You have put up an interesting topic Is Airlie Beach a safe area?.
The answer is yes unless you can't swim then I would avoid the water, it is one of Queensland's beauty spots on the Whitsundays and the barrier reef is just a boat ride away.
Accommodation is varied to every ones budget, the entertainment is suitable for both young and old alike. Are the locals friendly?
well some have been known to be not as friendly as others but like all places you will strike some one who is having a bad hair day, on the whole we are all friendly till provoked then we don't buy you any more beers
be polite and you will be treated with respect and politeness back.Are there many people (men/women) who travel and stay there alone?
It is a tourist area and is full of backpackers from all over the world so i would say there is a large percentage of single females and males, some are there for a holiday some are there working in the local industries to pay for the next leg of their Australian tour.
To answer all your fears mate as we say here in Oz come an haveabloodygoodweekend sit back relax and enjoy life.
On a serious Note tho as usual you are in a strange country hence be aware of situations you get into read the situation if uncomfortable leave be polite and go.
Our pubs are not like the ones you have at home to us they are there to drink in not to listen to music or play darts even tho some are set out so look at the establishment see if you like the feel of it if not move on, I even do that and i am a Queenslander.
I also noted that you are staying else where in oz and what time of year are u coming out our summer is your winter and up in the tropics it can get quite steamy and wet in the summer day temps 30-33 nights 25 winter is a pleasant time day temps of around 25c night temps around the 15c about, also one thing a lot of people don't consider is its size The UK will fit roughly 32 times into Australia, so it is not a couple of hours drive from Airlie beach to Sydney looks close on the map but it is not.
I hope this has answered some of your questions and am sure other Aussie will have more input as well as fellow travelers who have been and stayed in the Whitsundays