17 Fun Things to Do in Airlie Beach | 2024 (with Photos)

Mary Adelana

Mary Adelana - Travel Writer

Published: September 28, 2023

Hey there! I'm Mary, and I've had the pleasure of exploring the vibrant Airlie Beach. From thrilling water activities to breathtaking sights, I'm excited to share my top recommendations on how to make the most of your trip to this beautiful destination in 2024.

Exciting and Fun Things to Do in Airlie Beach

Immerse yourself in the vibrant coastal town of Airlie Beach, Queensland, the gateway to the awe-inspiring Great Barrier Reef and the idyllic Whitsunday Islands.

Nestled on Australia's East Coast, Airlie Beach offers a unique blend of exhilarating adventure and serene relaxation.

Whether you're sailing the turquoise Coral, diving into the world's largest coral reef system, exploring the verdant national parks, or lounging on the iconic Whitehaven Beach, Airlie Beach promises an unforgettable journey.

Dive in as we unravel the myriad Airlie Beach attractions and activities that make Airlie Beach a must-visit destination. This is our list of the best and most fun things to do in Airlie Beach.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Top Choice Hotel

Coral Sea Resort

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Best Time to Visit

Ideal weather for outdoor activities in Airlie Beach.

Average Temperature

Warm climate with average temperature around 24-26 degrees Celsius.

Transportation Options

Bus, taxi, ferry, bike, walking, car hire, scenic flights.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

In Airlie Beach, Australia, my top recommendation for an unforgettable experience is to spend a day exploring the breathtaking Whitsunday Islands by boat - a paradise of pristine beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters, where you can indulge in snorkeling, diving, or simply relax on the white sandy shores.

Another must-do in Airlie Beach is to embark on a scenic hike up to the famous Hill Inlet lookout, where you'll be treated to panoramic views of the iconic swirling sands of Whitehaven Beach - a sight that will leave you in awe and create memories to last a lifetime.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Swimming essentials
  2. Travel documents
  3. Camera

What Not to Miss

  1. Whitsunday Islands
  2. Great Barrier Reef
  3. Whitehaven Beach
  4. Hamilton Island
  5. Airlie Beach Lagoon

What to Avoid

  1. Crowded tourist areas
  2. Overpriced souvenir shops
  3. Street vendors selling fake products

1. Airlie Beach Lagoon

Airlie Beach Lagoon

Located in the heart of the Airlie Beach area in North Queensland, the Airlie Beach Lagoon is the perfect place to cool down and unwind.

This man-made swimming pool is free to use and is beautifully landscaped to blend into its coastal town surroundings.

The clear waters of the lagoon provide a safe, stinger-free swimming environment, allowing visitors to enjoy a dip year-round.

2. Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach

Located in the Whitsunday Islands off the East coast of Australia, Whitehaven Beach is one of the most photographed beaches in the world, renowned for its stunning white sandy beaches and turquoise waters.

A short boat trip from Airlie Beach, the colorful Whitehaven Beach stretches over seven kilometers along Whitsunday Island.

The beach is known for its iconic swirling sands of Hill Inlet at the northern end, where tides shift the sand and water to create a breathtaking blend of colors. 

The famous Whitehaven Beach is also known for its pure silica sand, which is incredibly soft to the touch.

3. Scuba Diving at the Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

A trip to Airlie Beach wouldn't be complete without exploring the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.

Known for its vibrant coral reefs and abundant sea life, the reef offers some of the best scuba diving experiences in the world.

On a day trip from Airlie Beach, you'll get to see a variety of sea creatures from colorful coral trout to majestic sea turtles.

Exploring the diverse sea life of the Great Barrier Reef is a truly unforgettable experience.

4. Hike in Conway National Park

Conway National Park

Just a short drive from Airlie Beach is Conway National Park, a tropical paradise filled with lush rainforests, secluded beaches, and panoramic vistas of the Whitsunday coast and islands.

The park is home to several walking trails that range from easy strolls to challenging hikes, such as the Whitsunday Great Walk.

This 27-kilometer trail winds through a variety of landscapes from mangrove-lined creeks to stunning lookouts over the surrounding islands. 

Along the way, you can spot various species of birds and wildlife, and even take a dip in a secluded beach.

5. Whitsunday Islands

Whitsunday Islands

One of the most fantastic experiences Airlie Beach offers is a day trip to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands.

This collection of 74 tropical islands, located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, presents a breathtaking blend of pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and colorful coral reefs.

The most famous of these islands is Whitsunday Island, home to Whitehaven Beach. Take a leisurely sail around the islands and enjoy the warm sun and soft sea breeze.

A day trip to the Whitsundays from Airlie Beach offers the ultimate tropical island experience.

6. Cedar Creek Falls

Cedar Creek Falls

Cedar Creek Falls located a short drive from Airlie Beach, is a hidden gem worth exploring. Nestled within a lush rainforest, this cascading waterfall is a picturesque spot for swimming, picnicking, and nature walks.

These Airlie Beach falls flow into a natural rock pool, providing a refreshing dip surrounded by tropical foliage. Depending on the season, you might find the falls gushing with water or reduced to a gentle trickle.

The surrounding trails are great for exploring and spotting local wildlife. Remember to pack your camera, as Cedar Creek Falls offers plenty of photo opportunities when you come to Airlie Beach.

7. A Scenic Flight Over Heart Reef

A Scenic Flight Over Heart Reef

One of the most magical experiences you can have in Airlie Beach is a scenic flight over the gorgeous Heart Reef.

The flight will take you over the azure waters of the sea, showcasing the stunning beauty of the Great Barrier Reef from above.

The highlight is undoubtedly the Heart Reef, a beautiful composition of coral that has naturally formed into the shape of a heart.

This unique natural formation is a spectacular sight and makes for an unforgettable memory.

8. Hamilton Island and its Luxury Hotels

Hamilton Island and its Luxury Hotels

Hamilton Island, the largest inhabited island of the Whitsundays, is a fantastic destination for a trip from Airlie Beach.

Hamilton Island is a haven for luxury-seekers with its range of high-end resorts, such as the world-renowned Qualia.

Don't miss a visit to the Hamilton Island Golf Club, which boasts a stunning 18-hole course on its dedicated island.

As the day winds down, relax with a cocktail at one of the luxury hotels' pools or watch the sunset over the Whitsunday Islands.

A day exploring Hamilton Island provides a taste of the finer things in life amidst the breathtaking natural beauty of Airlie Beach.

9. The Hill Inlet Lookout

Hill Inlet Lookout

Hill Inlet Lookout offers one of the most magnificent views in all of Australia.

Situated at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach, the lookout provides a vantage point to behold the breathtaking panorama of swirling white sand and turquoise water that creates a stunning, ever-changing mosaic.

The lookout is accessible via a short bushwalk from the beach, and the ascent is well worth it. The view from the top is unforgettable, offering a fantastic photo opportunity of the iconic Whitehaven Beach's swirling sands against the shimmering Coral Sea.

Don't forget your camera when visiting Hill Inlet Lookout; you won't want to miss capturing this extraordinary landscape.

10. Cannonvale Beach

Cannonvale Beach

Cannonvale Beach offers a tranquil and less crowded alternative to the bustling Airlie Beach. 

Located just a few kilometers away, this beautiful beach provides a peaceful spot for sunbathing, swimming, or having a beachside picnic.

With its gentle waves and shady trees, Cannonvale Beach is also an excellent choice for families with children.

You can also enjoy a walk along the scenic Bicentennial Walkway that connects Cannonvale Beach to Airlie Beach, taking in the beautiful views of Pioneer Bay and the Whitsunday coast.

After a day of relaxation, visit one of the nearby cafes or restaurants to try local delicacies.

11. Airlie Beach Markets

Airlie Beach Markets

One of the top attractions in Airlie Beach is the vibrant Saturday morning market.

Offering a wide array of local products, fresh produce, and seafood, the markets provide a perfect way to explore the town's local culture and flavors.

Meander through the stalls filled with handmade crafts, unique art, tropical fruits, vegetables, and fresh seafood. The markets also host food vendors offering delicious street food.

Whether you're in search of unique souvenirs, or artisanal gifts, or just want to soak in the bustling market atmosphere, a visit to the Airlie Beach markets is a must when exploring this beautiful town.

12. The Best Luxury Hotel in Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach Hotel

Located in the heart of Airlie Beach, the Airlie Beach Hotel provides a perfect base for exploring the town and the surrounding Whitsunday Islands.

Known for its comfortable rooms and excellent service, the hotel also boasts a swimming pool with a view, providing a fantastic spot to relax after a day of adventure.

Many rooms offer stunning views of the Coral Sea, and the hotel is within walking distance of the beach, shops, and restaurants. So, if you want to stay in Airlie Beach, this is the place to be.

Whether you've spent your day on a sailing trip, exploring the Great Barrier Reef, or simply lounging on the beach, the Airlie Beach Hotel offers a relaxing retreat to unwind and enjoy your stay in this beautiful part of Queensland.

13. Daydream Island

Daydream Island

Escape to the idyllic Daydream Island for a slice of paradise, just a short boat trip from Airlie Beach in Queensland.

Nestled in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, this charming island boasts soft, white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, home to an amazing array of sea life.

Embark on a stroll around the island to discover hidden beaches and immerse yourself in the relaxing atmosphere.

The living reef on the island is a major Airlie Beach attraction, giving visitors an insight into the diverse sea life, including turtles and coral formations. Additionally, you can take advantage of the activities the island offers, such as jet ski tours and sailing trips.

With so much to explore, visiting Daydream Island is undoubtedly one of the top things to do when staying in Airlie Beach.

14. Sunset Cruise to Hayman Island

Whisper Cruises - Sunset Cruise Airlie Beach

There's something magically captivating about a sunset cruise to Hayman Island, especially if you are on a luxury yacht.

As the sun starts to dip and paint the sky with hues of pink and gold, begin your scenic journey from the bustling Airlie Beach marina.

As you glide out of the marina and into the open Coral Sea Marina, watch as Airlie Beach, with its beautiful beaches and vibrant market scene, recedes into the distance. Look out for some amazing marine life on your sailing trip.

15. Ocean Rafting Tour

Ocean Rafting Tour

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, Airlie Beach offers a plethora of adventure activities. Experience the thrill of ocean rafting or a jet ski tour.

On an ocean rafting tour, you'll explore the Whitsunday Islands' hidden coves and snorkel in the vibrant reefs, while on a jet ski tour, you'll speed through the crystal-clear waters of the sea marina, exploring beaches and mangrove everglades.

These high-speed water adventures are a fantastic way to discover Airlie Beach's stunning landscape from a unique perspective, making them a must-try for thrill-seekers visiting Airlie Beach.

16. Helicopter Flight Over the Great Barrier Reef

Helicopter Flight Over the Great Barrier Reef

One of the must-try experiences in Airlie Beach is a helicopter flight over the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its remarkable biodiversity and vibrant coral reefs.

This thrilling adventure takes off from the Whitsunday Coast Airport and lets you witness the majestic aerial views of the spectacular reef system, the azure Coral Sea, and the numerous picturesque islands scattered across it.

The highlight of the flight is the chance to spot the iconic Heart Reef, a beautiful, naturally-formed heart-shaped coral reef formation.

This stunning view, coupled with the panoramic vistas of the Queensland coastline and the Airlie Beach area, will leave you in awe. Remember to have your camera ready to capture these breathtaking sights.

This unforgettable flight over one of the seven natural wonders of the world is a truly unique way to appreciate the area's natural beauty.

17. Twilight Yacht Racing with the Whitsunday Sailing Club

Whitsunday Sailing Club

For a truly unique local experience in Airlie Beach, Queensland, engage in Twilight Yacht Racing with the Whitsunday Sailing Club, one of the most exciting things to do in Australia.

This friendly and fun-filled event occurs weekly, allowing locals and visitors alike to enjoy the thrill of yacht racing near Airlie Beach, set against the beautiful backdrop of a Whitsunday sunset.

Departing from the Shute Harbour, close to the luxurious Deck Airlie Beach, your journey takes you through the shimmering sea, giving you a glimpse of the incredible coral reef that forms part of the Great Barrier Reef.

FAQs: Fun Things To Do in Airlie Beach

In this section, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the most fun things to do in Airlie Beach.

What activities can you do at Airlie Beach?

Airlie Beach, Queensland is a hub of exciting activities, from scenic flights over the Great Barrier Reef, thrilling jet ski tours, and sailing trips around the islands, to exploring the local markets, snorkeling around the beautiful coral reef, and relaxing on the white beaches.

What do people enjoy about Airlie Beach?

People love Airlie Beach for its beautiful local beaches like Whitehaven, the exhilarating trips from Airlie Beach to surrounding locations like Hamilton and Hayman, and the chance to witness the Great Barrier Reef's stunning sea life through scuba diving and snorkeling. You will also enjoy freshly caught seafood while you explore Airlie Beach.

Why is Airlie Beach so popular?

Airlie Beach is popular because of its proximity to renowned attractions like the Great Barrier Reef and Islands. Its blend of vibrant beach town life, with Airlie Beach market, Boathaven Beach, Dingo Beach road, Great Barrier Reef tours, and a wide range of activities from sailing to exploring nearby national parks, makes it a favorite destination for both adventure seekers and relaxation enthusiasts who want to visit Cedar Creek Falls.

What month is best for Airlie Beach?

The best month to visit Airlie Beach is September. The weather is warm and dry, ideal for exploring a sandy beach, enjoying a water sport, and taking a scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef. Plus, it's also the best time to spot beautiful sea life in its natural habitat.

Summing Up: Fun Things to Do in Airlie Beach

As you can see, there is no shortage of fun things to do in Airlie Beach. 

This place offers an unparalleled experience with its diverse attractions, from the pristine sandy beaches, and vibrant Airlie Beach markets, to thrilling water adventures in the sea and scenic flights over the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef.

Coupled with day trips to the enchanting Islands and luxury stays at the best hotels, this town is truly a paradise on Earth. So, pack your flip-flops, sunscreen, and adventurous spirit, and embark on an unforgettable journey to Airlie Beach.

After all, the scenic vistas of the Queensland coast and the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef await you.