Airlie Beach, my kind of paradise

Airlie Beach lands on my top 5 list of most beautiful places I’ve see as of yet.


It’s commercialized because of the popular dive trips that leave from the port for The Whitsundays. There are a lot of backpackers, and it’s very much on the tourist trail.


If you can get past that, however, you’ll see the raw beauty that lurks beneath.


Always a fan of vivid colors and contrasts, the color of the water in Airlie Beach is what did it for me. I was on the Greyhound bus just coming over the ridge when I spotted the ocean. I had a moment where the breath was knocked out of me, it was that pretty.


I’ve been to tropical climates and beautiful beaches, but Airlie takes the prize for best aquamarine water hue. There should definitely be a prize for that. If you want to know my favorite color, it’s the one found in these pictures of the ocean.


My first day in Airlie, exhausted after an overnight bus, I sat on the grass overlooking the ocean and thanked nobody in particular that my travels had lets me to this radiant spot.


And even with Airlie’s touristy nature, I was surprised to find how much I liked and enjoyed the little Aussie town on the coast. There was a healthy smoothie place I frequented every morning, a second hand bookstore I bought some great finds from, a man-made lagoon I dipped my toes in on the humid days, and a refreshing walk along the coast that led me to a funky cafe where the locals hang out.


The only downside about Airlie, as is the case in Cairns, is that most people don’t swim in the ocean because there are too many box jellyfish. That’s why the lagoon is so well looked after and such a popular spot to relax by the water. The waters along the coast of tropical Queensland are a dangerous place during the months of October to May.


I really enjoyed the nightlife in Airlie as well. Being full of 20-something backpackers, it has a decent nightlife and a variety of cheap food & drink deals. Because it is such a small town, it’s not an over the top party vibe, and comes off as much more laid back. It’s normal to wear “thongs” as the Aussies call them (flip flops for you Americans) to clubs and bars. I enjoy that beachy style of nightlife.


I would even go so far as to say that Airlie was the only place on my East Coast travels where I felt completely relaxed and at peace. It’s a place that reminds you to slow down, take it easy, and enjoy the view. It’s a place that fits my description of paradise.


Have you ever been to Airlie Beach? What’s your favorite spot on the coast of Queensland?

Mimi McFadden
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