach because there is so much you can jam pack into just 3 days. 

Do I need a car in Airlie Beach?

No need for a car at all! Public transport is very good in Airlie Beach but unfortunately the bus does not take you to spots like the Lions Lookout at Shute Harbour, Cedar Creek Falls on Conway Road, Conway Beach, Dingo Beach, Hydeaway Bay, Wilsons Beach. 

Which is better Cairns or Airlie Beach?

While both Cairns and Airlie Beach are perfect for diving and snorkeling with these types of reefs there is a difference.  Cairns has more tours with the Outer Reef, while Airlie Beach has more tours with Inner Reef. The Outer Reef is what is more often associated with the Great Barrier Reef and sits far offshore from the mainland and islands.

How long does it take to get from Airlie Beach to Whitsundays?

Cairns to Airlie Beach is around 8 hours. 

Mackay to Airlie Beach is around 90 minutes.

Bowen to Airlie Beach is around 50 minutes. 

Proserpine to Airlie Beach is around 25 minute

How much is the ferry from Airlie Beach to Hamilton Island?

The quickest way to get from Hamilton Island to Airlie Beach is to ferry which costs$62 and takes 1h 10m. Is there a direct ferry between Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach? Yes, there is a direct ferry departing from Hamilton Island Marina and arriving at Port of Airlie. Services depart hourly, and operate every day. 

The Airlie Beach Hamilton Island Marina ferry route connects Australia with Whitsunday Islands. Currently there is just the 1 ferry company operating this ferry service, Cruise Whitsundays. The crossing operates up to 63 times each week with sailing durations from around 1 hour.

What is there to do in Airlie Beach for free?

With so many great things that await in Airlie Beach, the ability to have fun for free is the icing on the cake! You don’t have to miss out on any fun mostly because the beach involves the most beautiful setting of all time: its surrounding: 

  •  Walk down the main street, window shop, watch the scene: We can’t promise that you won’t be tempted to buy something, but walking is free and healthy for your body! 
  • Swim at the lagoon: The lagoon is a buzzing hub where backpackers and families make the most of the sunshine. With the beaches at risk of stingers during the warmer month, the lagoon is the perfect place to relax on your holiday.
  • Do one of the many bushwalks in our immediate surroundings: Airlie Beach is blessed to be surrounded by National Park on all sides and there are walks of size and to suit all fitness levels.
  • Watch the sunset from the beach: Find a beach, climb a hill, sit in the park and watch the sun go down. If you are lucky and the conditions are right you will witness a spectacular colour show that happens quite often.
  • Walk the boardwalk from Airlie Beach to Cannonvale Beach (or the other way around): The boardwalk follows the coastline from Airlie Beach lagoon around to Cannonvale Beach, at times extending out over the walk on wooden boardwalk. It’s a truly beautiful walk and time well-spent.
  • Browse at the Saturday Markets: Again, we can’t guarantee that your visit will be free if you like what you see but there are lots of fun things, local crafts and produce to sample and experience! The markets are on every Saturday from 7am – 1pm.
  • Visit Cedar Creek waterfall: If you have a car then this won’t cost you more than a bit of fuel, a 20 minute drive from Airlie Beach, Cedar Creek is a peaceful little watering hole, watch for turtles! The water really gets running after some rain.

What should I pack for Airlie Beach?

Packing for Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays should include: 

  • Shorts.
  • Breathable t-shirts or tank tops.
  • Swimwear.
  • Rash shirt (if you’re prone to burning, this will keep you covered)
  • Chargers for cell phone and cameras 
  • Battery pack for charging
  • Fast dry towel 
  • Day pack
  • Power converter (for overseas visitors)


You will be able to find most things you will need in chemists and pharmacies in the area. There are two on the main street of Airlie Beach, and a couple in Cannonvale, so you will have a variety if anything medical emergency occurs. However, it’s a good idea to take staple items along with you including painkillers, topical cream (for rashes or irritated skin) and insect repellent. The most important thing you need to buy beforehand is sun lotion, the sun here is very strong, so keeping your skin protected is important. Even if you aren’t prone to burning, you might in the hot Whitsunday sun. In the case you’re prone to sun burn, you should bring along a moisturizer and other skin lotion with aloe vera. 


The Whitsundays is one of the most beautiful places in Queensland. The tropical islands, warm blue water and white beaches make sure you have these images for a lifetime! Ensure that you bring along a camera or GoPro to capture every adventure along the way! Since you’ll likely be spending a lot of time around or in the water, waterproof equipment is essential! If you have a GoPro, make sure it has a waterproof casing and floating attachment – you wouldn’t want to lose your memories over spillage! 

Packing for an overnight boat trip in the Whitsundays

If you’re going on an overnight boat trip while in the Whitsundays, you’ll have to narrow down your things and bring a small pack with you with your essentials. Unless it’s a bareboat charter (where there is no crew and you are renting the boat on your own), tours do not allow excess luggage and guests are not allowed to bring large suitcases or packs. Most will not allow any luggage with wheels or zippers so having a small, soft bag is essential. 

Some tours will provide you with a bag to put your things in for the trip. You can check with your accommodation beforehand or ask when you call to check-in for your boat trip to see if they will store your bags! In order to help you prepare, here is a short list of things to bring with you, but it’s always best to check with your tour guide for suggestions on what to bring: 

  • Swimwear: You will likely be spending plenty of time in the water and on the beach, so make sure you bring along your swimwear! 
  • Change of clothes: Make sure you pack a change of clothes or two to change into after finishing your water activities for the day. This includes a sweater or jumper for chilly nights.
  • Battery pack (to charge devices): Some tours will have live access points available, but in the event they don’t, or if they are being used by other passengers, a battery pack will come in handy. You’ll want to keep your camera or phone charged up so you can take photos and videos along the way! 
  • Alcohol: Many tours in the Whitsundays are BYO – that is “Bring Your Own Alcohol.” If your boat does not have a licensed bar, you’ll want to bring along any alcohol you will want to consume on your trip. Generally, no glass or red wine is allowed. Check with your particular trip to see if it’s BYO or not. 
  • Reusable water bottle: You have to stay hydrated when out in the Whitsunday sun, so make sure you bring a water bottle that you can refill. You can often just fill up your bottle from the tap on the boat and cut down on single-use water bottles, plus; you’ll always know which bottle is yours to avoid a mix-up. 
  • Thongs: While most tours don’t allow the use of footwear on board, you’ll want something on your feet for when you hit dry land again! Many tours do a short bushwalk up on Whitehaven Beach to Hill Inlet Lookout, which will require some footwear. Other than that, you’ll probably be barefoot most of the trip!  
  • Sunscreen: Even if you’re not prone to burning, you’ll want to bring along sunscreen (at least SPF 30). Sunburns tend to increase while snorkelling or while at Whitehaven Beach, so you’ll want to lather up before the day begins. 
  • Hat: Sun protection is paramount while on your tour, as nothing quite dampens the day like a bad burn! Stay sun safe and keep on a hat while in the sun to avoid too much exposure. 

Most boat tours will provide you with drinking water, all your food, and things like toilet paper, so you won’t need to bring any of that. If you are a big snacker, it is a good idea to bring your own. 

Feel the Airlie Beach coast calling? Now you have a quick look at what to do, how to get there and what to pack. 

Related posts

10 Best Places to Visit in Odisha, India

Santwona Patnaik

Best Things to Do in Canterbury

Akarsh Shekhar

Where’s the Best Pizza in the World?

Nehita Abraham