Abel Point Marina in Airlie Beach is the port utilized by large ships that want to stop in the Whitsunday Islands.
There is no dock facility there, however, and ships have to anchor far from the shore (three miles off shore for the Queen Mary 2), and use tenders to go ashore.
The ride takes about fifteen minutes and brings you to a small, new, clean building.
The building offers rest rooms, a few shops…
wifi for a fee…
and an ATM.
An attractive Spanish restaurant with a great view of the islands and sea was next door.
A group of volunteers, identified by blue Hawaiian style shirts and known as ambassadors, make visitors feel welcome and are very helpful, providing information and handouts.
An ambassador band played as we came ashore.
A map of the area showed that the downtown could be reached along a seaside walkway.
The ship offered a shuttle bus to the downtown, taxis are available, and bikes were offered for rent.
From the parking lot it appeared that earlier visitors could have hired local boaters to take them out on excursions.
The downtown area is a mile away from the quay and about a fifteen-minute walk along a well-maintained path and boardwalk.
Restaurants, shops, a park, and marina lie on the way.
Housing complexes can be seen in the distance.
Once in town you can find many cafes, restaurants, shops and establishments selling excursions of all kinds.
Airlie Beach is itself a site. The walk to town is beautiful and well worth doing. The city is clean, new, and attractive with all the amenities of a typical beech community.
Excursions to nearby islands and beaches, as well as to the Great Barrier Reef can be bought from local vendors in the town center. Snorkeling is possible off the shore of Daydream Island which can be reached by ferry from Abell Point Marina in thirty minutes.
When swimming in this area be aware of the potential dangers of crocodiles and box jellies (from September to May) .
Sitting on the Coral Sea on the coast of tropical Queensland, Airlie Beach has a population of about 4,000 and is known for its boating and yachting. It is a new town, established in the 1930s, and is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands, a group of 74 islands, lying near the Great Barrier Reef.
The local currency is the Australian dollar (US $1=Aus $ 1.20)
Banking hours are Monday to Thursday 9:30 to 4pm; with an extra hour on Friday.