Island Hopping in the Whitsundays

Airlie Beach Travel Blog

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After our time with Anne-Marie and the joeys we headed to Airlie Beach, a jumping off point for the Whitsundays.

It was another overnight coach trip, but thanks to our 5am starts and Joe working us hard that day we slept the whole way – a first for me! We had heard terrible things about the hostels in Airlie Beach, so chose a hostel a little further out of the main town, with an hourly free shuttle bus to the action.

This turned out to be a great plan, we had a lovely room in a chalet type building with just one other room sharing our space.

s soon as we arrived we went through the million and one brochures advertising the various Whitsundays tours. Finally we settled on one that circled the island including a stop on Whitehaven beach (3rd most photographed in Oz apparantly), followed by snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. The ride out to our first stop was slightly more choppy than I would have liked, but I secured a spot on the boat the didn't move much, then stayed put! Our first stop was at an island lookout, a short walk from the beach was a lookout with a fantastic view across to Whitehaven beach, we were told it was the 4th most photographed spot in Australia. After that short stop we headed over to the beach itself for a couple of hours.

The tide was actually in for the whole time we were at Whitehaven beach so it was slightly less impressive! We saw a little strip of the sand, which is 99.9% silica, one of the purest in the world. After lunch we went out to a more open part of sea for the main reason for the tour, snorkelling on the edge of the Great Barier Reef. Because it is stinger season, we all had to wear wetsuits to protect us from any jellyfish in the water, is there any less attractive item of clothing than the wetsuit?! Anyway, we were soon in the water so it didn't matter. We had bought a waterproof camera, so we armed ourselves with that, put on some flippers and hopped off the side of the boat. After a little bit of adjusting we got used to the flippers (can't do breakstroke legs with flippers on....). Looking under the water, it was just coral as far as we could see! It was not quite the pristine vivid colours we had seen in pictures but it was amazing nonetheless. Swimming around the coral were loads of fish, some of them really big, it was so cool!!

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Airlie Beach
photo by: Anouksreizen