Honeymoon in The Whitsundays: Why Airlie Beach is the Perfect Island Honeymoon Alternative

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Accommodation, Restaurants & Experiences

Airlie Beach is proof you don’t need to leave the mainland for your honeymoon to get those tropical island vibes! Sure, it’s a great launching off point for discovering the 74 islands of The Whitsundays and the natural wonder of the Great Barrier Reef. But it’s also a romantic destination in its own right, with views of sparkling turquoise water, palm tree lined beachside walks, standout dining destinations and a live music scene. 

You’re not a sail away from paradise, you’ve already arrived! And we’ve got all the intel on the best Airlie Beach honeymoon accommodation, restaurants and experiences for you to explore right here. 

Hey nearlywed! We experienced Airlie Beach as a guest of Tourism Whitsundays and some of the operators featured in this story, but we still give it to you straight. Whether they’re a household name or a hidden gem, we bring you the best to save you the search! Always check details with operators before you travel as offerings may change.

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Accommodation, Restaurants & Experiences

Where is Airlie Beach?

Airlie Beach is located in The Whitsundays, in the state of Queensland on the east coast of Australia.

From Airlie Beach, you can access popular Whitsunday islands including Hamilton Island, Daydream Island, Hayman Island and Long Island.

You can also travel by boat, helicopter or plane to the renowned Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach. 

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Accommodation, Restaurants & Experiences

How do you get to Airlie Beach for your honeymoon?

By Plane

Whitsunday Coast Airport, also known as Proserpine Airport, is the closest airport to Airlie Beach. From there, it’s a 30 minute drive to Airlie Beach by taxi or transfer. 

Here’s a list of indicative flight times from each capital city in Australia. 

  • Sydney to Whitsunday Coast: 2 hrs 30 min 
  • Melbourne to Whitsunday Coast: 2 hrs 55 min
  • Brisbane to Whitsunday Coast: 1 hr 40 min
  • Perth to Whitsunday Coast: 6 hrs
  • Adelaide to Whitsunday Coast: 4 hrs
  • Canberra to Whitsunday Coast: 3 hrs 20 min
  • Hobart to Whitsunday Coast: 4 hrs 20 min
  • Darwin to Whitsunday Coast: 5 hrs 15 min

By Car

If you’re planning a road trip to Airlie Beach, here are some of the most popular Queensland starting locations and stops along the way. 

  • Brisbane to Airlie Beach: 12 hrs 30 min
  • Bundaberg to Airlie Beach: 8 hrs 30 min
  • Rockhampton to Airlie Beach: 5 hrs 30 min
  • Mackay to Airlie Beach: 2 hrs
  • Townsville to Airlie Beach: 3 hrs 15min
  • Cairns to Airlie Beach: 7 hrs 30 min
Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Accommodation, Restaurants & Experiences

When is the best time to visit Airlie Beach for your honeymoon?

Airlie Beach has a subtropical climate, so you can expect balmy conditions with humid summers and mild winters. Daytime temperatures average between 23°C and 32°C. 

June to September is the best time to visit The Whitsundays, although the shoulder months have plenty to offer too! Less rainfall makes for top sailing conditions and good visibility for snorkelling and scuba diving. This time of year falls outside of stinger season, which runs from October to May (though protective stinger suits are always readily available). And majestic humpback whales are migrating through the warm sheltered waters during these months, providing fantastic opportunities for whale watching.

How long should you stay in Airlie Beach for your honeymoon?

We recommend honeymooning in Airlie Beach for at least one week, but we can guarantee you’ll want to stay longer! This allows you to take your pick of the amazing tours available, get a taste of the top dining spots and still feel like you’ve had time to make the most of your accommodation. 

Airlie Beach Honeymoon Accommodation

Pinnacles Resort

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Accommodation | Pinnacles Resort Bedroom

Perched in the hills above the heart of Airlie Beach is Pinnacles Resort, offering 29 luxury self-contained apartments all positioned to take in the splendour of the Coral Sea. On first look, you’d think you’d landed in the Greek islands! 

The spacious penthouse suites are thoughtfully designed for seamless indoor outdoor living. Sweeping views can be enjoyed on your balcony from your day bed, outdoor dining setting, sun loungers or private jacuzzi, which is housed beneath a pergola providing shade from the midday sun and shelter from coastal breezes. 

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Accommodation | Pinnacles Resort Jacuzzi

Your hosts will help you start your honeymoon off right with a welcome platter on arrival, but we also recommend picking up some grocery staples before check-in. This way you’ll be ready for sunset drinks and nibbles whenever the mood strikes, a light breakfast before an early excursion or a simple dinner after a day on the water. With a fully equipped kitchen stocked with everything you need to prepare meals, it’s up to you whether you dine in or out! 

You might not feel the need to step outside your apartment, but the 20 metre wet edge pool provides excellent motivation! Overlooking shimmering waters, undulating hills and marina berths, it isn’t just beautiful to admire from the sun loungers and rocking chairs – it’s heated for swimming all year round. Should you wish to venture further, the team at reception are also on hand to assist with booking the many experiences available from Airlie Beach, including tours to the Whitsunday Islands. 

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Accommodation | Pinnacles Resort Pool

Of course, such incredible views can only be found at the top of a steep climb. While it’s a quick descent to the main street, the return trip is best navigated with a hire car or a lift from the friendly taxi drivers who are happy to deliver you to your door. 

Playbook Tip: Hidden gem Anchor Bar is located a short stroll from Pinnacles Resort and loved by the locals for a relaxed lunch or dinner Thursday to Sunday. 

A honeymoon at Pinnacles Resort offers you the best of both worlds as a romantic retreat that’s still within easy reach of activities, shopping, dining and nightlife when you’re ready to come out and play.

Mirage Whitsundays

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Accommodation | Mirage Whitsundays Pool

If modern luxury is your style, Mirage Whitsundays should be at the top of your list for honeymoon accommodation in Airlie Beach. With contemporary penthouses, self-contained apartments and absolute waterfront villas on offer, it’s a sophisticated and secluded escape from normality. 

As soon as you step in the door, you’ll be drawn through expansive open living areas to your own private terrace. Here you can slip straight into holiday mode, enjoying front row seats to nature’s show of swaying palm trees and island-dotted ocean views. 

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Accommodation | Mirage Whitsundays Apartment

This well-appointed accommodation offers plenty of light-filled space to lounge, cook, dine, rest and soak, all with one eye on that incredible view! There’s no hustle and bustle here, just lazy afternoons by the adults only Horizon Pool, indulgent treatments in the soothing sanctuary of the day spa, and night swims under the stars in the illuminated Lagoon Pool. It has all the makings of a romantic hideaway you’ll find hard to leave. 

Located in sister suburb Cannonvale, Mirage Whitsundays is conveniently linked by picturesque boardwalks and coastal paths to Airlie Beach’s main street. This scenic 30 minute walk combines a waterside promenade with top notch dining to discover along the way.

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Accommodation | Mirage Whitsundays Boardwalk

Playbook Tip: If you haven’t yet decided where to say your wedding vows, Mirage Whitsundays offers a magnificent private ceremony lawn overlooking the water and blank canvas reception space just steps from your villa. 

Airlie Beach Honeymoon Restaurants

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Restaurants | The Rocks Coral Sea Resort

Talk to the locals and one of the first things they’ll tell you are the best spots to eat. There’s a great foodie scene in Airlie Beach, with no shortage of cafes and restaurants serving up beautifully presented plates to suit all tastes. Having stayed for a week, every meal was memorable and we still didn’t manage to get around all the recommendations! 

Breakfast & Lunch

My Rainbow Bakery & Cafe

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Restaurants | My Rainbow Bakery & Cafe

Elevated ocean views and a buzzing atmosphere await at this family owned cafe directly across from Shingley Beach. Stop in for a leisurely breakfast or lunch and select from a fresh and colourful European inspired menu that’s dietary friendly. With an in-house pastry chef, the baked goods are next level, so don’t depart without some sweet and savoury treats from their mouthwatering display cabinet. The only regret travellers express is discovering this gem at the end of their stay! 

Bohemian Raw Cafe

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Restaurants | Bohemian Raw Cafe

Recharge mind and body with the good food and good vibes on offer at Bohemian Raw Cafe. Nourishing breakfasts and lunches are their specialty, with yummy acai bowls, satisfying smoothies and tasty loaded toast just some of the moreish offerings on their well-curated menu. The food is clearly made with love and the relaxed setting invites you to stay a while in the tropical oasis they’ve created. The tranquil water views are a bonus! 

Fat Frog Beach Cafe 

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Restaurants | Fat Frog Beach Cafe

They say you can tell where to eat by the number of locals in a place, and this charming cafe is clearly a favourite! With glorious views out to Cannonvale Beach, Fat Frog Beach Cafe features eclectic vintage decor, a wholesome menu with generous portions, excellent coffee and attentive table service from friendly staff. With its laid back vibe and seriously great food, this is a lovely spot for both breakfast and lunch that’ll keep you coming back. 

Playbook Tip: Fat Frog Beach Cafe is a pleasant 15 minute walk along a coastal pathway from Mirage Whitsundays, making it an ideal brunch destination! 

Lunch & Dinner

The Deck

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Restaurants | The Deck

The Deck is another restaurant highly regarded by locals that serves up reliably delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Positioned in the centre of Airlie Beach’s main street and bordered by the waterfront promenade, it’s perfectly placed to grab a meal any time of the day. Here you’ll feast on modern Australian cuisine in plentiful servings and with a great balance of flavours, surrounded by the happy hubbub of people dining well!

The Garden Bar Bistro

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Restaurants | The Garden Bar Bistro

While away the afternoon on comfy lounges listening to live acoustic music, soak up the sunset and marina views from high top tables, or wait for the magical fairy lights to kick in amongst the lush greenery for a relaxed romantic evening. The Garden Bar Bistro’s street eats style menu for lunch and dinner is full of locally sourced temptations, like fresh fish tacos and gourmet burgers, seafood paella and buckets of prawns! The drinks don’t disappoint either, from tantalising cocktail tasting boards to perfectly chilled champagne and beer on ice.

The Rocks

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Restaurants | The Rocks Coral Sea Resort

Located within Coral Sea Resort, this destination is as good for drinks as it is for dinner! Spend cocktail hour kicking back on the private jetty and follow up with dinner at The Rocks watching the sun go down. Positioned poolside with views of the Coral Sea and Whitsunday Islands, there’s no better place for fine dining in beach club style. Choose from their seasonally inspired menu featuring fresh and flavoursome dishes, including gourmet seafood and steak platters for two. Now that’s a romantic dining experience not to miss!

Airlie Beach Honeymoon Experiences

Whitehaven Beach

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Experiences | Whitehaven Beach

Consistently voted one of the best beaches in the world, you can believe the hype about Whitehaven Beach. Unspoiled and unequalled, this striking natural beauty is easily accessed from Airlie Beach. 

Once you see the ribbon of brilliant white silica sand against the turquoise sea, you’ll know you’ve landed somewhere special. Stretching seven kilometres, there’s no jostling for space! 

At the southern end, it’s tempting to spend all your time swimming or sitting by the crystal clear water, but it’s also worth seeking higher ground to appreciate the scene from above. If you’ve got a spare 45 minutes, take the well-maintained track to Whitehaven Beach lookout. After a steady climb, you’ll be rewarded with sensational views spanning both sides of the island. 

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Experiences | Hill Inlet at Whitehaven Beach

At the northern end of Whitehaven Beach is Hill Inlet, famous for its swirling sands shifted by the tides and currents. It’s nature’s living artwork, ever-changing in a palette of blue and white. The best place to see it is from Tongue Point lookout, where you’ll be gifted with a spectacular panorama after a 15 minute bush walk.

Playbook Tip: The super fine granules of silica sand are soft underfoot and remain cool even on the hottest days. The sand is also perfect for buffing and restoring the sparkle of your wedding and engagement rings! 

Playbook Pick: Cruise Whitsundays

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Experiences | Cruise Whitsundays

There’s no better way to explore The Whitsundays than on the water, and heading out with Cruise Whitsundays on one of their fleet of modern vessels is a wonderful way to do it! 

This is as much about the journey as the destination, with magnificent views of the islands and the changing colours of the sea and sky to gaze upon. The friendly and professional crew on board will also help you spot marine life along the way. If there’s something to be seen, you’ll be the first to know! 

Whether you’re up for a half or full day adventure, Cruise Whitsundays offers a range of watercraft with different stops and inclusions for each. We recommend dialling up the romance by booking their Whitehaven Beach picnic experience, which features a beautifully styled setting, abundant antipasto platter and ice cold drinks that will be a highlight of your honeymoon. 

Playbook Tip: Popular Italian restaurant La Marina is a short five minute walk from Cruise Whitsundays’ Maritime Terminal at Port of Airlie, making it the perfect spot to refuel on fresh homemade pizza and pasta for lunch or dinner after you’ve disembarked.  

Water Sports

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Experiences | Kayaking

There are so many ways to take in your idyllic surroundings on the water. The only question is, do you want to go fast or slow?

Just because you’re on your honeymoon, doesn’t mean you need to keep things low-key! Get your adrenaline pumping by skipping across the deep blue on a jet ski or strap in for the high-speed thrills of jet boating. Or if you’d prefer a more leisurely pace, immerse yourself in nature with non-motorised activities like stand up paddle boarding and kayaking. 

However you wish to explore the pristine waterways and islands of The Whitsundays, you’re spoiled for choice with all of them available from Airlie Beach. 

Playbook Pick: Salty Dog Sea Kayaking

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Experiences | Salty Dog Sea Kayaking

The kayak tours on offer from Salty Dog Sea Kayaking are invigorating half or full day excursions that are simply oarsome! After you’re collected from your accommodation and given the rundown, you’ll glide over fringing coral reefs and explore nearby tropical islands. 

This guided trip is tailored to the group and conditions on the day, so you don’t have to be experienced, just of moderate fitness. Have fun spotting bird and marine life and learning more about the area from your knowledgeable guide. On your island pit stop, you can choose to stroll or snorkel, then relax with drinks and snacks provided before the paddle home.

Road Tripping

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Experiences | Cedar Creek Falls

When the water looks this good, it’s easy to miss the scenic drives and picture-perfect stops within an hour of Airlie Beach. But that would be doing these destinations (and your honeymoon) a disservice! Head inland to Cedar Creek Falls, a freshwater swimming hole and picnic spot nestled in a natural rock amphitheatre that’s a favourite with the locals. Discover Bowen with its historic charm, eight beaches and straight-off-the-boat seafood. And explore the untouched tranquility of Cape Gloucester, Dingo Beach and Hydeaway Bay, where you’ll find long lunches with waterfront views and stretches of sand to call your own. 

Playbook Pick: Whitsundays Hot Rod Tours

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Experiences | Whitsundays Hot Rod Tours

Forget the hire car – there’s no better way to travel from country to coast than with Whitsundays Hot Rod Tours

This isn’t your typical airport transfer! Be greeted with a beautifully restored classic car as you step off the plane and start your honeymoon in style. Leave the navigating to your wonderful host as you get acquainted with the local sights of Cannonvale, Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour, then set off on the road less travelled for a day trip to the region’s hidden treasures with champagne or beer in hand. 

Will you choose to cruise in Betsy, the open top 1928 Ford Tourer, or Letty, the gorgeous 1949 Chevrolet Styleline? Either way, you’re guaranteed to have a fabulous time! 

The Perfect Alternative to a Whitsunday Islands Honeymoon

Honeymoon in The Whitsundays | Airlie Beach Accommodation | Mirage Whitsundays

As a tropical honeymoon destination, Airlie Beach is more than just a gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. With luxurious places to stay where you can revel in “we time”, million dollar views to enjoy from myriad locations, premium dining delivered with warm hospitality and unforgettable land and sea experiences, the only filter you’ll need are sunnies! 

We acknowledge the Ngaro people as the Traditional Custodians of The Whitsundays and recognise their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

Got a honeymoon destination or experience our nearlyweds should know about? Tell us all the details via team{at}theweddingplaybook.com!

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