Chill out and take it slow in this laid-back Aussie town on Queensland’s Whitsunday Coast. Stroll to the Coral Sea Marina and set sail towards Whitehaven Beach, or trek through the tropical rainforest at Conway National Park, followed by an oceanfront meal. Here’s our selection of the best places to stay in Airlie Beach.
Indulge in a luxurious retreat at the Heart Hotel and Gallery Whitsundays. High ceilings, spacious verandas and timber-clad finishes add to the elegant architecture, while shiny ceramic floors and contemporary furniture give the hotel a stylishly modern feel. Art lovers will admire the on-site boutique gallery on the top floor, which features monthly exhibitions from local artists. Swing by the restaurant and lounge bar for delicious cocktails or some local cuisine.
Do things differently and spend a nautical night in one of these unique boat bungalows. Freedom Shores also has suites and a beach shack with a private garden. Dine while overlooking the ocean at Northerlies Beach Bar and Grill Restaurant, known locally for its sumptuous seafood platter; it also serves a range of vegetarian meals and home-made pizzas. Take a cocktail or beer out to the water’s edge for a truly relaxing holiday moment.
Choose between an activity-packed adventure or unwinding by the sea – or even better, do both – with a stay at the oceanfront Coral Sea Resort Hotel. Award-winning sailing tours across the Great Barrier Reef set off from the Coral Sea Marina, along with speedboat excursions, jet-ski rentals and helicopter flights for adrenaline junkies. If relaxation is calling, hang out by the pool, or be pampered in the resort’s spa. The Rocks Restaurant, Bar and Pool Club is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat and hang out.
The Water’s Edge Resort’s self-contained apartments, on a hillside among lush tropical gardens, provide stunning views across Airlie Beach and the Coral Sea. Take in the scenes from the comfort of your private balcony while soaking in the hot tub or one of the complex’s infinity pools. The apartment decor is Balinese-inspired, and each one has amenities to help make you feel at home.
On the Esplanade, in the centre of town, is the Airlie Beach Hotel – a local hotspot known for its pub, where you can grab a hearty plate of high-quality grub, enjoy live entertainment and drink into the early hours. There’s an on-site bottle shop for stocking up on drinks before heading out, and the rooms are clean, stylish and provide views out across the ocean. Bottom’s up!
Mantra Club Croc is all about the location – only a two-minute walk away from the Whitsunday Shopping Centre, Whitsunday Marine Club and Coral Esplanade. The traditional Queenslander-style building offers a glimpse into the region’s past, contrasted by its contemporary accommodation and laid-back tropical vibe. Hotel rooms have freshly designed interiors with coastal-inspired decor and modern amenities to ensure a comfortable stay.
How does a hilltop massage on your private balcony overlooking the whole of Airlie Beach and ocean sound? This luxury aparthotel is only a seven-minute walk from the town centre yet provides blissful seclusion and all the amenities to create a home from home – as well as a jacuzzi, 20m infinity pool and gym.
The spacious resort suites at Club Wyndham Airlie Beach have open-plan layouts with large windows letting in all the natural Australian light. Open up the doors to the balcony for sweeping views and to feel the sea breeze – the resort pool has stunning scenery, too. Choose to dine in the Tides at Airlie Beach restaurant or have your meals delivered to your room.
Arrive in style by taking the lift up and walking across the bridge over the pool. Once you finish unpacking, slap on your sunscreen and soak up the Aussie rays from the tropical decking area at the French-Caribbean-designed Mantique Whitsunday. Take a dip in the 20m infinity pool, or sink into the bubbling hot tub while gazing out across the bay.
The luxury apartments, villas and penthouses at Mirage Whitsundays are some of the most exclusive in the area. Incredible ocean views are matched by vast open living areas, stylish private pools (in the villas and penthouses) and sleek contemporary design. There’s even a gym if you want to work up a sweat while on holiday.
Save your pennies in style with a stay at the Colonial Palms Motor Inn. This budget-friendly accommodation is a stone’s throw from the town centre and its cafes, bars and restaurants. The bedrooms are larger than average, and there are three swimming pools surrounded by palm trees, including a shallow one for children. Dine at the on-site restaurant, which offers a range of dishes, including fillet steak, locally caught fish and vegetarian meals – but we’d recommend trying the boned half duck and lamb shanks.
For more great places to stay in Australia, check out our pick of the best hotels to book in the Whitsunday Islands, bookable on Culture Trip.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
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