I knew that during my trip along the east coast I was going to have to venture out to the Whitsundays. It’s safe to say that they are a close second to the Great Barrier Reef in must see destinations on the east coast. There are many options of tours for you to consider. Day tours, over night tours, 2 day tours, 3 day tours, do you see where I’m going with this? I was after a more chill type of tour, so I steered clear from the classic young person, backpacker speedboat options, an went for a good old sailing trip. Complimentary tea and coffee, lunch on board, a tour of Whitehaven beach as well as an afternoon of snorkelling.
I booked through Sailing Whitsndays on Providence V for $179, which is pretty reasonable given everything that’s included in the day. They arrange to pick you up from wherever your staying (which was awesome) at around 7am-ish and then you’re off to sea. We had two skippers, one Australian and funnily enough, one Glasweigen. Now you would think that would be a great in for me to chat but nope. It takes me a good while to wake up properly in the morning, so by the time my brain was ready to handle conversation I felt like too much time had passed for me to say “oh hey, I’m from Glasgow too” so I just… didn’t talk. At all really! Most of the other people on board were groups or families with young kids so there wasn’t much socialising happening at all. I guess that’s what I get for staying clear of backpackers.
It took us about three hours to actually reach Whitsunday Island, but the trip up was lovely. It was nice and warm if a bit windy, we got our tea and coffee and kept an eye out for any wildlife hanging around. We did manage to spot a Stingray just chilling in the reef which was really cool. I had never seen one of them in the wild before.
When we finally reached Whitsunday Island, we were taken to shore in small groups on the little motor boat and one of the skippers took us to the path and showed us where to go. From there, they left us all to our own devices. Two hours to do whatever we wanted. The Hill Inlet Lookout is where you see all those postcard shots of Whitehaven beach so I headed up there first. Shock horror that it was packed full of people! I kind of squeezed my way in to get my pictures and god (perks of being a solo traveller) There is one little strip of sand that was used in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film. Apparently, they spent millions of dollars setting up and removing their own palm trees etc for a seven second shot. Hollywood is wild!
Funny story: a girl at the lookout offered to take pictures for me and she turned out to be my dormmate that night! Small world!
After admiring the view and listening in on a few tour guides chat about the island I made my way down to the beach. The sand is pure silica after years of being stripped of all it’s chemicals, so it feels like you are walking on flour! Hot Tip: It is apparently a great exfoliant and also for cleaning jewellery. I set down my bag and towel and made the long walkout to the water (I don’t know if it was low tide or if it’s just always like that. The water itself was so clear and warm it was lovely wading through it. I only went in knee deep though.
A beautiful two hours passed and it was time to head back to the ship. I was extra excited because it was now lunch time and I was starting to get a bit headachey. To my utter dismay, they were short of three meals. And of course I was one of that three. The skippers came to the rescue though and set up a little platter of their lunches for us (I felt bad about eating their food but I was also starving so…) We got watermelon, oranges, melon as well as bread and a cheese spread. It was surprisingly delicious. I have been hunting for that sundried tomato cheese ever since!
There were originally a few spots to chose from for snorkelling but we ended up back in the passage between Whitsunday Island and Hook Island. For a second I thought about not going snorkelling as I really don’t like cold water and normally chicken out of doing stuff like this, but in the last minute I grabbed a mask and jumped in the motorboat. As I said I am an absolute scaredy cat when it comes to cold water. I hate it. If I wasn’t with a group of strangers I would have taken my sweet time climbing down into that water. But that was not the case, and I didn’t want to make a fuss so I just jumped in. I honestly thought I was going to drown. I couldn’t catch my breath. Basically, I am a big baby.
I thought “Okay, it’s not THAT cold, just get your mask on and you’ll be having so much fun you’ll forget about the temperature.” Nope. Turns out my brain couldn’t quite link up to what was happening. My head was underwater, but I could breathe? No that can’t be right, don’t worry, Brain to the rescue. I couldn’t quite seem to get myself to breathe. Constantly trying to breathe through my nose, which was obviously blocked by the mask, and panicked when I wasn’t getting any air. It took me a good 5 seconds to actually get my mouth to breathe. That happened every time I put my head under water. Every time my body started to panic. It was so weird, cause I knew what was going on and that I just had to breathe through my mouth and it would be fine, but I just couldn’t So yeah, snorkelling is not as easy as it sounds ha! A few more tries and I’m sure I’ll be all good!
We were told to stay clear of the reef and stick to the drop and just look from there. If we got to close to the reef we risked injury to ourselves and the coral. Either the water was a bit murky, or the reef was just pretty dead, but it wasn’t as colourful as I expected it to be. I did get to see some cool fish though!
While we were back on the ship drying off in the afternoon sun, the skippers brought out a fruit platter to get rid of the salt taste from the water. It was delicious, but still didn’t quite fill the hole left from the lack of a proper lunch. It was now time to just make our way back home. Though it was not as chill as the way out. We were lucky enough to come across some whales, a mum and two babies, who were playing out in the ocean. We weren’t allowed to get to close, but they turned off the engine so we could just sit and watch them. They were slapping the water with their fins and breaching, the skippers reckon the mother whale was teaching her babies the tricks. It was absolutely beautiful to see! We also spotted some dolphins not far off from the boat as well as a turtle or two.
My day out in the Whitsunday Islands was absolutely lovely, and while there were a few hiccups, I would recommend that particular trip to anyone looking to explore the whitsundays. Have you ever been to the Whitsundays? What was your favourite bit?