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Airlie Beach, Queensland facts for kids

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Airlie Beach
DSC77 Australia Queensland Airlie Beach harbour (5491403517).jpg
Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach is located in Queensland
Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach
Location in Queensland
Population 1,208 (2016 census)
 • Density 378/km2 (980/sq mi)
Postcode(s) 4802
Area 3.2 km2 (1.2 sq mi)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10:00)
LGA(s) Whitsunday Region
State electorate(s) Whitsunday
Federal Division(s) Dawson
Suburbs around Airlie Beach:
Coral Sea Coral Sea Coral Sea
Cannonvale Airlie Beach Mandalay
Cannonvale Cape Conway Jubilee Pocket

Airlie Beach is a coastal locality and resort town in the Whitsunday Region of Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Airlie Beach had a population of 1,208 people.


Airlie Beach is one of many departure points for the Great Barrier Reef. Cruise ships visit the area, anchoring offshore while passengers are transported via ship's tender to the marina. Near latitude 20 degrees south, Airlie Beach, Proserpine and the nearby Whitsunday Islands enjoy a tropical climate and lifestyle.

The Proserpine–Shute Harbour Road (State Route 59) passes through the locality from west to east.

Each year the residents of Airlie Beach celebrate The Blessing of the Fleet on Whitsunday or Pentecost Sunday.


The name derived from the former town of Airlie and unbounded locality of Airlie Beach. Airlie was named following a request by the Lands Department in December 1935 for the Proserpine Shire Council to provide a name for a new sub-division on the coast. It is almost certain that the town was named for the parish of Airlie, in Scotland, as the name was suggested by the chairman of the former Proserpine Shire Council, Robert Shepherd, who was born in nearby Montrose, Scotland. The official name was Airlie from 1936 until 1987, when it was amalgamated into the larger town of Whitsunday while Airlie Beach became the official name of the locality.

Airlie Beach Post Office opened on 2 November 1959.

In December 1956, 18 allotments were offered for auction as Perpetual Town Leases by the Department of Public Lands office. The map advertising the auction states the allotments were situated approximately 15 miles north-east of Proserpine.

Busking was made legal in June 2010 through an adopted draft policy created by Whitsunday Regional Council.

In the 2010s, there were several shark attacks off the coast of Airlie Beach. In 2018, there were 2 near fatal attacks and another attack occurred on 29 October 2019.

At the 2016 census, the locality of Airlie Beach had a population of 1,208. 50.9% of people were born in Australia. The next most common country of birth was England at 9.2%. 71.2% of people only spoke English at home. The most common response for religion was No Religion at 34.7% of the population.

Airlie Beach has a high number of residents working in the tourism and hospitality industries and in 2020 the town was named one of the most likely Australian towns to suffer for the longest from the economic downturn caused by the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic.


There are no schools in Airlie Beach. The nearest government primary school is Cannonvale State School in neighbouring Cannonvale to the west. The nearest government secondary school is Proserpine State High School in Proserpine to the south-west.


Police Vessel George R. Young, 2014
Police Vessel George R. Young, based at Airlie Beach, 2014

There are two marinas in Airlie Beach:

  • Abel Point Marina (20°15′58″S 148°42′36″E / 20.2660°S 148.7100°E / -20.2660; 148.7100 (Abel Point Marina))
  • Port of Airlie Marina (20°16′13″S 148°43′30″E / 20.2703°S 148.7250°E / -20.2703; 148.7250 (Port of Airlie Marina))

There are two boat ramps, both managed by the Whitsunday Regional Council:

  • at Abel Point off Shingley Drive (20°15′58″S 148°42′44″E / 20.2662°S 148.7123°E / -20.2662; 148.7123 (Abell Point Marina boat ramp))
  • at Port of Airlie (20°16′25″S 148°43′32″E / 20.2736°S 148.7256°E / -20.2736; 148.7256 (Port of Airlie boat ramp))

Airlie Beach Water Police Station is at 38 Shingley Drive (20°15′58″S 148°42′47″E / 20.2661°S 148.7130°E / -20.2661; 148.7130 (police station / emergency services building)). The station's area of responsibility extends from Cape Upstart to north to St Lawrence to the south.


Annually, The Great Barrier Reef Festival is held in Airlie Beach and includes attractions ranging from fireworks on the foreshore to live music by local artists. The event is hosted by local company Cruise Whitsundays.

In November each year, the Airlie Beach Festival of Music is held in the area and spans over multiple days. The event includes both Australian and international musicians that play throughout the festival.

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