Airlie Beach & Whitsundays Travel Diary

Staying at Airlie Beach

Recently I read that Australia is the most Instagrammed country in the world and you can see why. The oceans hugging its shores greatly contribute to this phenomenon.  After a week in the Tropical North Queensland visiting Cairns, Mossman Gorge and Fitzroy Island, we drove 630km south to explore the Whitsundays region.

We arrived at Airlie Beach just before sunset. Coming over the hill, I felt a slight resemblance of a tourist town somewhere along the Mediterranean coast only this was in the tropics. Airlie Beach is the heart of the Whitsundays region. It’s probably where most visitors, who come to explore the islands, stay. There is a wide range of accommodations to meet different budgets and it’s fairly easy to book tours or activities. We had zero bookings and organized our tours once we got there.

Airlie Beach, Whitsundays
Airlie Beach, Whitsundays
Airlie Beach, Whitsundays
Airlie Beach, Whitsundays
We stayed at the Airlie Beach Hotel and had a lovely room overlooking the beach. Being able to enjoy a glass of wine on the balcony felt like a real holiday to us. In terms of the location, it was absolutely perfect, although pretty much everything in this town is within walking distance. Staying on the Esplanade we were in the center of all the cafes, shops and restaurants.

airlie beach hotel view

Hiking up to the Hill Inlet

Most tours will take you to this place, the Hill Inlet. It is on the northern end of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays region. It is quiet easily one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth.

Hill Inlet, Whitsunday Islands
Hill Inlet, Whitsunday Islands
Hill Inlet, Whitsunday Islands
Hill Inlet, Whitsunday Islands
Hill Inlet, Whitsunday Islands

Sailing around the Whitsunday Islands

Day tours will typically take you the Hill Inlet, the Whitehaven beach and a snorkel/diving spot. I would say it’s best to pick a tour that offers snorkeling and diving as oppose to just snorkeling.  This breaks people into groups and you will probably have more time in the water. Another option is to explore the islands over a few days. There are sailing and kayaking trips that will take you out for a few days. It’s a great way to escape the crowds of day tours if you have the funds.

Whitsunday Islands
Whitsunday Islands Sailboat

Lounging on the Whitehaven Beach

The Whitehaven beach is the most photographed beach in Australia. Regardless of the tour, you’ll spend a few hours at this gorgeous spot.whitehaven beach, whitsundays

whitehaven beach

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef

I got to swim with Wally the Wrasse. You might come across turtles, baraccudas and Nemo, but Wally the Wrasse stole my heart.  Throughout the trip we found ourselves in close proximate to the reef and beings, who live in our oceans. The talks of temperatures rising in Australia and how it will negatively impact the Great Barrier Reef come to mind. To think that the Reef and the life it supports can be destroyed due to our lack of timely action is a continues worry. Our awareness and involvement in making smart decisions today will ensure that irreversible loss of habitat doesn’t happen.

little fin fish

swimmin with fish

wally wrasse

yellow fin fish


little fish

  • Beautiful photos Ines!! I haven't been to Airlie Beach in a long time, makes me want to go back! Do you mind if I ask how you took your underwater photos?? Something I failed at miserably on my last tropical holiday (destroyed my phone =/ oops!).

    • Ines said:

      Thank you Lecinda :). What a place it is. Really laid back atmosphere, great service and lot's to see and do. We will def be going back.