Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Beautiful Whitehaven Beach

I’m back from my mini-trip! It was pretty great, I have to say.

We drove down the highway to Airlie Beach, it’s about 3 hours south from here, and very different to a 3 hour drive in the UK! The road is one lane in each direction, with an occasional third lane for overtaking – but crucially you rarely need to overtake as the traffic is so light. It’s so great to get on the road and just have a smooth, congestion-free drive all the way to where you are going :)

I’m not good at relaxing holidays, I’m better at holidays where I have stuff to see and do and new foods to eat and new languages to learn little bits of… but on this occasion we were meeting friends for our trip, and they knew how to do more relaxing holidays. So I got to see how to spend quality time gently doing not a great deal, and it really was lovely.

We stayed in budget accommodation, and despite having all the architectural charm of an early multistorey carpark, the rooms were clean and had great views.

Great view if you ignore the tin roof :)

When we arrived, we met up with the others for lunch and spent the afternoon chilling out and exploring the backpacker bars before getting ready for dinner. 

Apart from chilling out, and eating and drinking a little too much, our main activity was a half-day boat trip out to Whitehaven Beach, on Whitsunday Island. We had to get up early the next morning - we met up outside our accommodation at 5.30am to walk down to the port!!!!!!

Early start at Airlie's port

Whitehaven is famous for its super white sand, which is 98% silica. This not only contributes to its whiteness, but also makes it stay cool in the fierce tropical sun, so you can comfortably walk on it in bare feet. This is a wonderful novelty in this part of the world!

White white sand!

We arrived to Whitehaven Beach on our boat, it was a little choppy on the way there but once we arrived it was glorious! The sun wasn’t too harsh as there was some cloud overhead, and the sea was lovely.

Look how clear that water is!

We all wore very attractive stinger suits – essentially lycra onesies – to go swimming, as although the stinger season is coming to an end, the previous day there had been a suspected irukandji sting. These are little tiny box jellyfish, which deliver stings that require hospitalisation. I felt this was marginally worse than being seen in public in a lycra onesie! 

The suits have built-in mittens and hoods. Very sexy!

We had about an hour at the beach, and I spent all of it in the water, just floating about and enjoying the views. It was so gorgeous!! At one point I saw a turtle come to the surface to breathe too, very exciting but I didn’t manage to get a picture in time before it dived away again.

I wish I looked better in photos, although I don't really have shoulders that shape - that's just air in the suit!  :/

When our time was up, we had to get back on the boat. It wasn’t going all the way back to Airlie Beach though, so we had to disembark again on another of the islands, Daydream Island.

Daydream Island.

We had 40 minutes to spend there before the onward boat was due, so we walked to the island’s resort and took a dip in the pool there. It was beautiful!!

Back on the mainland, we indulged in delicious burgers at Little Vegas for lunch, followed by delicious ice cream at New Zealand Natural and then a browse around the strip – I even managed to find some Billabong board shorts that were a perfect fit, and way cheaper than the same ones in the UK!

The following day, after all meeting up for a delicious breakfast - Australia does brekkie and brunch BRILLIANTLY!! - we wondered around the little Saturday market. I didn't really take any photos, just this one of some sand art that was pretty impressive:

 We had to return home that day, so it really was a short break, but it was perfect :)

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