Sail Whitsundays

The Whitsundays is home to 74 islands sprinkled across the Great Barrier Reef. You’d be hard-pressed to see all of them during a single visit, but a day sailing these azure waters and island hopping is a must during a trip to Airlie Beach. Vessels range from small speedboats to luxury catamarans and everything in between. Pack your swimsuit and sunscreen and enjoy sunbaking on pristine white-sand beaches, snorkelling and discovering your own island paradise. Be sure to check out Heart Reef, an iconic coral formation shaped like a heart. 

Sailing Airlie Beach

Cedar falls

When it’s time to escape the tourist bustle of town, get back down to earth at Cedar Creek Falls, about half an hours’ drive south-west of Airlie Beach. Set in a natural rock amphitheatre, the falls cascade into an idyllic water hole and are particularly spectacular during the wet season. Pack a picnic and enjoy a day lounging by the lagoon, keeping your eyes peeled for turtles and small fish. If you have the energy, bring a pair of sturdy shoes and hike to the top of the falls for rewarding views.

Cedar falls Airlie beach

Whitehaven Beach

It regularly makes the list of the world’s best beaches, and it’s little wonder why. Whitehaven Beach is quite simply superb – more than seven kilometres of blinding-white silica sand fringed by a turquoise lagoon. You can stop here for an hour of so as part of an island-hopping daytrip, but it’s better to spend a day to fully appreciate the beauty of one of the Whitsunday’s most precious jewels. See the shifting tides create a magical swirl of colour at Hill Inlet, at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach, and get your skipper to anchor at Tongue Point, on nearby Whitsunday Island, so you can climb to the lookout for spectacular inlet views.

Whitehaven Beach

Saturday Market

Shop till you drop at the atmospheric Whitsunday Lions Airlie Beach Community Market on the foreshore. Held every Saturday morning, the market brings together the wares of local artisans, designers and fresh food producers. Soak up the entertainment, slurp on a fresh-fruit sorbet and peruse the range of stalls, packed with everything from leafy greens, potted herbs and bric-a-brac to locally made jewellery, blown-glass souvenirs and crafts.

Airlie Beach Lagoon

Summer at Airlie Beach is stinger season, and unfortunately that means many of the beaches – as beautiful as they are – are off-limits. The Airlie Beach Lagoon in the centre of town is a man-made swimming spot where you can frolic in the water (and even build a sandcastle) without any nasty surprises. The free lagoon overlooks the coral sea, is patrolled by life guards and features a large swimming pool with lap lane, shaded kids pool, sand beach and sprawling lawns with barbecue and picnic facilities. BYO togs.

Airlie Beach Lagoon

 

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