Airlie Beach, also known locally as just Airlie, is a coastal town in Queensland, Australia. Within a stone’s throw of the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, people come here primarily to see this natural phenomenon, but what else is there to do in Airlie Beach? Going on its name, the beach is a great attraction, where backpackers and an increasing number of locals choose to catch a few rays. The town also has plenty of natural beauty spots away from the Reef. There’s a lagoon where visitors can bathe during daylight, even when it’s not summer. Airlie Beach is also a good starting point for hiking into the Queensland countryside, while a jaunt into Conway National Park to the south is always a good idea.
For driving through Airlie Beach and for going on the ferry/to the beach, a small car is the best vehicle for any of those jobs.
Driving in Airlie Beach
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
There are three airports serving the town and surrounding area. One of them, Whitsunday Airport, is a private airport.
The nearest major road to Airlie Beach is the A1, which can be reached around 10 miles southwest of the town near Proserpine.
Although not a major road, the most convenient route going through town is Shute Harbour Road, which will take you to the main road network and the harbour.
Highlights & Hotspots
The Whitsunday Islands are just a short ferry ride away. The islands tend to be popular with people who want to get away from the hubbub of the town and the nearby beach and have plenty to excite nature lovers, especially those with a love of all things flora and fauna.
Day trips to the Great Barrier Reef are also possible. The reef tends to be popular all year round, although it’s worth braving the crowds to see the coral in all its glory, whether from a boat or by going underwater.
Conway National Park is just to the south of Airlie Beach. Covered in dense forest, it’s a good place to go for a quiet walk away from the crowds near the coast and the marina, as well as for having a picnic or observing local plant life.
Recently built, Abel Point Marina is one of the more intriguing parts of Airlie Beach itself. Here, you can look at some of the ships mooring there as well as enjoy some amazing views of Pioneer Bay to the north of the marina.
The nearest major airport is the Great Barrier Reef Airport on Hamilton Island, which is close to six miles southeast of Airlie Beach. It mainly offers domestic flights to major cities in Australia and can only be reached by ferry or boat.
Whitsunday Coast Airport is located nine miles southwest of the town centre and offers more of the same in terms of destinations served. It is connected by a link road to the A1 Bruce Highway.