It would be my recommendation to purchase a package sailing adventure for the Whitesundays. You can purchase them anywhere, but the company I went with was Koala's. Koala's owns resorts in Noosa, Hervey Bay, Daintree, and Airlie Beach. The two main attractions are at Hervey Bay serving Fraser Island, Airlie Beach serving the Whitsundays. Included in your package are rooms at their resort the night before your sailing departure. The boat, meals, but not drinks, accommodation on South Molle Island, stinger suits, and snorkelling gear.
You can also purchase a single scuba dive and lesson, which I did, for 70 AUD.
The vessel I purchased was the "Pride of Airlie".
See my transportation tip for Koala information.
One of Australia's greatest atractions is the Great Barrier Reef that hugs the coastline of Queensland almost in its entirity. It is by far the biggest coral reef system in the world, is considered one of the world's natural wonders, and is the biggest structure made by living organisms on earth. The reef is one continuous piece further north and is located very near the shore. In the south, the reef is mainly in little pieces and lies much further off shore.
The entire system contains more than 3000 inidividual reefs which range in size from about 1acre to over 10,000 acres in area. All told the total area of the reef is an amazing 300,000 square kilometres.
Random facts from the net:
1500 species of fish
400 different types of coral
500 species of seaweed
215 species of birds
16 species of sea snake
6 species of sea turtle
are contained in the reef's system.
The area of Whitehaven Beach that is world-renowned for its beauty is called the Hill Inlet. Without a doubt, this place deserves the fame. The hike to the Hill Inlet Overlook is worth every sweaty step. Because the views at the end are one of a kind.
The sand mosaic that is produced by the mix of sand and water here, changes with every single tide. As the water comes in, the sand moves around, and as the area drains, the sand is laid back down in a different pattern each and every time.
What will yours look like?
One of the best things about sailing is the interactive experience! On board our vessel there was a 4 man rew but they can't do all the work so volunteers are needed to help hoist the sails. The main sail is raised manually and then it is winched in and crank up the remainder of the way by 4-6 people. Also when the boat is Jibing or Tacking crankers are needed to switch the sails position.
Fondest memory: It's pretty fun spinning your arms like a madman wih your partner and you get to feel like your in the middle of an America's Cup race! It's not easy though. I was left out of breath a few times!
Another fun way to interact on the boat is to manually hoist the sail by pulling on a rope that raises either the lead sail or the main sail before the winches take over. Thi is not easy and it is all about technique. The basic idea is to pull the rope in the shape of a seven (Out, Down, In). It gets exponentially harder as you have gravity working against you more and more the higher you hoist the sail!
Fondest memory: Poor Mikey was stuck doing this a few times on the last day. After the rest of the crew saw how tired he was after the first go at it nobody volunteered and he was stuck doing it again. I'll say one thing it's a damn good workout!
he lead sail is the harder of the two sails to hoist and thus requires 3 people to hoist up the mast. This may sounds like it makes it easy but if you don't cordinate your efforts you end up working against yourselves and having the skipper yell obscenities at you until you do it. Again the harder you make it for yourselves the faster it gets diificult and the faster you get tired!
Fondest memory: I had a couple goes at this one. The first was not so succesful as our techniue was terrible and we couldn't seem to coordinate our efforts into the '7' pattern. The second go it was myself and two hulking Irishmen, which made my task alot easier plus we were all veterans by this point and hoisted that bad boy up in record time!
During the simple ceremony Amanda read a poem for us, LOVE`S PHILOSOPHY by Percy Bysshe Shelley.
The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the sea,
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion.
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In on another`s being mingle
Why not i with thine?
See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another,
No sister flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother,
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea
And what are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?
After the ceremony our photographer, Sue Consodine, had us all messing about on the beach, good on ya Sue!
From left to right; Amanda (my best man & Steff's bridesmaid) Steff, myself and Ivan Conway the Celebrant who married us.
You can find this picture on Ivans web site too Whitsunday Weddings
If you're lucky enough to have good conditions and a skipper who likes to sail you may just get to become an America's Cup sailor for one day and have your own personal regatta with another boat! We were just so lucky to have god conditions and a boat of equal size that wanted a piece of us.
Fondest memory: We gave "Hammer" (as the vanquished boat was dubbed) a headstart and still managed to blow it out of the water during a race around part of Whitsunday Island. It's pretty fun spinning the cranks and yanking on the sails and having the boom swing over your head. Quite the rush! We even had a rematch against the same boat and kicked it's butt even worse on the way back to port! Yay British Defender!
Favorite thing: Whitsunday Island is a national park so no camping or bonfires on the beach. On Whitehaven Beach there are some barbeques under the trees for the organised trips to use, the boat crews know where they are and they cook up some great food too.After we got hitched on the beach we retreated to the shade and tucked in. Don`t be surprised to if the odd goanna turns up to beg for scraps.
Favorite thing: A romantic way to spend an evening and only $43 a head is the sunset champagne cruise aboard the Banana Winds. Sailing from Abel Point Harbour the cruise lasts between 2 to 3 hours during which some food will be served and there is an unlimited supply of bubbly.
Relax and enjoy the scenery while at the Whitsundays... You can spend your days without a care in the world...the biggest thing to worry about is what to eat next or where to spend your time... ;) What a great way to spend your holiday!!! :)
The front of our boat was a great place for relaxing and spending time...the trampolines were great for laying in the sun to relax too... :)
Almost everywhere we went in the Whitsundays we saw colourful fish swimming around our boat... Some were really big fish too!!
Whenever we threw some bread into the water heaps of fish would swarm the area...it was amazing! In some areas the fish were huge and in other areas they were smaller fish... Just don't take some bread out with you if you're going snorkelling...they might just swarm you and bite your finger...it happened to one of us! ;)
Most of the islands also offer somewhere to feed or watch the fish at feeding times.
Favorite thing: Hill Inlet is at Whitsunday Island between Tongue Bay and Whitehaven Beach... It is an amazing place and really beautiful. You will get the best view either by taking a plane/helicopter ride or the short (about 10 minutes) hike up the hill at Tongue Bay.
Whitehaven Beach is an amazing place!!! We anchored there one night and spent a lot of time on the beach... The beach stretches six kms and is pure white silica sand. Gorgeous!!
You will find tours to Whitehaven Beach (on Whitsunday Island) from almost everywhere...it is a very popular tourist destination. The beach is so long that you won't have to share your area with many others even on a busy day.