Moderately hazardous: 4-6
Highly hazardous: 7-8
Extremely hazardous: 9-10
Airlie Beach fronts the main street and shops of the town of the same name, now the centre of the thriving Whitsunday tourist industry. Consequently this is one of Queensland's better known and more popular beaches. The beach that sits in Airlie Bay lies just off the Proserpine-Shute Harbour Road. It is backed by parking areas, a walkway, the Intercity bus terminal, the shops, a hotel and a park.
The beach faces almost due north and is split in two by the small Airlie Creek. The western side of the beach (1016) is just 150 m in length, bordered by two car parks and linked by a footbridge across the creek to the eastern half. The eastern side (1017) is 250 m in length and is backed by a shady park and a walkway that ends at a small boat harbour (Fig. 4.48). Both beaches are composed of medium to coarse sand and shells. The bay is usually calm, only receiving low waves during northerly winds. A few mangroves fringe the eastern ends of both beaches. At high tide the beach has a moderate slope and water deep enough to swim in. However at low tide, a rocky tidal flat is exposed and swimming is not possible (Fig. 1.1b).
A very popular spot to swim at high tide, however you can only sunbake at low tide. Watch the rocks underfoot on the tidal flats.
Best off the headlands and breakwater at high tide.
A very accessible and popular tourist destination, better for sunbathing than swimming. If you do want to get wet, make sure it's near high tide.
- Formal parking area