The Heart of the Great Barrier Reef
This sunny port on Australia’s northeast coast is in a perpetual state of vacation, and with the Great Barrier Reef on its doorstep, it’s easy to see why. Small in size but with a beachy, cosmopolitan vibe, Airlie Beach offers excellent shopping, dining, and nightlife, plus a long list of outdoor activities that range from sunbathing to soaring in a seaplane.
The Bicentennial Boardwalk stretches the length of town and offers an easy stroll, stunning coastal views, and access to four nearby beaches. With shops, cafés, and restaurants all along the way, it’s the perfect way to acquaint yourself with the area. Airlie’s white sand beaches are ideal for laying out, but from November through May box jellyfish frequent the shoreline. For a safe swimming option that’s popular with locals, head to Airlie Beach Lagoon—a manmade swimming spot with calm waters and plenty of shade.
There are endless options for day tours out to the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding Whitsunday Islands. Take a leisurely cruise, speed along by jetboat or jet ski, or take to the skies in a helicopter or seaplane to experience the Queensland Coast’s breathtaking natural wonder. Want to see the reef from a different perspective? Snorkel or scuba and experience a vibrant world beneath the waves.