Airlie Beach Queensland

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself on a plane, a bit of a shock after so long away from travel, heading up for a few days with family in Airlie Beach, in the Whitsundays.

The 74 Whitsunday Islands lie between the north-east coast of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, a massive stretch of coral, teeming with marine life. The islands are made up of dense rainforest and white sandy beaches, and most are uninhabited.

The town of Airlie Beach on the mainland is the region’s central hub. Even with all the development of the area, they’ve managed to keep the village look.

Early morning Airlie Beach village
The Lagoon
The boardwalk
Looking out over the bay.
The marina.

The first day, after an early morning coffee in the village, my son and I headed out to explore the bay area and the Conway National Park. We started at Conway Beach, one of many breeding and resting places for marine turtles around the islands and shoreline.

Conway Beach

Next stop was Cedar Creek Falls, a delightful spot for a cool dip on a hot Queensland day.

Cedar Creek Falls

On the way out, we crossed a bridge over a little river, a lovely spot for a photo, I thought, until I was warned I was likely to lose a leg. Crocodiles wait in there for unwary tourists doing just that. I stayed in the car.

Beware of crocs.

Lunch was at Northerlies Beach Bar and Grill, on the other side of the bay from Airlie Beach.

Lunch in the heavenly Whitsundays. Very nice food, too.
Landscaped gardens surrounded by the hills of Conway National Park.

Our last stop for the day was my favourite, Shute Harbour, looking across aquamarine water towards the myriad islands of the Whitsundays.

Shute Harbour.

We headed back for a break before dinner at the marina. I pretended I was rich enough to own one of the massive vessels moored there. A lot of money at Airlie Beach.

Pizzas looking out over the marina.

Later in the week we went exploring again, this time into the countryside, through paddocks and cane fields, around to another delightful spot, Dingo Beach. The Dingo Beach pub has its tables laid out along the grass looking out over the beach and the bay. So relaxing. It also has a few motel rooms and I thought how lovely it would be to walk out of your room in the morning straight into nature. It’s in the back of my mind for the future

Dingo Beach Hotel

We stopped for a drink at various places on the way back. By this stage I had no idea where I was but that was okay. I just allowed myself to be carted along from one stunning spot to another.

We ate at a different place each night (there are endless choices, food-wise), heading back afterwards to watch the football, needless to say. We are Melburnians, after all.

Sunset at Airlie Beach

Sunshine and heat are not everyone’s cup of tea, but they are definitely mine. I think I’m probably a Queenslander, that happened to be born in Melbourne. As far as I’m concerned, if there’s a heaven, and if I get there, it will look like Queensland’s Whitsundays.

27 thoughts on “Airlie Beach Queensland

  1. Anonymous

    Beautiful photos Coral in a magical part of Australia. Love your comments about probably a Queenslander born in Melbourne. I’m that too,
    You’ve motivated me to go there again soon


  2. What a lovely post. This brought back happy memories Coral of our visit to Airlie Beach where we stayed one night and then left our hire car for a few days whilst we hopped over to Hamilton Island. It was all so beautiful and I can’t wait to return. Hope you are having a good weekend. Marion


  3. If ever you feel like you’re in beachcomber mode, check out Cape Gloucester Resort about a half hour north of Dingo Beach. We stumbled across it a few years back and it looks like something out of a novel, miles from anywhere too.


  4. Nadine Eagleson

    Coral that family holiday looked amazing and your post has made it a go to destination. Thanks and big hugs Nadine love your posts


  5. Suzanne

    Browsing through this on a very chilly Melbourne day makes Airlie Beach look very enticing (sans crocodiles) Great photos as well!


  6. Looks beautiful Coral. I went to Airlie Beach over thirty years ago, I was with a group of six girls and we used to get a different boat everyday to one of the islands
    Such great memories


  7. I have vague memories of being in Airlie Beach for Christmas, 1988. It was quite a different experience from Christmas in the northern hemisphere – what with Santa Claus wearing shorts and spending a warm afternoon at a BBQ. We subsequently went diving off the islands from a sailboat. With as much beer as the skipper was chugging while under sail I was sure we’d end up holed on a reef, but somehow we survived.


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