The Whitsundays is a stunning part of Australia. It’s in Queensland between Brisbane and Cairns, with Airlie beach being the main starting point for exploring the islands.
I’ve seen plenty of stunning photos of Whitehaven beach and wanted to see it for myself. I flew to Hamilton Island and took a ferry to Airlie beach. The ferry is very expensive at $50 one-way and I learnt later that a cheaper option is to fly to Proserpine then take the bus.
Airlie beach is full of European backpackers and hostels with busy bars. There are plenty of information & travel centres if you haven’t pre-booked activities. There isn’t a whole lot to do in the town apart from the bars and it’s more of a base for trips out to the islands and water activities. To see Whitehaven beach you can fly over it or take a boat to the island. I could only afford one option, so picked the boat. There are lookouts for photos and you can walk onto the beach – it’s a National Park with sand that is 98% pure silica and I’ve never seen anything like it. Some of the cheap trips pack people on board so be careful when booking. The rich hire boats and staying overnight in the stunning area – that would be the life.
I took a 3 day sailing trip through Whitsundays Sailing Adventures on a boat called Kiana and spent a night by Bait Reef on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. It has large boulders covered in coral and is perfect for snorkeling or diving. I was surprised at how close the coral was to the surface of the water. There were plenty of different fish & coral to observe and I even saw a shark and turtle.
I had only just started diving and was nervous about this trip. The first dive felt awkward and I’m sure I nearly knelt on a stingray! The dive was closer to land so people diving for the first time could go through the steps. While diving I was struggling to stay at the same level and was considering knelling on the sand for a mini break. When I got closer I decided not to risk damaging any of the wildlife on the floor so kicked back up and a stingray raced off from below me! The second dive was perfect and I finished with such a buzz. It is fascinating sinking lower and seeing the reef from further below.
It’s a beautiful part of the world and I highly recommend visiting. I went during whale season (June to September) excepting to see maybe a couple of whales. Instead I saw 2 on the ferry from the airport and spent the 3 day sailing trip moving around the boat to watch may, may more.
Is the Whitsundays on your travel wish-list? Do you want to walk on Whitehaven beach? Ask a question in the comments below.