Thursday 26th January marked Australia Day and we had safely arrived in Airlie Beach and were ready to have the ultimate Straya day experience. So we headed down to the marina for our one day tour of the Whitsunday Islands and famous Whitehaven Beach! We booked ourselves on an ocean rafting tour, collected our beautiful stinger suits and got onboard. Wth seats right at the front of the boat we were in for a bumpy ride with unbelievable views of the mesmerising blue seas.
After about half an hour of speeding out of the marina and through Cooks Passage we arrived at our first stop. Before getting to the beach we had an opportunity to snorkel in a Bay. A lesser known fact about the Whitsunday Islands is that the reef surrounding them is part of the Great Barrier Reef and therefore makes for the perfect opportunity to see the underwater world less explored and more preserved than that of Cairns. So in we jumped with stingersuits and snorkels securely fastened ready to see the bright colours of the fish and the corals, only slightly concerned by the stingers that could be present. Although there were plenty of fish to watch go about their underwater lives we were left somewhat disheartened by the lack of vibrant colours on the reef. Either nature programmes have over enhanced their shots of the coral or more damage has been done than we’d have liked to think. Nethertheless we all got back onboard feeling lucky to have seen such a peaceful world.
In true Aussie style we got some beers and ciders from the esqui on board and headed to our next destination – paradise.
The ocean rafting company are one of the only two tour groups on the Whitsundays who have permission to dock their boats on the Whitehaven Beach. This gave us a unique experience of walking directly off the boat and on to the blissfully pure sand that makes the Whitsundays so unique. We walked up to the Hill Inlet where we stood mesmerised by the ever changing view in front of us and 200 pictures later it was time to move on to our lunch spot.
We pulled into the South end of the Whitehaven Beach and were yet again stunned by the undeniable beauty ahead. With barely anyone else on the beach except for a couple of people who had flown in on their helicopters(?!) we quickly claimed the desert island as our own.
After a buffet lunch and plenty more beers and ciders we joined the crew in a game of beach cricket. My excitement for the game quickly left me as I realised fielding basically required standing around and waiting.
I went for a break, laying in the sun watching the game from a distance and quickly realised how hot it really was and just how burnt I was. So headed into the crystal clear water to sizzle away the heat. After a few hours of Paradise it was time to ride back to the Marina on our speedy ocean raft. On the return journey our captain ramped up the speed and I almost lost my sunglasses and hat a fair few times. Just before pulling into the marina we did a few donuts to round off our perfect day in the Whitsundays.