The Whitsundays is a national park of 74 islands afloat in a turquoise sea off the coast of Queensland. Protected from ocean swells by the Great Barrier Reef, they offer some of the most sheltered waters in the world.
My first night in the islands was spent on-board the Solway Lass, a 102 year old tall ship. It was an incredible experience. Waking up to the crystal clear waters off Hayman Island and snorkeling with turtles after breakfast is something I will never forget.
The following afternoon I checked into Daydream Island Resort which is only 30 minutes away from Airlie beach (the gateway to the Whitsundays) and one of the most affordable of the Whitsundays handful of resorts and a popular one for families. From the many activities on offer, I enjoyed some fish feeding, crazy golf and snorkeling, followed by a short rainforest walk to a spectacular lookout point.
My next two nights were spent on Hamilton Island, which is accessible by both boat and aircraft. This island offers several accommodations options, from serviced apartments to the ultimate luxury of the Qualia resort. Since cars are not allowed, I hired a golf buggy and explored at my own pace. The pretty marina and village has several restaurants, shops and bars for those happy to explore beyond their resort.
I had breakfast with the Koalas, (a café with Koalas in trees that you can hold and take photos) and thoroughly enjoyed sea kayaking which allowed me to explore inaccessible beaches and coves. I also did a half day Whitehaven Beach cruise, the crystal clear waters and pristine silica sand stretching over seven kilometres. Pure paradise and a definite must see!
After my short stay had I embarked on the ferry shuttle back to Airlie Beach for my flight home. I wish I could have stayed longer! A visit to the Whitsundays is a feast of the senses surrounded by natural beauty, dotted with secluded beaches and friendly towns from which to explore. I can’t wait to go back!