Today’s blog comes from an adventurous French couple known as the Serial Travelers, they have a passion for all things travel and have just finished exploring the beautiful Whitsunday Islands in the Great Barrier Reef. Here’s how they got on…
We spent an amazing day discovering one of the most beautiful beaches in the world… Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island!
Whitsunday Island & Whitehaven Beach
In 1770, the English explorer James Cook discovered the Whitsundays archipelago in the Coral Sea on religious holiday. He made a mistake with his calendar and gave the name Whitsundays without knowing it was not the right date. He passed through the international date line and didn’t change his calendar. When you cross this meridian in Pacific, you are supposed to change the date: one day more or one day less.
74 Islands belong to Whistsundays archipelago. Located in the Coral Sea between the Australia’s East Coast and the Great Barrier Reef, it’s a must do when you visit Oz! Tropical forests, picturesque walking tracks and white sandy beaches occupy these islands and most are totally uninhabited. The biggest island of the Whitsundays, is called funnily enough ‘Whitsunday Island’ it’s the most famous and home to Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet Creek where turquoise blue sea dances with white sand.
Most people have already seen at least one photo of the incredible Whitehaven Beach. But seeing it with your own eyes for the first time is really something else! The turquoise blue coral sea creates an incredible composition with white sand, almost like a marbling effect. As the hours go by, white sand is slowly revealed by the tide. Low tide is at 3pm so don’t visit any earlier otherwise you won’t see the true magnificence of Whitehaven Beach.
Choosing Camira Sailing Adventure
To reach Whitsunday Island, you will have to take a boat, plane or helicopter. It’s difficult to make a choice between many online offers and tourism agencies. We choose to travel by boat so we could spend as much time as possible on Whitehaven Beach and enjoy an incredible day on a catamaran… say hello to the Camira Sailing Adventure! The Camira is smaller than other boats that sail to the Great Barrier Reef and take up to 300 people. The Camira is quiet and everything is included on board which was a lovely treat. We were very excited to see the Whitsundays up close! The day before, we saw Whitehaven Beach from a plane but it was really far away and early in the morning so we are thrilled to see it closer and later in the day.
We booked our trip with Backpacker Deals as we found that they had best selection of activities and discounts online for travellers. We decided to book online without any reservation fee and saved $60!
- Camira Sailing Adventure Price : 189 AUD per person. (126 €)
- Camira Sailing Adventure Price with Backpacker Deals : 159 AUD per person. (103 €)
Excursion departure : 8 am – 5:30 pm
Included : lunch + cakes, soft and hot drinks + aperitif, cider, beer and white wine after snorkelling
What To Expect
On Sunday 18th of February 2018, we spent a day on the catamaran Camira. The meaning of Camira in Aboriginal language is, “of the wind”. It’s important to highlight that this is the first time in one month that we had seen a private company using an Aboriginal name, this is a remarkable point.
A relaxing ten hour day was waiting for us. From 8am to 10:30 am, we sailed to the Whitsundays while enjoying hot and soft drinks. From 10:30am to 1pm, we landed on the Whitsunday Island to discover Hill Inlet Lookout and the north of Whitehaven Beach. Unfortunately, the place was a little crowded because a lot of boats had arrived at the same time. It was still high tide so the view was not as beautiful as we had imagined. But we cheered ourselves up with a walk in the forest, where we discovered beautiful plants, an amazing green caterpillar and a Funal Spider, one of the most dangerous spider in the world!
We continued our walk along the beach. Hundreds of metres of sand dips into the turquoise blue water. A funny fact is that the sand contains silicate. This mineral is used in cleanser products for metal. We polished our gold and silver jewels and the result was outstanding. Think about bringing yours!
Make sure you walk to the end of the beach to observe this huge dead tree and keep your eyes peeled as you may see little sharks in the water! Thirty minutes before going back to Camira, we went back to to Hill Inlet Lookout. As expected, the tide was lower and the panorama was stunning. We could see more white sand and only few people had the same idea. It was magic.
Delighted, we climbed back on board the boat to find a delicious lunch waiting for us: barbecue and huge buffet. After lunch, we were told to put on our wet suit and get ready for snorkelling. To avoid getting bitten by jellyfish we were given stinger suits by the team. Some species of jellyfish can send a human straight to hospital within few seconds!
We were taken to a little coral reef. We snorkelled with lots of tropical fish and swam around coral. Staff were very attentive and had all of the equipment you needed including masks, flippers and life jackets. If you’ve never snorkelled before it was the perfect way to learn and in a safe environment, the team watch you the whole time on surfboards.
After of all of that snorkelling, we were welcomed on board with an aperitif of cider, beer and white wine, perfect timing! We drank and ate biscuits the whole way home as we watched the beautiful sunset over the ocean. Before we knew it we were back at Airlie Beach Port at 5:30pm.
Price break down
- Camira Sailing Adventure price: 189 AUD (126 €)
- Camira Sailing Adventure with Backpacker Deals: 159 AUD (106 €)
- Shuttle price from your accommodation in Airlie Beach to the port: 14 AUD (9.30 € )
- Parking price: 6 AUD (4 € ) 12 hours – by card or by cash
Don’t forget your swimsuit, your towel, your sunglasses and your sunscreen! When you choosing your excursion, pay attention to the hours during which you will be at Whitehaven Beach. If you go there too early, you will not see well the contrast between the sand and the sea
- Soft drinks, coffee, tea and biscuits all day
- Buffet lunch with barbecue
- After snorkelling: white wine, beer and cider with aperitif biscuits
The boat hosts up to 72 people. The purple catamaran leaves from Airlie Beach port. To reach the port, you have the choice between paying for a shuttle or leaving your vehicle behind and paying for parking. Suits are loaned to prevent jellyfishes from stinging you.
To sum up, Whitehaven Beach was terrific and seeing it in a Catamaran made it an unforgettable day! Overall, the Camira Sailing Adventure was a brilliant experience. Make sure your Whitsundays cruise stops at Hill Inlet Lookout otherwise you will miss the most beautiful view of Whitsundays. If you book with Backpacker Deals, you will be sure to visit the best spot, have availability and benefit from a discount! – Serial Travelers