by Heidi Walton
Airlie Beach has been a drawcard for boaties for a long time with its sublime water, awe-inspiring natural beauty and laid-back character. But there’s a new attraction helping take the Whitsunday town to a whole new level of wow.
Port of Airlie, Airlie Beach
Port of Airlie is a premier marina community just a short walk along the promenade to that famous Airlie Beach main street. The development oozes cool. Think luxury waterfront holiday apartments, a hotel, oceanfront land, exceptional shopping, unique dining options and even a beach, all with stunning views over the marina and out to the Coral Sea.
There’s also a multi-million dollar transit terminal comprising bus and taxi rank, boat ramp, pontoon and other public amenities. The boardwalk is near full completion.
But the drawcard in the Port of Airlie development is definitely the marina. It’s a world-class facility offering year round, deep-water access with berths catering for 15m monohulls and multihulls right up to 50m superyachts. In fact the number of berths has tripled since the start of this year. With three-phase power, water, security and the popular Whitsunday Sailing Club a stone’s throw away, the rare 94-year lease option should look very inviting to serious marine enthusiasts, whether they are residents or private investors.
What’s most exciting for Airlie Beach is that while Port of Airlie has made a very significant investment in infrastructure for the tourist town, it’s one of several major projects injecting renewed interest in the area. Whitsunday Regional Council has just completed a $20 million upgrade of Airlie’s main street and there’s been a recent $7 million upgrade of the Whitsunday Coast Airport with further development of the airport, mooted to be worth an additional $10 million, also on the drawing board.
Port of Airlie general manager Andrew Forster said that while this investment was a boon for locals, it also made it an ideal time for luxury leisure seekers (and especially boaties) to stop by Airlie for a visit or even make the town their home.
'We are excited about all of the new infrastruc¬ture that is being developed here to improve lifestyle and accessibility,' he said. 'All this, and we have The Great Barrier Reef and 74 Whitsunday islands right on our doorstep.'