Free Things To Do In Airlie Beach

Top free things to do in Airlie Beach 

Welcome to Airlie Beach! This vibrant coastal town is famous as the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and The Great Barrier Reef, and it offers plenty of experiences beyond its well-known attractions.

If you've already checked out the beautiful beaches of the Whitsunday Islands, or if you're extending your holiday or planning a long-term stay, here's a list of free activities you can enjoy in Airlie Beach.

1. Enjoy sunbathing and swimming at Airlie Beach's lagoon.

Right in the heart of Airlie Beach, you'll find the local hotspot: the lagoon. It's totally free and perfect for soaking up some sun or enjoying a sunset dip. They've got everything you need, from clean showers to BBQ spots and plenty of comfy chairs.

Don't worry if you've got little ones - there's a special pool just for them! Bring the kids for some splashy fun, or just kick back solo with a takeaway coffee and a good read under the shade.

2. Explore the town on an electric scooter.

The best way to enjoy the Bicentennial Boardwalk and its ocean views that go from Airlie Beach's lagoon to Cannonvale Beach is definitely on an electric scooter. It's the ideal plan for a family day or quality time with friends.

Although it is not free, renting an electric scooter in Airlie Beach costs only between $30 and $37 and you can use them for 2 hours. Whitsunday Fun and Le Shack, both located on the main street, Shute Harbour Rd, offer great prices and amazing products.

3. The Markets! 

Don't you love discovering delicious food, organic products, and local arts and crafts on a sunny day? Every Saturday, weather permitting, the iconic Whitsunday Markets open from 7 am to 1 pm at 10-20 Airlie Esplanade. You can find a variety of items including food, coffee, clothing, jewelry, plants, local produce, and enjoy live music.

If you're a fan of markets and don't mind driving 1 hour, Bowen Sunday market is a must-visit. You can find fresh, locally grown produce and handmade crafts while enjoying the beautiful beach view. The market is located at Hansen Park, Horseshoe Bay Road, and is open from 8 am to 12 pm.

4. Walks and hikes 

You can have an amazing time on the mainland exploring Airlie Beach's walks and hikes. Be sure to set an early alarm, pack water, snacks, a hat, and sunglasses, and get ready for a fun adventure. Immerse yourself in the rainforest of the Conway National Park and enjoy the stunning views of the Whitsunday area. Here are a few of our favorite hikes on the Whitsundays mainland. Don't have a car? Check out our guide for walking tracks within walking distance of your accommodation.

Coral Beach Track

Embark on a family-friendly adventure along the Coral Beach Track, a perfect option for all ages and fitness levels with minimal inclines. This 2.2 km return journey begins in the bushland and meanders past a charming waterfall that flows in the summer rainy season. As you continue, you'll reach a beach of washed-up coral and turquoise waters.

For those seeking a bit more exploration, venture to the eastern end of the beach and follow the track to the beach lookout. This additional 1.2 km return trail leads to a lookout point offering breathtaking views of the Whitsundays.

Honeyeater Lookout

This walk starts at Kara Crescent in Airlie Beach and follows the Conway Circuit until the Honeyeater Lookout. It is an 8.2 km trail and although the walk to the lookout is very steep, it is 100% rewarding. The Honeyeater Trail

Bicentennial Boardwalk

This beautiful walk between Airlie Beach and Cannonvale provides a pleasant stroll, mostly along a flat boardwalk path. Starting from either the Airlie Beach lagoon or Cannonvale Beach, this 7 km journey takes about 2 hours at a steady pace. It's recommended to allow extra time to fully enjoy the experience. You may have the chance to spot dugongs and turtles along the way as well as visit charming cafes to take a break and refresh – after all, why rush?

Although this walk can be enjoyed at any time of day, it's best to take it in the early morning or late afternoon during the summer months to avoid the heat. Sunrise and sunset walks along the boardwalk offer particularly breathtaking views.

Mount Rooper Circuit and Swamp Bay Track

About 10 minutes outside Airlie Beach lies the Mount Rooper and Swamp Bay car park, offering access to the Mount Rooper lookout. From here, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Whitsunday Passage, Daydream, and the Molle Islands. Follow the Swamp Bay track, and after approximately 200 meters, veer off onto the 4.6 km path leading to the lookout. The trail winds through wooded hillsides before reaching its pinnacle at the lookout. You can either retrace your steps or opt for the full 5.4 km circuit, which reconnects with the Swamp Bay track.

For those seeking a less steep walk, continue to Swamp Bay, a 4.2 km return walk, ideal during high tide. This coral beach, embraced by mangroves, offers a sanctuary for birdwatchers, with kingfishers often gracing the area.

To beat the summer heat, embark on this walk early in the morning and remember to bring ample water for hydration.

The Whitsunday Great Walk

This 27 km trek through Conway National Park offers both challenge and reward. Beginning at Forestry Road and concluding in Airlie Beach, this journey typically spans three days, though for the fit and adventurous, completing it in one is not unheard of. However, regardless of your pace, it's crucial to do your research and come prepared with proper gear and supplies for the adventure ahead.



5. Did someone say beach day?

We know you absolutely loved Whitehaven Beach and who doesn´t? It is breathtaking! But you should know there are amazing beaches with one million dollar views on the mainland too.  For a comprehensive guide check out our top mainland beaches guide.

Boathaven Beach

This small but stunning beach has a large stinger net making it the perfect spot for swimming. At only 5 minutes walking distance from the town, Boathaven Beach offers amazing views and white sand where you can sunbathe and relax in the ocean with your family and friends. We suggest bringing along an umbrella during the hot summer months, as shade options are limited.

Boathaven Beach is dog-friendly, with off-leash hours from 5:30 am to 8:30 am daily.


Dingo Beach and Hydeaway Bay

Located on the northern side of the Whitsunday Coast, just a 40-minute drive from Airlie Beach. This sandy, tropical beach is perfect for those seeking a crowd-free escape. Keep an eye out for turtles, whales, dolphins, and other wildlife during the season. Equipped with BBQ facilities and a stinger-free swimming enclosure, Dingo Beach is an ideal destination for a full day of beach fun.

Just a short 10-minute drive from Dingo Beach lies Hydeaway Bay. Here, you'll find multiple access points to secluded beaches, often all to yourself. Hydeaway Bay boasts a fringing reef and fishing opportunities. Alternatively, find a tranquil spot to relax for the day. If you have the time, stay for sunset – you will not be dissapointed.



6. Participate in a sailing race! 

Every Wednesday, there is an iconic twilight race that everyone is invited to attend. Around 20 sailing boats participate, and many vessels need extra crew, so you are more than welcome to join them!

Just go around 3 pm to the Whitsunday Sailing Club, located in Airlie Point, to meet the crews and ask around. This is a great opportunity for those willing to learn how to sail. Even if you have never sailed before, this will be an unforgettable experience.

7. Go for a swim in a natural waterfall (Cedar Creek Falls)

Between Airlie Beach and Proserpine lies Cedar Creek Falls. You can enjoy a refreshing swim in the freshwater of the natural rocky pool while surrounded by lush vegetation. It's a great place to relax and unwind.

There's also a beautiful walking trail, so make sure to wear a good pair of shoes. A great way to explore the area is by driving to the Cedar Creek Lookout, parking your car, and then descending through the eucalyptus forest to reach the falls.



8.Spend a day exploring Bowen! 

Located approximately an hour's drive from Airlie Beach in the northern Whitsundays region, Bowen awaits. Discover the iconic Big Mango, vibrant street art scenes, stunning beaches, coral reefs, scenic walking tracks, and indulge in fresh locally caught seafood at the Bowen Marina.  

Wrap up your day with a visit to Flagstaff Hill for breathtaking 360-degree views of Bowen, where you can witness the sun setting over the Whitsunday waters and Gloucester Island.

9. Live music night 

Wrap up an amazing day of outdoor activities by enjoying some live local music. As you wander along the bustling main street of Airlie Beach, lined with restaurants and pubs, you'll encounter live performances in many of our venues.

With places like KC’s, Sorrento’s, Paddy’s Shenanigans, Magnums, The Pub, Beaches, and Boaties offering live music every night of the week, you'll have plenty of options to choose from.

So, put on your dancing shoes and dive into Airlie's vibrant music scene!


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