Our time in Airlie was incredibly brief, we only really had one full day there, but the main reason for visiting was to do our 3 day, 2 night tour of the Whitsundays. We chose to go with the company Habibi as it was one of the lower budget boats, but pretty much all of the boats head to the same spots so we knew we wouldn’t be missing anything out.
Airlie itself was a lovely small town and was fun for a quick visit, although I’m glad we only had limited time there as there doesn’t seem like there is much to do. We arrived early that morning after getting off a 14 hour overnight bus journey from Rainbow Beach. I was absolutely nackered and felt disgusting but with limited time it was something we had to do. We couldn’t get on the boat until around 12:30pm so we had enough to time to grab some breakfast and relax a little thank god! When we did eventually get on the boat and begin sailing towards the island we were given our brief of the trip and assigned our beds, then the rest of the afternoon was spent sailing out towards Whitehaven Beach.
Although we made no stops on the first day some of the sights were absolutely incredible. While sailing out we saw 5 or 6 dolphins swimming alongside the boat which was amazing to watch. They stayed next to the boat for so long and kept jumping in and out of the water. We were also able to see an eagle ray in the distance jumping out of the water and when the boat had finally parked up for the night we could see turtles coming up for air before going to sleep.
The next day we had an incredibly early start but it was totally worth it as we were one of the first boats to arrive on Whitehaven Beach! It is no surprise that it is considered one of the world’s best beaches, it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The beach is covered with pure white, silica sand and the water is so crystal clear you can easily see the lemon sharks and stingrays swimming around your feet. As it was stinger season we of course had to wear the very sexy looking stinger suits although we made sure to take our photos when we weren’t wearing them!
I have very few photos of the beach myself as I didn’t listen to the skipper on our boat who told us not to take our phones. The silica sand on the beach is like flour and gets into everything and sure enough my phone was dropped into the sand and it fried the circuit completely. I had taken my phone, as my camera was dead, so now I have no photos that I took myself. Another lesson I have learnt from this experience is to make sure your phone is insured!
After an amazing morning on Whitehaven Beach we set off in another direction to a couple of sites good for snorkelling. Although the Whitsundays does not technically reach the Great Barrier Reef the diving and snorkelling is still absolutely incredible. The variety of fish and coral is incredible and the size of some of the fish is insane too! I was a little gutted we could only snorkel and not scuba dive but choosing to go with a cheaper boat meant it was a sacrifice we had to make.
The next day we had one more snorkel stop in the morning before making our way back to dry land. I was a little relieved to be off the boat by the end of the three days but overall it was such an incredible experience. The people we were with and the incredible natural beauty of the Whitsundays made it one of the most memorable experiences we had in Australia and I’m so glad we were able to do it. I would love to revisit and get some amazing photos of my own, but I think the second time around my phone would definitely stay on the boat!