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Airlie Beach

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Resort town with access to the Whitsundays and the great Barrier reef

Between Mackay and Townsville, Airlie Beach is a popular resort town and the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and parts of the barrier reef. 

Airlie Beach Lagoon
Niki Gango, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Airlie Beach is one of the more well known tourist destinations along this stretch of the Queensland coast.   

The town under normal conditions receives thousands of Australian and overseas visitors each year including from cruise ships that anchor off the bay.

Whitesunday island
Mohesa83, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Whitehaven beach – Whitsunday Island 

Just off the Airlie Beach coast are main islands of the Whitsundays group of 74. Easily accessible are the largest; Whitsunday Island, with its famous Whitehaven Beach and Hamilton Island with its may resorts.

The dazzling colours of the Great Barrier Reef near Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland
Ayanadak123, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Airlie Beach is one of the two main points of access to the Great Barrier reef (with Cairns the other).  You can do a day trip to the reef pontoons for swimming and snorkeling or book a several day tour going around parts of the reef by charter boat.