Whitsundays mainland style: Airlie Beach accommodation guide
Ready to explore the wonder of the Whitsundays? The right room can be just as memorable as the reef.
As the gateway to the sun-kissed archipelago, mainland hub Airlie Beach is a great launching pad for your island adventures. But with over 70km of coastline to its name, navigating the accommodation options can be a little overwhelming.
Mainland star: Mantra Boathouse Apartments, Airlie Beach
Just because you’re on dry land, doesn’t mean you won’t be waterside.
Mantra Boathouse Apartments is 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.
But access to the ferry terminal isn’t the only thing on Mantra’s dance card. You’ll also be steps away from all the restaurants (and other local favourite: Fish D’vine’s mojitos) on Shute Harbour Road.
With a swimming pool, tennis court, barbeque area and playground onsite, these apartments prove apartment-style holidaying is about so much more than your own kitchen.
Box-office views: Pinnacles Resort, Airlie Beach
The reef might be a natural wonder, but it’s worth staying at Airlie Beach to experience a man-made one.
The rooms at Pinnacles self-contained apartments are designed to make the most of the panoramic views over the Coral Sea and Whitsunday Islands. Soak up the scene 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? Check out these locations.
A family adventure: BIG4 Whitsunday Resort, Cannonvale
Forget kids clubs or searching for activities. BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is a boredom-busting paradise, with a 13-slide water park and 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 family.
On a budget: Magnums Backpackers, Airlie Beach
In search of a tropical oasis on a backpacker’s budget? Welcome to Magnums.
Smack bang in the middle of Airlie’s main street, you’ll find air-conditioned dorm rooms, twins and doubles here.
More than just a bed, bar and free-wifi, 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. There’s an onsite tour desk to book activities, like an overnight Whitsundays Sailing Adventure.
A SENSE OF PEACE: Airlie Beach Eco Cabins
Take in the adventure of Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays by day, then slip away to the peace of your own retreat at Airlie Beach Eco Cabins. It’s just a 10 minute drive to Airlie Beach.
Here, you’ll swap backpackers for marsupials. This bush sanctuary is home to wallabies, possums and bandicoots, and plenty of native birds too.
Cabins and two bedroom apartments are nestled in nature, each uniquely designed, air conditions and equipped for self-catering – each with its own campfire.
Much more than just a bed for the night, it’s an experience in itself.
A TASTE OF LOCAL LIFE: BLUE HORIZON RESORT APARTMENTS
Drive two minutes from Airlie’s main drag and you’ll find Blue Horizon Resort Apartments.
The Balinese-inspired one, two and three bedroom apartments promise a slower pace of life here in the tropics.
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 sit back and take in the views, or take this guide and explore Airlie Beach like a local while you’re here!
VAN AND VIEW: HORSESHOE BAY RESORT AND CARAVAN PARK, BOWEN
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. It’s got access to Horseshoe Bay Beach, which was voted one of the top 20 beaches in Australia. Cape Edgecumbe walking track (2.6km one way) winds its way right past the property and happens to be one of Bowen’s best short walks.
It’s not all caravanning or camping either. If you prefer solid foundations, the pastel beach huts can sleep up to six people.
Ready to visit? Check out this Whitsundays travel guide before you arrive!