Australia (Part 2) – Whitsundays Islands

The Whitsundays Islands are located off the central coast of Queensland, just between Townsville and Mackay and are in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef.
There are a total of 74 islands among all the groups in the Whitsundays where only 17 of them are inhabited.

Well famous for their white sand and their turquoise water, it’s one of Australia’s most touristic destination.
Unfortunately, because of their popularity and because you can only access them by boat or by flight, it’s also very expensive!
Our advice: Book last minute. They often make sales to fill up the ships.
Be careful tho, this advice does not apply when you’re travelling in high season, in that case, book early to make sure there are still spaces on board.

We left from Airlie Beach on board of the S.V Whitehaven on our way to this paradisiacal archipelago.
We chose the 2 days/ 1 night option to enjoy the experience to the fullest.

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After an hour and a half, we arrived at our first stop: a beautiful bay off the ‘Hayman Island’ where we could snorkel or kayak in the middle of the corals and the fish.
Once in the water, we were surrounded by hundreds of fish. They came to play along just next to us, we had to refrain ourselves with the desire of touching them.
The corals were magnificent and huuuge, which almost forced us to pull our stomachs and which made it very tricky to not damage them with our flippers.
The place was magical and the world stopped for a minute. It was the shipping crew that took us back to reality by asking us back on board for lunch.

The second stop of the day was off ‘Hook Island’. The place was apparently often filled with sea turtles.
We had the choice between snorkelling or relaxing on the beach. We chose to keep exploring the reef but the experience was way less fun than in the morning.
No turtles, the current was strong, we could barely see the corals and the fish were playing hide and seek.

After dinner, a member of the crew briefly showed us the many fish that we might or (probably already had) see(n).
The atmosphere was good, relaxing and peaceful. The evening was really enjoyable.
We had the choice to sleep in the cabins or on the deck. Many had chosen the second option.
We had a feeling that a storm would come and decided to sleep inside. We couldn’t have make a better decision. At around 4am, a massive storm woke all the boat up and all the people who were sleeping on the deck, went rushing inside.

The next day we woke up at dawn to see the sunrise over the sea. Unfortunately, the storm left some clouds behind and we couldn’t see much.

That day was mainly focused on the Whitehaven Beach.
That 7km long beach on the ‘Whitsunday Island’ is the most famous of the archipelago.
In 2008, it won the award of Queensland’s cleanest beach.

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Known for its white sand which consists of 98% pure silica which gives it its bright color and does not retain heat making it comfortable to walk barefoot on a hot day.

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After showing us the point of view on the top of the hill, the guide brought us to the beach. The beauty of that place astonishes us and the time seems to have stopped again. The water is warm and transparent which allows us to see small lemon sharks all around us. The sand is so soft and pure that it’s a good natural body scrub and is also good at polishing up jewelry.

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But all the best things end and after a few hour of happiness, we went back on the boat.
It’s while we were explaining to the captain that we were a bit disappointed to not have seen any turtles, that just at that time, a gigantic sea turtle showed up just 2 meters from us, took a sip of fresh air and went back underwater. We were astonished and over the moon.
For our great pleasure, we saw 2 or 3 other sea turtles before we finally took out the sails and went back to Airlie Beach.

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Oh and FYI : The boat and the sea turtle photos have been taken out of a film made with our GoPro. It’s why it has such a bad quality.