Visitors to the area can do so much here – or so little, and do it all so well. Island hopping is most definitely an option as this is the departure point for exploring the Great Barrier Reef – the world’s largest living thing, even visible from outer space. You can’t come this far to only explore one patch of sand. Well…you could, but then you’d be missing out on some serious adventures!
Whitehaven Beach at low tide
I don’t care who you are. There is something for everyone at this establishment. Pool. Beach. Cocktails. Romance. Luxury. Sun. …Maybe you don’t like sun. There’s an umbrella for that. Find out more on the resort in my recent blog post here.
2. Explore Whitehaven Beach via helicopter – and then walk on it
The crystal clear aqua waters and pristine silica sand of Whitehaven stretch over four miles along Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands. It’s easy to see how it was named the South Pacific’s Best Beach by the 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards. Advice: Time your adventure for low tide so that you can get the full experience with the fusion of colors that surface. Also, bring your jewels. The fine sand is known to clean them well!
3. Be a kid again and take up unique water spots
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who like to lay on the beach and those who get overcome with boredom on minute two of sunbathing. I used to be in the first group, but these days I’ve moved on over to the second. People change. Get over it. Anyhow, seabobbing is where it’s at. If you’re a lazy kind of adventurer, try the paddle board or catamaran.
4. Eat seafood until you can’t anymore
There’s something about eating seafood in a landlocked location that creeps me out a wee bit. It can’t be that fresh, amiright? Island life allows me to indulge in this particular cuisine without much worry, and I’ll never tire of shrimp cocktails or fresh sashimi.
Airlie Beach, otherwise known as a backpackers paradise, is about a 45 minute boat ride from Hayman Island. Sure, the place is crawling with backpackers, but don’t be scared about the sheer number of hostels in the area (unless you’d like to crash in one, of course). Luxury hotels exist such as Pinnacles Resort, or go another route and choose an Airbnb. May I recommend Glenda and Ernie? Best Airbnb hosts on the face of the planet. Their remodeled home overlooking the sea is beyond stunning.
6. Dive/Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays
I’ve grown to adore scuba diving. I find it extremely peaceful as I’m floating away into the abyss (because unless you know sign language, there’s really no communicating under the sea). I made the three hour boat ride to the edge of the Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays, a company that runs almost everything throughout the area. Each day they take passengers from Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island to Reef World, an area at the edge of the reef, for a chance to see some of the most beautiful underwater sea life!
7. Sail the seas
Why stay on land when you can stay on water? While I opted for a few nights in Airlie Beach (wi-fi called!), my travel buddies booked a two-day boat trip to explore more of the Whitsunday Islands. I don’t blame them – these islands are truly spectacular. Guests range from 8 – 24 in number on the majority of boats in the area. I’d recommend the smaller boats as this ensures intimacy with both the shipmates as well as flexibility of the group. You know what they say though: the smaller the ship the larger the waves!