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How To Spend 48 Hours in Airlie Beach, Australia

Airlie Beach Lagoon
Airlie Beach Lagoon | © Hayley Simpson
You can see a lot with only two days in Airlie Beach. From breakfast to dinner and the rainforest to the Great Barrier Reef, here’s a guide to spending 48 hours in Airlie Beach.

Day one

Morning

Breakfast at Fat Frog Beach Cafe

Cafe, Australian, $$$
Everyone's catered for at Fat Frog Beach Cafe
Everyone's catered for at Fat Frog Beach Cafe | Everyone's catered for at Fat Frog Beach Cafe

Start your morning with breakfast at Fat Frog Beach Cafe. A favourite with both visitors and locals, Fat Frog has a perfect waterfront location in Airlie Beach. Breakfast dishes include the Green Frog with pea, broadbean and mint fritters; and the Fat Frog with bacon, chorizo, steak, poached eggs and sweet potato wedges. It also has menu options for kids and even the family pet. They truly treat everyone like family at Fat Frog Beach Cafe.

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Meal service:

Breakfast, Lunch

Atmosphere:

Casual, Family Friendly
Mon - Fri:
7:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sat - Sun:
8:00 am - 2:00 pm

Explore Conway National Park

Natural Feature, Park

Work off your breakfast at Conway National Park, which is home a variety of landscapes, including private beaches, tropical rainforest, open forest and mangroves. Two easy trails to explore from the national park’s day use area include the Coastal Fringe Circuit and Hayward Gully. But if you have some bushwalking experience, check out the 5.4-kilometre (3.4-mile) Mt Rooper Circuit, which has amazing views of the Whitsunday Passage and islands.

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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Scenic

Afternoon

Pizza time at The Deck Restaurant & Bar

Restaurant, Cafe, Bar, Australian, Italian, Seafood, $$$
Lunchtime pizzas are on the menu at The Deck
Lunchtime pizzas are on the menu at The Deck | Lunchtime pizzas are on the menu at The Deck

Head back to Airlie Beach’s main street for lunch at The Deck Restaurant & Bar. A relatively new establishment, it’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. It serves pizzas from 11am until late. The pizza menu features combinations like prawn and chorizo, balsamic-glazed chicken and North African vegetarian. The lunch menu also includes popular dishes like fish and chips, and mediterranean pasta.

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Meal service:

All Day

Atmosphere:

Casual, Outdoors
Sun - Thu:
7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Fri - Sat:
7:30 am - 11:00 pm

Relax at the Airlie Beach Lagoon

Swimming Pool
Airlie Beach Lagoon
Airlie Beach Lagoon | © Hayley Simpson

Spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the best of Airlie Beach. Wander the main street, with its many independent and chain store clothing boutiques. Then relax at the Airlie Beach Lagoon, which is a free self-chlorinating lagoon. There are three different pools for toddlers, children and adults wanting to swim laps. The lagoon is surrounded by picnic tables, with ocean views and open grassed spaces as well. If you prefer ocean swimming, visit Boathaven Beach.

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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

Outdoors

Evening

Visit Fish D'Vine & The Rum Bar

Bar, Restaurant, Australian, Seafood, $$$
The Whitsundays on a plate
The Whitsundays on a plate | © Fish D'Vine and Rum Bar

Fish D’Vine proclaim that they’re a must do experience in Airlie Beach, as they serve the ‘Whitsundays on a plate’. Their signature dish is called the Seafood Indulgence, which is a feast for two or more people. It’s a two-tier tower that’s overflowing with hot and cold seafood, including tiger prawns, Tasmanian smoked salmon and scallops. The Rum Bar also aims to serve the best mojitos outside of Cuba and stocks over 560 rums from around the world. If you want to keep the party going, Magnums has been Airlie Beach’s #1 party bar for over a decade.

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Meal service:

Dinner

Atmosphere:

Casual
Mon - Sun:
5:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Day two

Morning

Wake up at Village Cafe Restaurant & Bar

Restaurant, Bar, Cafe, Australian, $$$
Enjoy eggs benedict at the Village
Enjoy eggs benedict at the Village | Enjoy eggs benedict at the Village

For your second morning in Airlie Beach, head to Village Cafe Restaurant & Bar for breakfast (or brunch if you partied at Magnums the night before). All the best breakfast dishes are served here, including a big breakfast, pancakes with a blueberry compote, French toast with cinnamon sugar and maple syrup, and eggs benedict.

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Meal service:

All Day

Atmosphere:

Casual, Outdoors
Mon - Sun:
7:30 am - 9:30 pm

Now it’s time to do a day trip from Airlie Beach and explore the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday islands. Cruise Whitsundays is a reputable eco-certified tourism operator that offers both Great Barrier Reef day trips and ferry transfers to Hamilton Island.

The day trip includes a visit to their Heart Pontoon on Hardy Reef.

Here you can snorkel, do a certified dive, spot marine life in the underwater observatory or semi-submersible, or relax on the sun deck. Alternatively, do a scenic flight to see the infamous Heart Reef from the air.

Day trip to Whitehaven Beach

Natural Feature
Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands
Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands | © Martin Valigursky / Alamy Stock Photo

Another option is doing a day trip to award-winning Whitehaven Beach. Its pure white silica sand and Coral Sea turquoise waters are world famous. The beach stretches for seven kilometres (4.3 miles). Whitehaven Beach is located on Whitsunday Island, which is coincidentally the largest of the Whitsunday islands. While visiting the beach, make sure you check out the views from Hill Inlet.

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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

White Sand, Scenic, Touristy

Evening

Clipper Restaurant, Bar & Lounge

Bar, Restaurant, Australian, Seafood, $$$
Poolside dining at Coral Sea Resort
Poolside dining at Coral Sea Resort | © Clipper Restaurant

Located poolside at the luxurious Coral Sea Resort, celebrate your last night in Airlie Beach at the award-winning Clipper Restaurant, Bar & Lounge. There’s a five-course tasting menu available, which comes with or without paired wines. The dinner menu also includes a lot of seafood and meat options, including a 48-hour braised beef short rib, beetroot-cured salmon gravlax and king fish ceviche.

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These recommendations were updated on June 28, 2018 to keep your travel plans fresh.