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Best Ways to Relax and Unwind in Airlie Beach – the Gateway to the Whitsundays

Updated on February 17, 2014

Gateway to the Whitsundays

Airlie Beach Queensland Australia
Airlie Beach Queensland Australia | Source

Many travellers use Airlie Beach as a stepping stone to explore the islands of the Whitsundays – there are 74 islands in total so there is much to see and do on the calm blue waters of the Coral Sea in the Great Barrier Reef region of Northern Queensland, Australia or on any of the islands. Back on shore at Airlie, take time out to relax and unwind down at the lagoon, stroll the boardwalk to Cannonvale or hire a jeep for the twenty minute drive to Shute Harbour.

The Lagoon – Airlie Beach

On a warm day, cool off in the waters of the lagoon, a man made swimming retreat surrounded by beach sand, grassed areas and tropical plants. The lagoon was built as an alternative to swimming in the bay as a protection against the stinging box jelly fish that inhabit the northern waters from October to May each year. The depth of the pools are designed for everyone from toddlers to serious swimmers so this is a place for the whole family to get in the water and enjoy.

The Lagoon, Airlie Beach

The Lagoon, Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia:
Airlie Beach QLD, Australia

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Take a Boat or Ferry from Airlie Beach

Abel Point Marina -- Shingley Beach
Abel Point Marina -- Shingley Beach | Source

The Boardwalk

Cannonvale queensland:
Cannonvale QLD, Australia

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The Boardwalk – Cannonvale

When the tide is in the boardwalk offers a great place to walk along the water’s edge between AirlieBeach and Cannonvale. Ideal for a sunset stroll or a morning’s brisk walk. This is a great way to experience the fresh sea air of the Whitsundays. For the fit and adventurous the return walk heads back up the hill for a panoramic view of AirlieBeach, the new Port of Airlie Marina and the islands beyond.

Cannonvale Beach Queensland Australia
Cannonvale Beach Queensland Australia | Source

Drive to Shute Harbour

Shute Harbour, Queensland:
Shute Harbour QLD 4802, Australia

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The Scenic Drive – Shute Harbour

Hire a jeep at Airlie Beach and take a pleasant 15 kilometre drive through Conway National Park and the hills studded with lush tropical rainforest before arriving at ShuteHarbour. A great place for a light lunch overlooking the water, sail boats and not too distant islands or stroll along the jetty and watch the ferries as they come and go from Daydream, Long or Hamilton island.

The ferries run at regular intervals throughout the day from Abel Point Marina or Shute Harbour to and from the islands. It is best to book in the peak season and school holidays though to be sure of getting a seat. Still, if you miss the ferry it's a pretty good excuse for staying another night at one of the resorts.

Take the Scenic Route to Shute Harbour

Shute Harbour Queensland Australia
Shute Harbour Queensland Australia | Source

The Whitsundays

The Whitsundays offer international travellers the chance to experience Australia at its best. Warm balmy days are followed by the cool sea breezes at night to provide an idyllic atmosphere for out door activities in and out of the water during the day. Dine at the water’s edge for lunch or dinner alfresco style or seek refuge inside from cool air conditioned restaurants when needed. There is a myriad of places to eat and drink fusing together a wide variety of local cuisine and menus from other cultures.

Days in the sun and on the water, nights that come alive with music and people from all over the world, makes Airlie Beach the perfect holiday destination for all.

All photos remain the property of William Wilton 2010

© 2010 Karen Wilton


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    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Thank you for taking the journey with me Pastella. Airlie Beach is wonderful, hope to see you this way soon.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A well-written hub that really makes me feel I'd love to visit. The photos are lovely and it truly is a beautiful place to live.

    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Raymond that is one fancy yacht. Can't begin to imagine what it costs but I do know it is way out my price range. I'll have to settle for the ferry or the tinnie if I want to explore the 74 islands of the Whitsundays!

    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Oh Eiddwen, you would love it! One day you can come visit and we'll walk along the beach or take a ferry ride to one of the islands. Perhaps by the time you get here, we'll have a sail boat and can explore all 74 islands. This is truly a writer's paradise.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      Wow that was quite the trip and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey.

      You brought that to life with you use of words plus pictures.

      I've got to go and check my chicken that's in the oven and then you can take me on holiday again. An up and awesome here.

      Take care Karanda.

    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      8 years ago from Australia

      Eileen I am so sorry you missed some of the best places in this country. I can't believe they wanted to charge so much for a powered site. The Australian dollar is at an all time high which is supposed to be a great thing for tourists but to hear this it doesn't make any sense.

      In the meantime I hope to bring Australia to you with my Hubs, small consolation I know, but I've got some fantastic photos in the vault. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      We recently did a trip around australia and went to these places but did not stay because we could not afford it. That is the trouble with beautiful places like this.

      We also missed the gold coast for the same reason. We had our own self contained caravan with solar and yet some of the places wanted $70 to $80 dollars a night for a powered site. Just too much for us but still lovely place. I think if they charged less they would have more tourists and they would actually stay longer in the towns and spend more money while there. Great hub thanks for sharing

    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      8 years ago from Australia

      Definitely RedElf, this is a beautiful part of the world. While it is starting to be developed there is still plenty of unspoiled natural rainforest in the area and there is much being done to maintain the pristine environment.

    • RedElf profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      Well, now I have to add another item to my list of "must visit someday" places! Thanks so much fr sharing your part of the world.

    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      8 years ago from Australia

      It is a most inspirational place for writing b.Malin, which is why I spend way too many hours looking at the view over my laptop, tapping away at the keys!

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      8 years ago

      It sounds and looks like Paradise! As a poet and a walker...I'd probably be in Heaven expressing myself there! Looking forward to reading more of your works.

    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      8 years ago from Australia

      Great to hear from you Tanya, perfect weather for sailing, fishing or sipping cocktails at the beach!

    • Karanda profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Wilton 

      8 years ago from Australia

      Simone, it is even better in real life than the photos! Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      Tanya Spoehr 

      8 years ago

      My travel taste buds are tantalised!! What an absolutely devine destination!!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh how nice it all sounds! I'd love to see the Whitsundays in person someday. Lovely photos!


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