Cruise ships anchor further from Airlie Beach town, carefully navigating through the Great Barrier Reef, as to not to disturb any of the delicate sea creatures. The passengers are then tendered ashore and dropped off either at Abell Point Marina or at Port of Airlie. The two locations are metres away from each other and are less than a mile away from the main street of the resort-town. Some smaller ships would drop passengers off at Hamilton Island, about 1 hour by ferry from Airlie Beach and a destination of its own. There is a public bus that can take you to the markets of Airlie Beach and it stops metres away from Abell Point Marina. The Marina is where many of tour boats depart from as well. There are tourist facilities at the Marina, including three restaurants, a café, 300 cars parking lot, relaxation areas, parkland and a helipad. The nearest Airports are Hamilton Island Airport (1 hour by ferry away) and Proseprine Airport, 25 min by car away (26km distance).
The local currency is the Australian dollar (AUD). Australia has eliminated the penny and cash transactions are rounded up to the nearest nickel. All major credit cards are accepted everywhere. There are plenty of ATMs and exchanging money is easy. You can exchange cash at one of the money exchange shops and bank offices at the city centre. Make sure you check the market rate and ask if there would be any commission charges and fees. If you use your cards to draw cash from an ATM, make sure you have notified your bank you would be spending time abroad and you are aware of any transaction fees. More and more banks and financial companies now tend to offer cards with no additional fees when using abroad, so it might pay off for you to check if you can get such card before travelling.
Opening hours and bank holidays. The opening hours in Airlie Beach are quite generous, as this is a year-round tourist destination. Most shops and shopping centres are generally opened from 9 am to 8 pm, with some of them working until as late as 10pm and only some of them are closed on Sundays. Many of them would work even on Christmas Day. There are number of National bank holidays as well and some shops will be closed, so do make yourself familiar with those, especially if your time is limited.
Tipping in Australia is not as common as it is in Europe and the United States. There are jars for tips, but they are hardly used. You can tip if you are happy with the service, but you don’t have to. There are no service charges added to your bill at restaurants either.
It is common knowledge that English is the language of Airlie Beach, so you would have no problems being understood.
The local time in Darwin is GMT+10 and the International dialling code is + 617.
Things To Do
There is no sign of a doubt, Airlie Beach is mostly famous for being the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef – the largest coral reef system on the planet and the only visible from space, composed of 2,900 individual reefs, 900 islands and spreading over 133,000 square miles (344,400sqm). The reef is a World Heritage Site and an important part of local groups of Aboriginal descendants’ culture and spirituality. It has lost more than half of its coral cover since 1985, so protecting it and lowering the impact of tourism and fishing on it is vital. There are loads of ways to see the reef even in a day. The quickest and most scenic one would be to take a helicopter or a seaplane tour, but you can also book a boat trip, go snorkelling, paddleboarding, scuba diving, go on a glass-bottom boat, book a “seawalker” trip – any kind of sea-related activity under the sun for any budget and time-frame. Beware of the fact that there is a danger of being stung by dangerous jellyfish when you swim and snorkel in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Most companies that organise tours provide protective gear.
Second on our list must be the most photographed beach in the world – Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island. A pristine white, almost luminescent sand is being washed away by turquoise, aquamarine and bright green waters. It’s seven kilometres long and it’s protected by the Whitsunday Islands National Park in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. It’s best seen from a helicopter or a seaplane, but you can also take a boat tour to this picture-perfect beach.
Hamilton Island and Daydream Island are amongst the most-often visited islands out of the 74 Whitsunday Islands. They offer everything that Australia and Queensland are all about - tropical sunny weather, laid-back and friendly locals, any kind of sea-related activity under the sun, pristine beaches, excellent food and wine and total relaxation. Cape Gloucester at Hideaway Bay is the locals’ favourite spot – an area about an hour drive from Airlie Beach with beaches, secluded coves, swaying palms and lovely bars and restaurants.
If you don’t feel like venturing too far from Airlie Beach, there is plenty to do in town as well. Enjoy a safe swim without the fear of jellyfish at the gorgeous, free for all Airlie Beach Lagoon – a salt-water man-made lagoon in the heart of Airlie Beach. Walk along the Bicentennial Walkway – enjoy the 4 kilometres of sea views and refreshing breeze all the way from Airlie Beach Lagoon to Cannonvale Beach. The Airlie Creek Track will take you through rare flora and fauna that can only be seen here, such as the Whitsunday Bottle Tree and the Proserpine Rock Wallaby. Conway National Park is the park nextdoor - a peaceful, recreational area with more secluded beaches and panoramic vistas.
All Cruises and Flight details are subject to availability and price variation. Final package price is available upon payment of deposit and confirming your ATOL & ABTA protected cruise holiday