Diving Airlie Beach

Home  |  Locations  |  Australasia  |  Australia  |  Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach, Australia

AirlieBeachAustralia

Beginner Intermediate Expert

Shore Day Trip Live Aboard

Family Friendly

Country: Australia  Area: Queensland

Water Temp: 15 - 25°C (59 - 77°F)

Visibility: 10 - 40m (33 - 131 ft)

Depth Range: 4 - 20m (13 - 66 ft)

Book A Diving Trip Online
 

Airlie Beach is a gateway to both the Great barrier Reef, and the Whitsunday Islands. Hugely popular with backpackers, it also offers a wide range of luxury accommodation, and plenty of holiday activities, including sailing, snorkelling, and skydiving.

Book A Dive Center Online

The town has around 25,000 residents, and while it used to be a haven for backpackers, there are now a wide range of resorts and large hotels in the area.

The Whitsundays are made up of 74 tropical islands, with tropical forests, and white, sandy beaches. The reefs surrounding the island have plenty of excellent diving, and 90 km (50m) further offshore is the Great Barrier Reef.

While trips to the Great barrier Reef will leave early in the morning, it’s well worth taking a day-trip, or jumping on a live aboard to see the abundance of coral reefs, and over 2000 fish species. The waters here are infamous for being clear and warm, and to truly relax and see all that is available, divers should spend at least a week in the region.

Marine Conservation

Residents of the area are joining the “Fight for the Reef”, as they try to prevent the Australian Government from causing any further decline of the reef and surrounding area.

The Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage Site, and may be placed on the World Heritage in Danger list if Australia chooses to go ahead with the planned port developments in the reef.

This would have huge implications for the health of the reef, especially if there are any oil spills in the area, and the plans have been compared to the creation of a “shipping superhighway” with up to 7000 ships crossing the reef each year.

The Australian Government have already approved what will be the biggest coal port in the world at Abbot Point, only 50km (31m) from the Whitsunday Islands. All of the sand and mud will be dumped back into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Marine Park.

Airlie Beach residents have been behind the fight, with tourism operators, local residents, and businesses uniting to protest these decisions. The good news is that these campaigns are working, and none of the ne port developments have yet reached financial close.

There is a long way to go though, and the more pressure put on the Australian Government from around the world, the higher the chance of saving the reef from further damage.

Climate

Airlie Beach has a subtropical climate, and a hot, wet season from November through May, with a maximum temperature of 32ºC (90ºF). Although this is the wet season, the area actually only receives an average of 1000mm a year, which is much less than most of the other capitals in Australia, and works out to be just a few wet days each month.

From June through October it’s the cool, dry season. The temperatures are still relatively warm in this time, and the “winter nights” will be perfectly comfortable, with a maximum of 27ºC (80ºF), and a minimum of 16ºC (60ºF), giving it a balmy average of 23º C (73ºF).

Tourists visit the area year-round, and school holidays are always particularly busy, especially during the September/October break. This is also the time of the year when the sea and winds are the most calm.

 
Read more…
Hide content

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

The Diving

Divers short on time can take a day trip, but with so many dive sites surrounding Airlie Beach and around the Whitsunday Islands, the best option is definitely to jump on a liveaboard.

For divers who want to stick close to shore, there are six interesting dive sites to check out.

The drift diving is best at Drop Zone, which has plenty of soft corals, whip corals, and a few resident turtles, or Wuggle Fish Wall, where the shallow coral garden has an abundance of marine life, and turtles and sharks are frequently spotted.

The best wall dive is at Wally’s Wall, where huge Mouri Wrasse like to hang out. Divers also often spot manta rays, deep sea sharks, and eagle rays here as well.

Beginners should head to Seaflight Bommie, or the Aquarium, which are both easy dive sites, and excellent for those who enjoy macro photography.

Sea flight Bommie is located in the Knuckle Reef Lagood, and has amazing underwear landscapes, and plenty of clams and coral. The Aquarium is 16m (52ft) deep with a sandy bottom, so the light will be excellent, and it features huge patches of stag horn and lettuce coral.

The Hangover is a site located in the Great Barrier Reef, and it’s an exciting wall dive featuring Barramudi, Cod, and Mackerel. The Stepping Stones are also located out in the reef, and are a series of more than 18 flat-topped coral pinnacles which form “stepping stones”. There are huge areas of plate coral here, along with schools of Batfish, Moray eels, and fields of blue staghorn.

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

How to Get there

The best way to get to Airlie beach is to fly into Proserpine Airport, which is also known as Whitsunday Coast Airport. If flying from an international location, tourists will need to fly into a larger city like Cairns, Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane and grab a connecting flight.

The domestic airlines servicing the airport are Jetstar, Tiger, and Virgin Australia.

It’s also possible to fly into Hamilton Island, which is an hour ferry ride from Airlie Beach. This is also a good way to get into Daydream Island, Long Island, and Hayman Island.

Those traveling up the north or south of Queensland may be able to get the train into Proserpine, and there are also both Premier and Greyhound coaches stopping at Airlie as they travel between Cairns and Brisbane.

Once in Proserpine, passengers can grab a bus from the airport terminal to Airlie Beach, but most of them need to be pre-booked. Expect to pay around $15 one way, although if you forget to book the bus it will be a 40 minute taxi ride which will be a lot more expensive.

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Where to Eat & Drink

Airlie Beach is a tourists playground, with a huge variety of restaurants and bars, ranging from takeaways and backpacker spots, to fine dining.

Those looking for a pub meal should head to Down Under Bar and Grill, or Magnums, while Beagles Pizza is the favourite for fresh, cheap pizza.

For steak, Village Cafe Restaurant and Bar has customers coming back for more. They also have a huge emphasis on customer service, and offer high tea, and decadent desserts.

Fish D’Vine is the place to go for fresh seafood, and diners pick out the fish they would like, before it’s cooked to order. The cocktails are well worth a try as well.

For those who just want a bite to eat and a few drinks, Mr Bones has excellent tapas, and the coffee is said to be the best in town. The Chocolate Cafe also has good coffee, and desserts to tempt any chocoholics in the family.

Airlie has an excellent nightlife, and the huge amount of backpackers in the area keep the place entertaining. Magnum’s is the place to go for a beer on the main street, and at night it transforms into one of the best spots in town,with live bands, and plenty of dancing.

After 12am everyone heads to Mama Africa’s, which is one of the biggest clubs in Airlie. For something a little quieter Juice Bar has the best air conditioning, and a much more relaxed atmosphere, for catching up over a few drinks.

Airlie is beach has plenty of small pubs, along with larger clubs and restaurants, so take a walk along the main street and you’re sure to find a great spot for a few drinks.                 

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Other Activities

While the diving is excellent, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in the area around Airlie Beach.

The Saturday Market is an excellent way to meet the locals, as well as browse the many handmade goods, such as jewellery, artwork, and clothing. This is also an excellent place to grab a cheap massage.

Relax on WhiteHaven beach, which has the world’s whitest sand, and is listed as the best beach in Australia, and the third best beach in the world.

For those who are feeling fit, sign up for sea kayaking, with Salty Dog Sea Kayaking, and take a tour around the Whitsunday islands. You can choose either a half-day, full-day, or six-day tour, depending on your level of fitness and experience.

Take a hike to the lookout at Hill Inlet, for an incredible view over Whitehaven Beach, and be sure to bring a camera since travellers leave raving about this hike.

Family Friendly

Airlie Beach is extremely family friendly, and there are plenty of diving and snorkelling opportunities for kids. Kids can sign up for introductory dive classes, and are also able to go on many of the dive trips and liveaboards with their parents.

Kids will love the Airlie Beach lagoon, which is closed off from the beach, so no risk of being stung by jellyfish. The water is warm, and there is also a lifeguard on duty, and plenty of shady areas for a picnic.

For something a little different, there are often camel rides on Sunday’s, which will impress even the most sullen teenager, and there is also parasailing available off the beach.

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Tips

Those who are swimming between the months of October and May will want to watch out for Box Jellyfish, and if you don’t have a special stinger wetsuit (these can be hired) you won’t be able to swim off the shore.

Make sure you also bring plenty of insect repellent, as the mosquitos will often be out in full force, particularly at dusk.

Dive Reports

X

Write a Dive Report for Airlie Beach

Attached files
No files attached
X

Share a tip about diving in Airlie Beach

X

Ask the dive community a Question

This location does not have any dive reports yet.

Why not be the first to write one?

Create a Dive Report

Your Dive Report has been published.

Would you like to share it on Facebook or Twitter?

Share it on Twitter Share on Twitter

Share it on Facebook Share on Facebook

No thanks - just show me the report

Sign up now and join in!
Sign up now and join in!
Sign up now and join in!