Whitsunday Islands

Monday morning I was picked up for my day excursion to the Whitsunday islands. There’re a lot of different operators and all are offering more or less the same. You can also book a multi-day “sailing” through the Whitsunday islands. They offer all the time, but if there’s no wind, you’re just cruising with the engine at low speed from island to island. In the end I hadn’t had the impression that you see more, this is because just the sailing from island to island takes longer. So after pickup, we needed to “check-in” at the wharf. That was mostly a data survey, but the good thing was the system just wanted to have some characters in the boxes…so don’t expect that I disclosed any information there 🤣. After that we got our stinger suits, as it’s high season for jelly fish at the moment. After about 45 min waiting time, we finally embarked the boat. This was a high-speed boat, no idea why they still get an “eco-tours” label, with two 350 horsepower engines. The average fuel consumption is 140 litres per hour, whereas it can peak to 240 litres per hour at full load and full speed. So after leaving the harbour with a speed restriction of 6 knots we headed directly to the Whitsunday island, the largest of the 74 Whitsunday islands. Indigenous people lived here for about 20,000 years, but nowadays this island is uninhabited. We got off the boat and walked up to the famous Hill Inlet view point, probably the third most photographed point of view. From this lookout you’ve the view to the Whitehaven beach with the Hill inlet in the background. The Whitehaven beach consists of a very pure white sand with more than 98% silica content. As it’s so white, the sand doesn’t get hot during the day, so you can easily walk over it. After we got some lunch, I went to the ocean front for some swimming. The surf and current wasn’t that big. I even spotted three sting rays in total quite close to me. But as long as you don’t step on them, they just try to escape. All the other guests stayed next to the boat and splashed with a cold drink and a pool noodle in the warm water. At noon we headed off to Hook island, which was supposed to have some nice snorkeling spots. Surprisingly the islands are mainly covered with pine trees, and only have limited freshwater reservoirs. The sand from Whitehaven beach came originally from the mainland and stayed here since the water rise of the last ice age, as the islands itself are of volcanic origin, they wouldn’t be able to produce that kind of sand by it’s own. The first spot at Hook Island is not longer that nice since the last cyclone. A few different fish were around, but the coral wasn’t that pretty at all. The second spot had a nice coral garden, with some quite colourful corals. Additionally, it had also some bunches of soft coral and sponges. I could have stayed much longer in that area, but I was already the last to get back to the boat, as the others could not longer float with their pool noodles…well without it’s much easier. But anyway, if you can’t properly swim in open waters, then snorkeling might not the right thing for you. From there we passed Hayman island and cruised directly back to Airlie beach. This whole spot reminded me to Komodo island. It’s a big tourist trapp, but contrary to Komodo island, they don’t try to get your money during the trip, rather than before and also after, as you can buy photos which they took for 6$…each! No thanks, I’ve my own camera.

Hill inlet…
…with Whitehaven beach…
…makes at picturesque view. The water is so clear, that you even can spot stingrays in the water from the viewing platforms.
No…that’s not an island but called cargo ship, and clearly heading northbound 😅
Hook island, the second largest island of the Whitsunday’s and our next destination
Due to all the pine trees…
…and the mountainous landscape, it looks a bit similar to Canada
Passed Hayman Island with it’s resort on it…
…and heading straight back to the mainland with all it’s mountains along the coastline

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