Why is Queensland’s Central Coast so Popular?

This is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. The reason is that there is something for everyone in this spectacular part of Australia. The average daytime temperature is between 23 and 30 degrees which makes it perfect for exploring the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands.

Who Visits Airlie Beach?

Airlie Beach is considered the gateway into all the activities the Whitsundays has to offer. You can fly into either Proserpine or Hamilton Island airport to access the port of Airlie. It is a destination for backpackers endeavouring to see the best of Australia on a budget. There is plenty of backpacking accommodation and seasonal work for those just passing through. It is a wonderful spot to get married or enjoy a special anniversary because of the laid back feel and consistently good weather. It is a fantastic family holiday as there are many nature activities for kids and adults. 

It is popular with seafaring folk as Airlie Beach is the beginning of some very special sailing trips. You can join day sails, hire a catamaran for a bareboating experience or dock in many of the area’s marinas whilst enjoying a leisurely sail around any of the Whitsundays 74 islands.

What Should You Do in Airlie Beach?

Day trip to Whitehaven beach

Whitehaven has been voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Largely unspoilt by time, Whitehaven beach has the purest sands on the planet known as  silica. There are early morning trips to Whithaven for visitors to have a champagne breakfast and experience one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Visit Cedar Creek Falls

At its best during the wet season, this unique tourist stop is a natural rock amphitheatre. With plenty of natural beauty, including cedar trees, colourful butterflies, wild flowers and majestic birds, this feast for the eyes will remind you that the best things in life really are free.

Whitehaven Beach

Jet ski tours

Boating tours are a lovely way to amble around the area and to see some of the favourite islands but a jet ski tour will have you experiencing the outer reef at rapid speed. Jet ski tours take smaller groups so you have a more personalised experience with a guide who knows the area well and can take you to some more intimate areas around the islands the boats are not able to get to.

Day trip out to the reef

This is undoubtedly one of the main activities tourists come to do out of Airlie Beach. There are many different types of boat trips out to the reef and many charters have Airlie beach as the starting point.

Living Reef

Visit the Living Reef

A new addition to Daydream Island, it is an eco-friendly, educational living reef. Measuring 200 metres in length, it holds 1.5 million litres of water and over 100 different species of marine life. A fantastic way to experience this attraction is to have a marine biologist take you on a guided tour of the area to get up close and personal with the fish. For those that prefer the other side of the glass, there are exhibits, touch pool and a theatre showing information about the area. 

Beach Helicopter

Helicopter Around the Islands

Due to the vast expanse of the area, it is not possible for everyone to experience the whole landscape. A helicopter trip around the Whitsundays will give you a different view from those snorkelling the reef. Tides and changing weather conditions change the colours and vista on a daily basis. You don’t have to trek the 74 islands to create wonderful memories.

Go sailing in Race Week

Number 1 on many boaties’ bucket list is race week in Airlie beach and Hamilton Island. A week of mildly competitive sailboat racing, it is often just a good excuse to just putt around the islands, with a couple of thousand other like minded enthusiasts. This year race week in Airlie beach started on the 8th and finished on the 15th of August and started in Hamilton Island on the 17th and finished on the 24th August.

It is also the time of year when the humpbacks are migrating to the warmer tropical Queensland waters to give birth so come for race week and stay for the whale watching.

Airlie Beach Lagoon

Airlie Beach Lagoon

Located in the centre of Airlie Beach near Abel Point marina, the Lagoon is a favourite amongst visitors. It has 2 pools, one for the smaller folks which is shallow and shaded and one for the bigger kids which is larger and deeper. The Lagoon is surrounded by grassed areas,  tables, chairs and shaded areas for those not wanting to spend the whole day in the sun. It is located at the back of the main street in Airlie so you can do a spot of shopping then come back for some more water play. It is a great alternative for those with young families who prefer an alternative to the beach.

Boat in Water

Bare-boating 

This is a unique opportunity to skipper a boat yourself – without a boating licence. Queensland is one of the few places in the world that allow people to hire a boat without any extensive nautical experience. You are able to take a vessel out that can sleep several guests and enjoy all the Whitsundays has to offer at your own leisure. A comprehensive tutorial is required upon arrival and supplies can be arranged, then after that you are free to enjoy the best Queensland has to offer. 

The Whitsundays Islands – How Close Are They?

There are some very special islands that can be accessed from Airlie beach. The most popular islands in the Whitsundays are:

ISLAND ATTRACTION

PROXIMITY TO AIRLIE

(by boat)

Whitehaven Voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world 2 hours 
Daydream The Living Reef – an interactive marine park visitors can swim in 30 min 
Hamilton Wildlife park, golf, watersports, accomodation 1 hour 
Haymen Luxury accommodation, rainforests, botanic gardens  1 hour 
South Mole National park for hiking and camping 1 hour 
Long Close to the reef, accomodation 30 mins
Hook Best snorkelling and scuba diving in the Whitsundays 1 hour

 

What Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Airlie Beach?

September – October
Peak season. Perfect for long summer days sailing, snorkeling or just having fun in the sun.

November – December
A great time to enjoy the area before school is out and the area becomes busier. The winds change to a northerly direction making certain anchorages more accessible than when the south easterly winds are in play.

January – March
It’s the rainy season so it becomes hot and humid with the distinct possibility of a shower or two. This can also be the opportunity to have a very cheap holiday. There are still plenty of clear sunny days so if you are the adventurous type you should take your chances.

April – May
The weather is on the cusp of improving. The humidity and heat start to return to more pleasant levels and Easter holiday makers enjoy the brighter, warmer days.

June – August
Time for the boaties and the whales. The weather is fine and sunny which are perfect sailing conditions for the lovers of the sea who descend upon Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island who enjoy their annual “race week” festivities. After being in the Arctic waters humpback whales are migrating to the warmer tropical climate to give birth. A perfect opportunity to see the majestic animals in their natural habitat.

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