Known as the gateway to the unparalleled Whitsundays and the vibrant hub of Great Barrier Reef, Airlie Beach provides an essential stop on any tropical Queensland holiday. Sitting pretty on an undulating stretch of pristine coastline, this relaxed resort town is populated with a myriad of waterfront eateries, cool boutiques, and epic walking trails, not to mention it’s only a hop, skip and a jump to some of the world’s most lusted-after holiday destinations. Here’s our top 5 reasons to pay a visit: 

1. Beautiful Weather 

Airlie Beach

With a subtropical climate and an average daily temperature of 27 degrees, Airlie Beach is the perfect winter getaway. During summer the weather can be unpredictable and to top it off, boxed jellyfish are more prevalent during the hotter months. May to October is the sweet spot, with the lowest rates of rainfall and humidity, clear blue skies, and consistent sunshine. Just pack a sweater for the evenings! 

2. The Whitsundays

Whitehaven, Whitsundays

A non-negotiable when it comes to visiting Airlie Beach is to spend a day or two touring the surrounding Whitsundays – an incredible collection of 74 idyllic islands blessed with a bounty of bright coral reefs and secluded beaches. Perhaps the most famous of these is Whitehaven Beach, only accessible from Airlie via boat, helicopter, or seaplane. Upon first glance of its powder white sands and striking turquoise sea, you’ll understand why it’s a frequent feature in Tourism Top 10 lists around the world. 

3. The Great Barrier Reef 

Heron Island, Great Barrier Island

With one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World at your fingertips, exploring some of the Great Barrier Reef is a must-do! There are several tour companies in Airlie Beach offering a range of experiences, from certified scuba diving courses to sleeping under the stars at Reefworld, a permanently moored pontoon located on the Outer Great Barrier Reef. While here, swim and snorkel the crystal-clear waters for an up-close look at this amazing eco-system and its fascinating marine life.  

4. Mainland Attractions 

Conway National Park, Airlie Beach
Photo by @__helenrose on Instagram

Back on the mainland, Airlie Beach boasts plenty of its own exciting attractions. Experience tropical rainforest and hidden waterfalls on a hike or mountain bike through Conway National Park. Or explore closer to town with a stroll along Bicentennial Boardwalk, a 4 kilometre coastal walk with plenty of photo ops along the way. Cool off at Airlie Beach Lagoon or perhaps explore the coastline atop a rented stand-up paddle board. Your options for exploration are endless! 

5. Delicious Food 

The Rocks, Airlie Beach
Photo by @therocksairliebeach on Instagram

From the tempting food stalls at the Saturday morning markets to the chic restaurants along the waterfront, there are plenty of excellent eateries to be found in Airlie Beach. For a delicious breakfast and superb coffee, head to Fat Frog Beach Café, a long-standing local favourite. The award-winning Fish D’Vine & The Rum Bar serve fresh seafood and stocks over 500 rums from around word. Or indulge in mouth-watering share plates while soaking in fabulous ocean views at The Rocks Restaurant & Bar.  

Explore Airlie Beach, the Whitsundays and beyond on Cosmos’ Tropical Island Discovery

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