The vibrant hub of the Whitsundays, land of sun-kissed sand, sparkling water and beach side fun, Airlie Beach is a must see on the East Coast. No doubt you’ll be busy diving, snorkelling and escaping on cruises, but what about when you (and your wallet) need a bit of a rest? Here are 5 free things to do in Airlie Beach for when you need to save some cash.
1. Visit the Airlie Beach Markets
If you’re in Airlie Beach on a Saturday, head down to the esplanade and peruse the various stalls along its length. You’ll find pieces from resident artists, handmade jewellery, clothes and a great collection of souvenirs and keepsakes. There’s also fresh fruit and veggies available as well as lots of fun entertainment, so grab some tropical fruit and munch away as you watch local performers do their thing.
Airlie Beach Markets
Address: Airlie Esplanade, beachfront near the Sailing Club
Hours: Every Saturday 7am – 1pm
2. Check out ‘The Lagoon’
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Sorry, this isn’t some sort of hidden pirate lair, but it’s just about as exciting! Right in the centre of town, The Lagoon is Airlie Beach’s local water park. Complete with a man-made beach, grassy banks and plenty of tropical trees, this is a great spot to relax – and you don’t have to worry about jellyfish. There are also BBQ facilities available so you can cook up some fresh seafood and enjoy the sun.
Airlie Beach Lagoon
Address:Shute Harbour Rd, Airlie Beach QLD
Hours: Lifeguards from 9am – 7pm during winter and 8am – 9pm during summer.
3. Discover smaller beaches
If you still can’t get enough of the beach but want to escape the crowds, heading a little out of Airlie Beach for the day can be a good idea. Explore Boathaven Beach, with smooth white sand and stunning views of the Coral Sea or head to Hydeaway Beach, which lives up to its name. Both are less than an hours drive from main Airlie Beach, in fact, Boathaven is just 5 minutes by car!
There’s also Dingo Beach, which is great for snorkelling, or Conway Beach, which is popular with kite surfers. Take your pick!
4. Visit Cedar Creek Falls
It’s not just the beach where you can swim in Airlie! For a slice of paradise, take a drive inland and visit the stunning Cedar Creek Falls. Water flows almost all year, so you’re guaranteed to witness some spectacular waterfall action. If you’re feeling active, you can hike to the top of the falls to catch some breathtaking views, or relax at the pool below amongst wildlife. Cedar Creek Falls are home to butterflies, goannas and platypus, so keep your eyes peeled! There’s also a glow worm cave at nearby Curtis Falls, so if you’re around after dark, go take a peak.
5. Go hiking
• L I G H T T H E W A Y • • • • • Kingfisher Circuit is a walking track that lies deep in the Conway National Park, a great little 2 hour walk through some interesting Forest, a small section of a much larger hike, The Conway Circuit, which has numerous camp sites along the way to finish the hike over 2 nights. These bridges are only a short walk from the the start of kingfisher trail.
If you need a break from relaxing in the sun or bobbing in the ocean, then check out Airlie Beach’s incredible nature hikes. Conway National Park has plenty of rainforest walks on offer, for beginners to expert hikers. Situated on the hills above Airlie Beach, you’ll be able to take in spectacular views of the sparkling sea as you go.
While you’re there, have a go at the Conway Circuit; the famous 28 km stroll along the coast that will take you past all kinds of wildlife and landscapes!