East Coast

A Backpacker's Guide: Top Things To Do In Airlie Beach

Posted on 24 February 2018


Airlie Beach is a small coastal town, known as the gateway to the famous 74 Whitsunday Islands. But don’t underestimate this quirky little place. There’s loads to do in Airlie Beach and surrounding area. From relaxing at the free lagoon and hiking through the rainforest up to skydiving above the wonderful white sand beaches and the Great Barrier Reef. So, put on your 'thongs' and start exploring Airlie Beach


Top Things To Do in Airlie Beach


Go for a swim at the Airlie Beach Lagoon


Go for a swim at the Airlie Beach Lagoon

Image thanks to Tourism Queensland

Still got to work on that tan? No worries! The Airlie Beach Lagoon is a free lagoon with three different pools, located between the city and the beach. There is plenty of grassed space to lay around and relax as well as free BBQ stations and picnic tables with views across the Coral Sea.



Relax on the Beach


Relax on the Airlie Beach

Image thanks to Hayley Simpson.

If you’re done with laying on the grass at the lagoon, head only a couple of meters further to the beach. However, there’s one thing you should know: Don’t go for a swim! As tempting as the crystal blue waters might seem, they are filled with dangerous jellyfishes. Just like on most beaches in Queensland, it is highly recommended to wear so-called ‘stingers suits’ when going for a swim. Hence, we advice against all sorts of spontaneous skinny dipping!

If you fancy a little stroll after relaxing for hours, the beach walk is the perfect thing to do. The 15 minutes walk takes you along the main beach, through the park and, if you around on a Saturday, pass the weekly markets.


Walk the Airlie Creek Track


Walk the Airlie Creek Track

Image thanks to TripAdvisor.

The 850 meters Airlie Creek Track  takes you out of the city and into the rainforest. The track starts at Waterson Way, and winds up the hill behind Airlie Beach. You will walk through the lush forest which is home to massive fig trees and native wildlife, such as the endangered Proserpine Rock Wallaby that can only be found in this area of Queensland. The track ends at a natural rock pool where you can dunk your feed in ice cold, clear water to cool down a little. The walk back offers stunning views over Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays in the background. In total, this walk takes you just about an hour to complete - so, no excuses!


Road trip to the Cedar Creek Falls


Road trip to the Cedar Creek Falls

Image thanks to Australia Tourism.

Only 30 minutes from Airlie Beach you’ll find the Cedar Creek Falls. Your road trip will take you through lush rain forests and picturesque cane fields before arriving at the fresh waterfalls. Go for a swim underneath the falls, explore the surrounding area and end your day with a picnic in the middle of the rainforest. You might even get lucky and see some of the local Australian residences such as turtles, lizards and colourful butterflies. If that doesn’t sound like a proper Australian day out, we don’t know what else does!  


Skydive the Whitsundays


Skydive the Whitsundays, Skydive Airlie Beach

Image thanks to Jessica Lamb.

Looking for an adrenaline kick? Skydiving in Airlie Beach will provide you with the most stunning views over the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef - no doubts there! Also, jumping out of a plane at 15.000ft will give you not only the rush of free falling for over a minute at over 220 km/hr but also the chance to enjoy the stunning views for 5-7 minutes after the parachute has been released. Undeniably, an experience you won’t forget!


Where to Stay in Airlie Beach?


Nomads Airlie Beach


Where to Stay in Airlie Beach

Image thanks to Nomads World.

Nomads Airlie Beach is the perfect place to stay before or after a trip to the Whitsundays. Located right in the heart of Airlie Beach opposite the famous swimming lagoon, Nomads is no more than 50 meters away from all that Airlie Beach has to offer. Besides modern and stylish rooms, you will find loads of beanbags spread around, which you can even use in the hostel’s own pool, making it possibly the coolest hostel in Airlie Beach. If you’re looking for luxuries of a Resort at backpacker prices, Nomads will be the place to sleep!


Base Backpackers


Base Backpackers Whitsundays

Image thanks to TripAdvisor.

Base Backpackers is set amongst 6 acres of tropical gardens with its own outdoor swimming pool and terrace. Just in case that the lagoon seems too far away after a night out at Boaty's Airlie Beach, the hostel’s in house bar.  They have nightly events such as boozy bingo to bring the entire hostel together for a fun time out. Base Backpackers in Airlie Beach will definitely provide you with some nights to remember.


Airlie Beach Magnums


Airlie Beach Magnums

Image thanks to Magnums.

This little oasis is located within the Whitsunday Village Resort Complex and across the road from the Airlie Beach Lagoon. Surrounded by lush nature, this hostel in Airlie Beach does not only offer dorms but also private rooms and deluxe cabins. The outside area offers enough space to relax as well as play a match of volleyball. If you’re looking for a more quiet and homey place, Magnums is a great option for you!


What to Eat in Airlie Beach?


The Fat Frog Cafe


What to Eat in Airlie Beach

Image thanks to Queensland Tourism.

Quirky and friendly. Unique and fresh. The Fat Frog is known as one of Airlie Beach’s favourite local hangouts. It is widely known for its amazing coffee and delicious brekky. Being located directly at the seafront, the Fat Frog Cafe is the perfect spot to enjoy some fresh homemade food while feeling the sea breeze in your face and enjoying the stunning view over Cannonvale Beach.

Their menu could be described as ‘modern cafe with a twist’. One of our favourites are their fresh fish tacos with Asian slaw and grilled corn. Have a look at the entire menu here.


Whitsunday Seafood Bar


Whitsunday Seafood Bar

Image thanks to TripAdvisor.

The Whitsunday Seafood Bar is a fantastic seafood takeaway, offering amazing fresh seafood and salads. They are known for their freshly grilled barramundi, served with a crisp Greek salad and tangy coleslaw. Simply get yourself some fish and chips and head across the street to eat on picnic tables with a view across the bay. You will feel like sitting in one of the fancy restaurants next door - without spending a fortune!


Heaven is only a boat ride away


Airlie Beach is the perfect place to start your Whitsunday Sailing adventures. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a party, adventure or simply relaxing - there’s the right boat leaving Airlie Beach for everyone. So, head out and explore the famous white sands of Whitehaven Beach, watch the stars at night and make friends of a lifetime on your boat.