Airlie Beach is always a firm favourite when it comes to stops along the East Coast of Australia and it’s hard to narrow down the best things to do in Airlie Beach!
Obviously the biggest draw is the world famous Whitsunday Islands, but there’s plenty of other incredible things to do during your stay in Airlie Beach – here are 16 of our favourites…
The Best Things to Do in Airlie Beach, Australia | 16 Top Activities
Scenic Flight Over Heart Reef
Price: AUD 265
This flight over the coral formations is an astonishing thing to do during your stay in Airlie Beach. A highlight is a heart-shaped reef best seen from a helicopter or seaplane window. You’ll see numerous white-sand beaches and coral formations while travelling over the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef.
Limited to only five passengers, a flight over Heart Reef is an intimate experience you won’t soon forget.
Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
Price: AUD 279
A scenic cruise past the Whitsundays archipelago takes you 39 nautical miles offshore from Airlie Beach for a fantastic diving experience next to the Great Barrier Reef. The technicolour coral and diverse marine life remind us of the beautiful world beneath the ocean surface. Plus, your fare contributes to the protection of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Don your snorkel and mask and explore the Great Barrier Reef during a group trip. If you prefer scuba diving, you can arrange to spend a longer time beneath the surface.
Price: AUD 319
If you have an affinity for adrenaline and extreme sports, you may feel like skydiving in Airlie Beach. The tandem skydives take place from an altitude of 15,000ft and reach speeds of up to 220 kilometres per hour. You’ll maintain freefall for 60 seconds before spending 5-7 minutes making your way to a safe landing. You’ll have a unique view of the land below during this time.
The instructors are qualified, and the experience is incredibly safe. You have nothing to worry about, despite what you may feel before jumping from a moving plane.
Visit Hill Inlet Lookout
Location: Northern end of Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia
Price: AUD 197
Whitehaven Beach has picturesque white sands and calm turquoise waters perfect for swimming. The Hill Inlet Lookout gives you a lovely vantage point from which to admire the shades of blue at this beautiful beach. It is located on Whitsundays Islands and is only accessible by boat and a short 1.3km return hike.
This is one of the most beautiful things to do from Airlie Beach, and thanks to the changing tide, the patterns in the water change daily. Keep an eye out for goannas, and remember to stick to the paths.
Jump on an Overnight Sailing Adventure
Price: AUD 975
A handful of commercial and private charters are available for an exhilarating overnight sailing adventure. You can visit Whitsunday Island and Hill Inlet Lookout during two full days spent on the water. The Whitsunday Getaway is a standout catamaran offering overnight adventures with four private cabins and en suite loos.
Spending two days snorkelling, exploring, and living at sea is an experience you won’t soon forget.
Chill by the Lagoon Swimming Pool
The Airlie Beach Lagoon is a great swimming pool to cool off in after a walk along the boardwalk. When the ocean is rough or the jellyfish are present in the water, this can be the best place to swim in Airlie Beach.
The pool is 4,300 sqm and has shaded areas nearby, perfect for a lazy day at the oceanside.
Walk on the White Sands of Whitehaven Beach
Price: AUD 125
The sand on Whitehaven Beach is so fine you’ll hear it squeak beneath your feet. It is, however, more interesting as the sand here consists of 98% silica (quartz) and is the reason for the beach’s bright white colour.
Stroll along this seven-kilometre long beach while sinking your feet into the sand and walking through the warm water along the shore. You can reach Whitehaven Beach via ferries, yachts, and power boats that offer day trips from Airlie Beach.
Set Off On A Jetski Safari
Price: AUD 113
A two-hour jet ski experience from Airlie Beach will leave your adrenaline pumping and your diary filled with stories of the coral and marine life. This safari takes you past coves and beaches as you follow your guide to Whitsundays Island.
While moving across the water surface, you’ll get glimpses of the turtles, whales, and dugongs that call the area home.
Stroll the Bicentennial Walkway
Stroll along the Bicentennial Walkway, which runs 3.9 km along the coastline and the wharf. It is a comfortable setting in which to exercise, as demonstrated by the many locals who use this path. As mentioned above, it leads to the Airlie Beach lagoon, the perfect place to cool off.
Hike to Honeyeater Lookout
The Honeyeater lookout is a scenic highlight of an 8km round trip from Airlie Beach. While the hike is moderate, it does have steep sections and takes 3 hours. Fortunately, the impressive views towards the harbour make it worth the effort.
As with all outdoor activities, packing the right gear and water is essential. Remember to check the weather prediction to ensure you hike in pleasant conditions. While sticking to the path, keep an eye out for kookaburras, ospreys, and herons.
Whitsunday Great Walk in Conway National Park
Price: Free on foot
The Whitsunday Great Walk is a hiking trail called the Conway Circuit, which covers 27 km from Airlie Beach to the Forestry Road car park inside the Conway National Park. The park extends south from Airlie Beach and offers camping, hikes, mountain biking, and fishing.
Staying in a campervan or tent here is a tranquil experience. The area is the birthplace of the Birri-Gubba Nation, who are the traditional custodians of the land. When visiting, it is important to act respectfully by keeping this area’s cultural and ecological significance in mind.
The outstanding natural diversity is visible in the variety of plant and animal life present. If you are a lucky twitcher, you can tick off two of Australia’s mound-building birds, the Australian brush-turkey and the Orange-footed scrubfowl.
Lions Airlie Beach Markets
This community market is the ideal thing to do in Airlie Beach on a Saturday morning. Starting from 7 am, the food stalls and local craftspeople set up shop along the Airlie Esplanade.
The market is a great place to meet with friends for a coffee and a bite to eat. Things begin to wind down at midday, leaving you plenty of time to tackle other activities.
Private Tuk-Tuk Tour
Price: AUD 30
For a small fee, you can rest your feet while you are guided through Airlie Beach on this pedal-powered tour. The private nature of the tour means you can choose from a variety of options to suit your interests, including a tour focused on food or simply a sunset ride.
From the Port of Airlie to the Coral Sea Marina, your guide will share with you the best things to do in Airlie from a local’s perspective.
Take a Trike Tour of Airlie Beach
Price: AUD 55
You’ll be hard to miss while travelling through town on this custom trike. The shiny chrome, yellow paint, and deep rumble of the engine make this tour a stand-out experience. While cruising around Airlie Beach, your guide will impart knowledge of the area via a Bluetooth headset.
If you enjoyed your trike tour around Airlie Beach, consider the three-hour tour to Cedar Creek Falls in the Conway National Park.
Try Your Hand at Fishing
Price: AUD 165
Whether you are a seasoned angler or you simply want to cast a line to sink into your holiday spirit, Airlie Beach offers excellent areas for fishing. Heading out with a fishing guide will help you navigate where to go, what tackle to use, what bait to bring, and the recreational fishing rules.
While it is possible to bring your rod to attempt fishing from the beach, the added adventure of a boat trip makes a fishing charter worth it. You can expect to catch coral trout, mackerel, and queenfish. Best of all, you can have your catch of the day cooked for you at a local restaurant.
Hold on Tight for a Jet Boat Ride
Price: AUD 82
If you don’t mind getting wet, this 30-minute jet boat ride is an adrenaline-pumping way to spend a day in Airlie Beach. Performing 180s, 360s, drifts, and power stops, the captain ensures everyone on board is having bucket loads of fun.
You can expect humorous commentary on this tour as it is less formal. In addition, you’ll receive GoPro photos from the camera on the front of the boat. If you want to bring your camera, make sure it is waterproof. You can lock other belongings in a dry small storage box onboard.