The White Sand of Whitehaven Beach
One of the highlights of the Aussie VT Meet 2009 was going to the beautiful Whitehaven Beach at the Whitsunday Islands National Park. The sand is soft and fine to walk on, it reminded me of powdered sugar. I was told that it is actually silica sand, which can be used to polish jewelery. I don't wear jewelery at the beach so I didn't try to do that. We were also warned before heading a shore to be very careful with our cameras because if that very fine sand gets into the camera it will be destroyed. Jeff kept his safely around his neck and never put it down on our beach towel. We decided we had to take a risk, rather than miss out on taking pictures of that postcard perfect location.
If you have the time and the money it is worth going on a reef tour... Air Whitsunday do tours via sea planes out to the reef, from Shute Harbour or from the islands...it is a 65 minute flight for $175. The Heart Reef from the air is gorgeous!!!
Day Trip to Whitehaven Beach
We chose to do a day trip with Whithaven Xpress. This is a smaller boat owned and operated by a lovely couple, Terry & Gill, and their son, Dan (who looks a bit like a pirate)
Departing from Abel Point Marina, we set out with the first stop being some snorkelling off the north eastern point of Hook Island. Non-snorkellers were also looked after, there was a glass bottom boat so no-one missed out on seeing the wonderful marine life and corals here.
Next stop, Whitehaven Beach for a BBQ lunch cooked by Dan and shipmate Shannon. Dan's chilli burgers were awesome! Watch out for the huge goannas who can smell the food cooking and are not afraid of tourists, though it is not advisable to feed them. Plenty of time afterwards to swim or relax on one of the most beautiful, pristine beaches in the world. The pure white silica sand has to be seen to be believed!
Our final stop for the day was at Hill Inlet, where after a short walk through a pretty bush trail you come across the stunning scenice lookout with views south where you can photograph Whithaven Beach in all it's glory. Shifting tides colouring the sea & sand in shades of aqua blue - amazing! Don't leave your camera on the boat!
I was very impressed with the crew who looked after my elderly mother so well. Getting her into the glass-bottom boat, in & out of the inflatable at Whithaven and staying with her on the walk up to the lookout, nothing was too much trouble at all, so thank you to the entire team & especially Shannon who wouldn't leave mum behind!
The cost for the day trip, including morning tea, lunch, afternoon cheese platter, snorkel gear & pick-up from hotel was $140 adults, $70 for children aged 4-14. There is also a seniors/student discount $135
Drinks, snacks, underwater cameras were available on board at extra cost, and stinger suits for hire.
Jumping in Airlie Beach
This amazing and memorable VT picture comes from the Airlie Beach Travelogue by aussierose at "Whitsunder Wonderland 2009 Big Downunder... "
“The moment we had all been waiting for finally arrived. The 4th big downunder meet - Whitsunday Wonderland hosted by Louise of Mackay, AU - VTer lou31- was a total hit!! 37 vt'ers & over 40 va's decended on Airlie Beach and the place will never be the same!! :o)
We had a few takes in the Whitsundays recently at our big downunder meet to get the perfect group jumping shot. Mind you we were jumping in the water at Whithaven Beach...so one cannot tell if we actually had our feet off the ground at the time haha. Hey good idea with the vid.... I've been thinking about how I can get a still shot off my videos. Must get to it and figure it out. I'm sure one of my software applications might be able to do that. “
Ann of Perth, Australia - aussirose
"Airlie, will be the name of my first born!"
Airlie, is the best ever. I must say it is a total backpackers paradise and I loved it. It was definately the most fun and young crowd filled with backpackers from Holland to South Africa. Best part, they are all looking for a good time. Magnums is the best hostel that parties day and night. The people are fun and very attractive. Airlie itself, is a looker as well, it has a man-made beach like many cities in Oz ,and the bay is just breathtaking. it is a port city for sailing trips to the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Dont be fooled, though, it is by no means just a layover before the Whitsunsays.
We met amazing people, esp from Bowen! and also the only American we met the whole trip, come on guys, get with the program, Oz is the best. We partied with are new friends all through the night like rockstars. When jaz stumbled home? no one knows, but there was definately a luke sandwich....I caught about one hour of sleep before I had to wake up to go sky diving over the Great Barrier, prob the best experience of my life. I think I was still a bit drunk and my instructor asked if i was drinking because he could smell the alcohol, while we were landing, oopps. seriously though, if you get the chance sky dive there, you dont have to take the annoying hour course before. You just hop in the plane and jump, so do it, and take the highest jump. the reef is the best view, and the forest looks like tons of broccoli. It was gnarly too, because from the height I jumped from it was clear, and when I made it through the clouds it was raining.. so nuts.