Airlie Beach

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Airlie Beach
20°15.918'S, 148°42.617'E Chart icon.png
lat=-20.2653 | lon=148.71029 | zoom=15 | y
Airlie beach.png
Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach is the main centre for cruising in the Whitsunday Islands. The town of Airlie Beach is primarily a tourism base, catering mainly to the young backpacker market. The suburb of Cannonvale is the best location for supermarkets, hardware stores and the like. There is a good bus service that runs between Shute Harbour, Airlie Beach and Cannonvale. There is an anchorage available in front of the town and the Abell Point Marina usually has spare berths.

Airlie Beach

The surrounding cruising grounds are very crowded with charter and tourist boats, not to mention many visiting cruising boats. There are many high speed tour boats with the consequent wakes disturbing anchorages. Don't expect much in the way of basic courtesy on the water. Don't assume that road rules are known or understood. Many charterers are competent, experienced sailors, but not all of them. Expect crowded anchorages and make allowance for the anchoring mistakes of others.

There are strong tidal flows in the area, especially in the Whitsunday Passage and these can cause difficult sailing conditions. It is worth taking tidal streams into account when planning boat movements.


Australian Hydrographic Service
Aus252 -- Australia East Coast - Queensland - Whitsunday Group
Aus253 -- Australia East Coast - Queensland - Whitsunday Passage
Aus254 -- Australia East Coast - Queensland - Plans in Whitsundays


See Queensland.


See Queensland.


See Queensland.


See Whitsundays.

Also see World Cruiser's Nets.


See Great Barrier Reef.

Once inside the reef there are no major hazards in approaching Airlie Beach. From the south enter via the Whitsunday Passage between Whitsunday Island and the Molle Islands, or the Molle Channel between the Molle Islands and the mainland. Be aware of Pioneer Rocks north of Pioneer Point but they are well marked. Stay outside these rocks, I have seen even shallow drafted multi hulls ground unexpectedly between Pioneer Rocks and the mainland.


Marinas & Yacht Clubs

Abel Point Marina Beach
  • Abell Point Marina. This is the main marina in the area. It is cheaper than Hamilton Island, but still very expensive by most standards. The marina has changed ownership recently, and is now no longer owned by Meridien Marinas who were in receivership. It is close to the township of Airlie Beach and has a good range of services on location, including showers, laundromat, a small chandlery, nearby travel lift and restaurants. Some charter companies are based there
  • Port of Airlie. This residential and marina complex is half completed and is also in the hands of receivers. No further construction work was occurring in 2012
  • Whitsunday Sailing Club. The Club allows use of the dinghy dock and showers for a small fee. Note that the dock is tidal and the small sheltered bay reverts to deep sticky mud at low tide. The food at the club is good, but I didn't like the coffee. There is a small laundromat


Anchorage in front of Airlie Beach can be difficult. There is a huge number of moored vessels in most areas, leaving only limited spots for boats wishing to anchor. The wake from commercial vessels can make the anchorage uncomfortable. Note that although the anchorage is quite shallow and the bottom is mud, the holding can be treacherous.

  • Shoal draft boats often can find anchorage near the Sailing Club
  • There is a small area near the entrance to the Abell Point Marina. This is convenient, but is particularly troubled by wake
  • More comfortable anchorage can be found north of the moorings, in the general vicinity of the VMR.
Wakes from commercial vessels can make the Airlie Beach anchorage uncomfortable

All these anchorages are completely exposed to the north and potentially dangerous if the wind should shift to that direction. Dinghy landing can be found at the Public Jetty inside the Abell Point Marina.

For a small fee you can land at the Whitsunday Sailing Club dinghy dock. The club has showers and a laundromat. Note that the dock is tidal and not always accessible - you might want to check the tides before paying for access.

There is a small beach suitable for dinghy landing near the VMR launching ramp. This is a useful landing for walking to the Whitsunday Shopping Centre.

Note that Funnel Bay, to the east of Airlie Beach, lives up to its name in strong southerlies, delivering frighteningly strong bullets. It is not a good spot to sit out a strong southerly change


Water The easiest way to obtain water is from the Public Jetty in the Abell Point Marina. Berthing here is restricted to half an hour, but this is adequate to take on water
Electricity Only available in marina berths
Toilets ?
Showers ?
  • There is an excellent laundromat at the Whitsunday Shopping Centre.
  • There is a laundromat at the Whitsunday Sailing Club.
  • While there is at least one laundromat in Airlie Beach, this is predominantly used by backpackers.
  • There are large bins at the Sailing Club
  • There are general rubbish bins around much of the foreshore
Fuel There is a fuel wharf inside the Abell Point Marina
Bottled gas ?
  • Marlin Marine at Jubilee Pocket on the Shute Harbour road. An excellent chandlery with good prices
  • Whitsunday Ocean Services specialises in liferafts, inflatable dinghies and outboards. They provide excellent service. They are in Jubilee Pocket, a short bus ride from Airlie Beach on the road to Shute Harbour
  • BCF at Cannovale
  • There is a small chandlery in the Able Point Marina
  • There is a small chandlery at the Hamilton Island Marina
Repairs Travel Lift services are available in Abell Point Marina
Internet ?
Mobile connectivity Free Wi-Fi (or cheap, for the cost of a coffee and/or a meal) is available at many of the cafes in the town area
Vehicle rentals ?


  • Whitsunday Shopping Centre has a supermarket, excellent vegetable shop, banks and tother such facilities
  • Cannonvale Centro shopping centre

Eating out

Airlie Beach is full of restaurants, mostly aimed at the backpacker market.


  • Local buses run frequently. Note that the bus route includes the Abell Point Marina - pick up is close to the Public Jetty, just in front of the buildings that service the western half of the marina.
  • Airports are at Proserpine and Hamilton Island.



Give a short history of the port.

Places to Visit

List places of interest, tours, etc.


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)



See Queensland.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

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Names: Lighthouse, Delatbabel, Haiqu, Pedro

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