Airlie Beach is a small coastal village located 620 kilometres South of Cairns ( 7.5 hours’ drive). Airlie is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands on the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef.
Airlie Beach offers visitors a range of tours, experiences and accommodation from resorts, holiday apartments and budget backpacker hostels.
Tours to the Great Barrier Reef and Islands depart daily from Airlie.
Airlie Beach Village
Airlie Beach Village is a colouful, cosmopolitan and inviting community. The main centre of Airlie Beach is situated on a picturesque peninsula that consists of one street with many little side-streets peppered with coffee shops, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, fast food eateries, boutiques, banks, small supermarkets and accommodation alternatives.
Most of the tours to the Whitsunday Islands depart from Abel Point Marina, just a five minute walk from the centre of Airlie Beach via a scenic boardwalk which winds along the water's edge.
The Coral Sea Marina, previously known as Abell Point Marina, is the primary departure point for tours to the Whitsunday Islands. It's the largest marina in the Whitsundays and located on the left side of the road into Airlie Beach from Cannonvale. Most overnight and day tours depart from here, so ensure you know which section to meet at (north or south). Coral Sea Marina features, include restaurants, shops, and stunning views, making it a fantastic place to relax and enjoy an afternoon.
Shingley Drive, Airlie Beach
1.2 Km from Airlie Beach CBD
Port of Airlie, located at the end of the main road in Airlie Beach on the eastern shore, is another marina that serves as the departure point for various boat tours, including ferries to Hamilton Island and Daydream Island. Previously known as Muddy Bay, the area was dredged to become a functional harbor. The marina features reclaimed land on its eastern side, which is planned for future development as a retail precinct. It also includes Airlie's man-made Boathaven Beach and can be easily accessed on foot for tours.
Shute Harbour, located 10 kilometers from Airlie Beach, is accessible by car, bus, or taxi. It was once the main departure point for all Whitsunday tours, but now serves mainly smaller vessels and operates a ferry for tradesmen to and from the islands. Some smaller companies that cater to hikers and kayakers and offer island transport services or boat hire also operate from here.
Shute Harbour Road, Shutehaven.
There are two destination airports to choose from:
Whitsunday Coast Airport (PPP)
Located in Proserpine, is the main airport for those travelling to Airlie Beach. Various Airport Shuttle services are available to transport you to your Airlie Beach destination. The journey typically takes around 40 minutes.
Direct flights are available from Cairns, Newcastle, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Airlines: Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Bonza and Skytrans
Great Barrier Reef Airport (HTI)
Located on Hamilton Island, Great Barrier Reef Airport is the main airport servicing the Whitsunday Islands.
A complimentary shuttle to your hotel will meet your arrival. Guests staying at Beach Club or qualia are escorted with a VIP airport transfer.
Direct flights are available from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Airlines: Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia.
Airlie Beach is located approximately 7 hours from Cairns, 10 hours from Harvey Bay (Fraser Island) and about 13 hours from Brisbane. The Bruce Highway is Queensland's main route connecting Brisbane to Cairns. Near Proserpine, turn off the Bruce Highway at Waterson Way/State Route 59. Connect to Shute Harbour Road and follow to Airlie Beach, Gateway to the Whitsundays.
You can find driving itineraries from Cairns/Brisbane to Airlie Beach in PDF format at the bottom of this webpage.
The Spirit of Queensland travels 4 times a week between Cairns and Brisbane, with stops at popular destinations such as the Whitsundays, Fraser Coast, and Sunshine Coast. Arriving at Proserpine Railway Station, A RailBus connection to Airlie Beach is included in your Rail Pass. Pre-booking is essential.
A PDF Timetable is available at the bottom of this page.
Airlie Beach enjoys a tropical climate of hot summers and warm winters. Average daily temperature range from just over 21 degrees in the cooler months (May - September) and up to 32 degrees during the height of summer. The average year round water temperature is a welcoming 25 degrees. Higher rainfall can be expected during the summer months.
Wheelchair Accessible Tours from Airlie Beach
One wheelchair-friendly vessel, equipped with a hydraulic wheelchair lift, accommodates a standard-sized manual wheelchair. The tour includes guided snorkeling excursions and beach visits, but note that the speed of the vessel might not be suitable for all wheelchair users.
Cruise Whitsundays Reefworld
The vessel and pontoon at Hardy Reef feature ramps, elevators, and accessible restrooms. The underwater observatory is accessible, but the semi-submersible tours may not be suitable for all wheelchair users due to limited space.
Wheelchair Accessible Attractions
The Whitsundays is a stunning region, known for its breathtaking islands and vibrant marine life. Here are a few wheely friendly ideas and attractions in the Whitsundays and Airlie Beach region.
his 4 km long accessible walkway stretches from Airlie Beach Lagoon to Cannonvale Beach, offering picturesque views of the coastline. The path is mostly level, with a few gentle inclines, and features resting spots with seating along the way.
Proserpine River Wetlands: Accessible boardwalks in the wetlands allow wheelchair users to explore the area and observe the diverse wildlife, including birds, fish, and reptiles. Check with local authorities for current boardwalk conditions and accessibility updates.
Airlie Beach Lagoon
This popular attraction offers wheelchair accessibility, with ramps and level pathways surrounding the lagoon area. There is a designated accessible restroom and a pool hoist available for wheelchair users, ensuring a comfortable experience for all visitors.
Port of Airlie Marina
The Port of Airlie Marina is a wheelchair-friendly area with accessible paths, restaurants, and shops. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the marina and take in the beautiful yachts and boats docked in the harbor.
Conway National Park
While not all trails in the park are wheelchair-friendly, the park offers the Cedar Creek Falls viewing platform, which is accessible via a sealed path. The platform provides stunning views of the waterfall, especially during the wet season when water flow is at its peak.
Whitsunday Gold Coffee Plantation
Located in the Whitsundays hinterland, this wheelchair-accessible coffee plantation offers an informative tour of the coffee production process. The on-site café is also accessible, allowing visitors to enjoy freshly brewed coffee and delicious snacks in a relaxing setting.
Whitsunday Crocodile Safari
Although not all aspects of the tour may be accessible, the safari boat itself is wheelchair-friendly. Contact the tour operator to discuss specific accessibility requirements and confirm if this tour is suitable for your needs.
Starting December 11, 2023, Red Cat, Airlie Beach introduces an exciting addition: the Airlie Beach Sunset Cruise. It happens every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, departing from Coral Sea Marina.
Imagine a peaceful evening as you sail along, w... + More