Beautiful Airlie Beach is a relaxed tropical town with great accommodation, restaurants and nightlife. It is the most popular destination for backpackers between Brisbane and Cairns due to its great ambience and perfect position as launching point to the Whitsunday Islands. This small town packs in a lot and Shute Harbour Road, the high street, is full of hostels, pubs, restaurants and tour operators. Everything revolves around tourism and the Whitsundays, but it somehow retains its charm, and residents are friendly and easygoing.
The huge artificial lagoon at the waterfront is an extremely popular place to relax and sunbathe on your day off from activities. There are some great seaside walking trails as well, including the Bicentennial Walkway that links Cannonvale and Airlie Beach with 3km of pathways and boardwalks taking you past the Lagoon and the Marina. The Saturday morning markets at Airlie Point are full of craft stalls and fresh fruits and vegetables, and are popular with locals and visitors alike.
Airlie Beach has a great vibe and many travellers end up spending an extra couple of days here.
Airlie Beach is small enough to walk around but Whitsunday Transit operates a local bus service that connects it to the neighbouring towns of Cannonvale and Shute Harbour. Buses run about every half hour and cost $3.40 one-way ($6.80 daily fare) between Airlie Beach and the shopping centre in Cannonvale. Buses run as far afield as Proserpine ($7.70 one way or $15.40 daily fare).