Whitsundays mainland style: Airlie Beach accommodation guide

When it comes to exploring the Whitsundays, the right room can be just as memorable as the reef – just ask the 500,000 visitors who get to know the region each year.

With over 70km of coastline to its name, we totally understand navigating Airlie Beach accommodation can be a little overwhelming.

Stop doing the Google-grunt-work and let this guide do the pillow talking for you.   

Mainland star: Mantra Boathouse Apartments, Airlie Beach

Mantra Boathouse Apartments \ Airlie Beach accommodationThe reef might be a natural wonder, but it’s worth staying at Airlie Beach to experience a man-made one.

Airlie Beach packs a suitcase full of activities (here are 13 free ones), which is why you’ll want to stay in the thick of it at Mantra Boathouse Apartments.

With a swimming pool, tennis court, barbeque area and playground onsite, these apartments prove apartment-style holidaying is about so much more than just a self-contained kitchen.

Just because you’re on dry land, doesn’t mean you won’t be waterside. These apartments are a stone’s throw from the Port of Airlie Marina (where Cruise Whitsundays takes off to the islands) with spacious balconies to make the most of your water view come sunset.

Access to the ferry terminal isn’t the only thing on Mantra’s dance card, however. You’ll also be a knife and fork away from all the restaurants (and Fish D’vine’s mojitos) on Shute Harbour Road.

Box-office views: Pinnacles Resort, Airlie Beach

Pinnacles Resort | Airlie Beach accommodationIf the name doesn’t give it away, a visit to Pinnacles Resort in Airlie Beach is enough to prove this resort is top of its game.

Pinnacles is all about position, with rooms designed to make the most of the panoramic views over the Coral Sea and Whitsunday Islands. Or you can also soak up the Coral Sea from the comfort of your private balcony jacuzzi or Pinnacles’ 20m wet-edge resort pool.

Not just a resort for newlyweds, this is a place to get wed. The Pinnacle penthouse balcony is 90 square metres in size, so there’s room to fit the whole bridal party in for photos.

Looking for Whitsundays wedding venues? Start checking availability at these locations.

Family fun: BIG4 Whitsunday Resort, Cannonvale

Big 4 Resort | Airlie Beach accomodationSuperman was confused for a bird and a plane, and visitors to the Whitsundays are experiencing a similar phenomenon at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort; is it Airlie Beach accommodation or a place for a family day out?

A little in column A(ccommodation), a little in column B(oredom-busting),  the resort is more than just camping, caravans and cabins – its piece de resistance (at least, if you ask anyone under 12) is a 13-slide water park.

When hanging out poolside hasn’t burned all the kid’s energy, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort also has 26 acres of botanic-like gardens for little legs to explore.

From camping and caravan sites where you BYO set-up, to three-bedroom cabins where the grandparents can stay too, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort has accommodation for every type of Modern Family.

On a budget: Magnums Backpackers, Airlie Beach

Magnum Backpackers | Airlie Beach accommodationA stranger is just a friend you haven’t met, at least that’s the case at Magnums Backpackers.

Here, you’ll always find someone knocking the top off a coldie no matter the time of day, along with like-minded travellers looking to save on their accommodation so they can splurge on memories.

Smack bang in the middle of Airlie’s main street, you’ll find air-conditioned dorm rooms, twins, doubles for as little as $21/night.

It might be affordable, but there are no budget cuts on Magnum’s accessibility to key attractions. You’ll find Airlie Beach Lagoon, Abell Point Marina and Port of Airlie are only a short stroll away.

More than just a bed and bar, you’ll have access to Magnum’s two kitchens, laundry and luggage storage, which makes this a perfect stopover to reset on your east-coast adventure.

If this piqued your interest, our ultimate backpacker guide to the Whitsundays has your name written all over it.

All about the view: Peppers Airlie Beach, Airlie Beach

Peppers Airlie Beach | Airlie Beach accommodationBringing Portofino-vibes to Airlie Beach, you’ll find Peppers Airlie Beach presiding high in the rocky hillside like the matriarch of the mainland.

The trade-off for a goat-track driveway that leads to reception, is the best view of the Coral Sea and Whitsunday Passage with compliments of this hotel’s altitude.

Apartment style living is what’s on the holiday agenda here, with enough room in the three-bedroom apartments to bring the whole family.

Everything has been designed to capture the view, but none more so than the infinity wet-edge pool which makes every hour seem like happy hour.

Guests might come for the view, but they certainly stay for the food. Tides Restaurant specialises in modern-Australian cuisine that spotlights local organic fruit and vegetables, seafood from the reef and other Queensland crustaceans whipped up by head chef Gregory Devine.

If you book with your stomach, these 13 restaurants to try in Airlie Beach may also tickle your taste buds.

Fabulous Families: Blue Horizon Resort Apartments

Blue Horizon Resort Apartments | Airlie Beach accommodationBlue Horizon Resort Apartments might not win the most imaginative name category but it’s nothing short of an accurate representation of what this resort is all about.

You’ll find it two minutes’ drive from the main thoroughfare of Airlie Beach, promising a slower pace inside their Balinese-inspired one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

Young families nervous about screaming the other guests out, need not be. There’s a toddler wading pool and playroom to keep them occupied, while other guests have the Horizon swimming pool to themselves.

An on-site tour desk will connect you with whatever activities you want to do, so there’s no need to spend your precious spare moments before you go wading through the internet to lock down activities to punctuate your days of lazing by the hotel’s two pools.

Off-the-beaten-track: Coral Cove Apartments, Bowen

Coral Cove Apartments | Airlie Beach accommodationIf you’re looking for a holiday that has all the makings for daiquiris, a trip to Bowen – the mango capital of Australia – should do it.

You’ll find it perched at the top of the Whitsundays map, with all the tropical beauty, minus the bustle of Airlie Beach.

It might be further north, but it’s far from removed and Coral Cove Apartments delivers postcard-worthy Coral Sea views from its one, two and three-bedroom apartments.

Mangoes aren’t the only feather in Bowen’s cap – the Great Barrier Reef is within reach (yep, you can actually walk onto it at low tide), meaning you can go from bed to beach faster than you can slip slop slap.

The fact they offer mid to long-term holiday letting is good evidence plenty of people prefer to stay and play a while.

Van and view: Horseshoe Bay Resort and Caravan Park, Bowen

Horsehoe Bay Resort | Airlie Beach accommodationIf you turned back the clock fifty years, the best beach spots were always reserved for camping and caravans so everyone could enjoy the spoils of the coastline.

Today, finding a caravan park that’s within towel-whippin’ distance of the sand is like looking for a needle in a haystack unless you get lucky at Horseshoe Bay Resort and Caravan Park.

Here, the bush quite literally meets the beach, with access to Horseshoe Bay Beach, which was voted one of the top 20 beaches in Australia (Tourism Australia, 2018).

It’s not all caravanning or camping either, pastel beach huts that look like they’ve walked off the beaches of the Mornington Peninsula and onto Cape Edgecumbe can sleep up to six without any of the pesky camping/caravanning set-up or set-down.

Cape Edgecumbe walking track (2.6km one way) comes right past the property and happens to be one of Bowen’s best short walks.

Looking to stay on one of the Whitsundays islands? We have a guide for you too!

What’s your pick for Whitsundays and Airlie Beach accommodation?