Sailing the Whitsunday Islands

Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
Trip End Feb 01, 2012

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A sailing boat

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Whitsunday Islands. Described as the highlight of any trip to Australia's east coast. A group of over 70 islands, with an island in particular boasting one of the best beaches in the world. We just had to go!

A month earlier I had absent-mindedly pressed the 'like’ button to enter a travel competition, and I had actually won. It turns out that the prize would turn out to be very useful – a Queensland Explorer pass that gave me unlimited free travel all over Queensland. Result! Even better the pass allowed us free travel on their luxury business trains which are just brilliant! Paul bought another pass and off we went, up along the east coast with our first stop being Airlie Beach – the gateway to the Whitsundays.

The thing to do here is to take a sailing trip around the islands. It also happened to be Paul’s birthday the day after we arrived so I had the perfect excuse to book us a sailing trip for a couple of nights.

The choice was mind boggling – maxi- boats, sailing boats, catamarans. We had no clue which one to go for. In the end we chose a sailing boat that had been quite the star in its hey-day, winning the Sydney to Hobart race a couple of times. (Apparently that’s a big deal).

January is not the best time to visit Queensland as it’s the rainy season, but once again the gods were smiling on us and we had perfect weather throughout our trip.

Less impressive however, were our sleeping conditions. As all 27 of us walked down to the sleeping quarters, we were greeted by a row of double beds on each side of the boat with an extra bed literally hanging 30 centimetres above the bed below. To describe them as cramped would be an understatement. But hey ho who cared about sleeping conditions when you were sailing round these amazing islands in perfect weather!

As the weather was so fine we could not actually sail that much because there was no wind but we were more than happy to have the sun instead. On our first afternoon we went to a sandbank that only appears at low tide and sat and watched the sunset whilst eating a late lunch washed down with some fine Aussie beer. Not a bad start to the trip! We also snorkelled in the same area but the visibility was poor so Karen & I bailed early.

The following morning after a restless sleep we went and did another snorkelling trip that was much better. The visibility was good and there were loads of fish, mainly because the various boat crews fed them which in a way is bad because the fish start to rely on humans. Our 2nd stop though was the real reason anybody comes to The Whitsunday Islands and that is to see the fabled Whitehaven Beach. When we walked up to the viewing platform the sight before me took my breath away. It was the most amazing beach I have ever seen. The sand was as white as snow, the colour of the ocean the most amazing blue and there was hardly anybody on it (you can only stay for 3 hours). We could not wait to get on it and swim! Unfortunately, we are in Queensland during their " Stinger “ season which basically means there are shit loads of jellyfish that can kill you with just a brush of their tentacles. Now everyone has heard of the Box Jellyfish which they get here. They are huge and it would be pretty hard to miss them but this being Australia, they also have these minute Jellyfish that are as equally as harmful which you can’t see. So hence our sexy (not) attire in these photos. They are stinger suits and they keep you alive!

I have a theory that evolution managed to put all the world’s deadliest animals in Australia and man was never meant to settle here. After what I have seen, I still stand by that theory! When we got on to the beach the sand was so white it blinded you. Its consistency is so fine when you walk on it it squeaks. The water was so clear we had small sharks and stingrays swimming around us. It was perfect. Apparently it is number 4 in the World’s top 10 beaches. Well I can’t wait to see the top 3!

I never thought that I would say that we went on a better beach than Kho Ngai in Thailand but after visiting Whitehaven, I can.

Just before getting back on the boat we went back to the viewing area and got even better shots than the first time as the tide had changed and you could see more of the famous swerving sand. It was magical.

If you are ever in this area I would highly recommend going on a small tour (less than 10) or even getting a boat out yourself. If that proves to be problematic then just take a day trip to Whitehaven. Avoid at all costs the party boats and any of the bigger vessels as they take away the reason why you are in this area in the first place. Nature at its best.

Right, off we go to our next stop. Townsville.

See you on the promenade!

All our love,

Paul & Karen xxx
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Marija on

Sounds magical. Your description made me feel I was there, so thanks for that! PS I was wondering about the suits ;)

mom on


auntyp on

WOW!!! sooooooooooo Amazing!!!!!! xxxxxxxx



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