The main topic amongst travellers down the East Coast is ‘have you done the Whitsundays yet?’, ‘when are you doing the Whitsundays?’ and ‘what boat are you going on?’ Finally it was our time to board the boat with 25 other backpackers that would be our home and family for the next two nights. There must be hundreds of boats that do a Whitsundays tour as everyone you ask seems to do something different. We were on Avatar, operated by Oz sail which is a Trimaran and one of the biggest around. It’s such a beautiful sail boat and the main reason we picked this trip over any others.
After checking in at the office in town, we organised all our clothes into Stephs backpack and stopped by the bottle shop before lugging it all for 25 minutes down the marina. In hindsight 8 litres of goon and 20 cans of cider was a bit too much. For those who aren’t aware of goon, its essentially super cheap boxed wine (£6 for 4 litres) and it’s a necessity for backpackers.
At the harbour we were issued with our stinger suits, boarded onto the boat and shown to our room. Room is a loose term, we had to climb through a hole straight onto our 4ft bed, but at least it’s the first private room we’ve had in Australia! Unfortunately the weather was a little miserable on the first day but once it had cleared we raised the sail and headed out to the first snorkel spot of the trip. Honestly I wasn’t too impressed, visibility was poor and there wasn’t much to see. After a lovely dinner cooked by one of the crew and a few drinking games to get to know our new friends we had an early night ready for a busy next day.
We woke at 6am and got ready to head to Whitehaven beach, often called the best beach in the world. It was absolutely stunning! I’ve been to some exotic places in my life and seen some beautiful beaches but nothing like this before. It was massive and the images don’t do the beauty of it justice. The sand has the highest level of silica in the world and for that reason was super soft, like walking on flour. We also used it to exfoliate so we were super soft to match. Steph cleaned her teeth with it but I think I’ll stick to Colgate. Whilst having a paddle we spotted a few sharks and sting rays swimming around us.
After three glorious hours spent on the island we were back on the boat for the second snorkel spot of the trip. This was much better then yesterday and we saw a turtle! Despite Stephs best attempts she didn’t manage to get the ultimate turtle selfie, but we got a pretty amazing video. We also swam along the drop off where all the best fish live. It really did look just like finding nemo. The third and final snorkel spot was the best. I’ve never seen so many fish, they were swarming around us in a whole array of shapes sizes and colours.
After a fun packed day we celebrated with some more drinking. As it was our first goon experience, we struggled a little and rather pathetically were some of the first to retire to our rabbit hutch.
The next day we simply sailed back to Airlie beach enjoying the sun and the view.
After getting used to being back on still land, eating breakfast, checking in and a long nap we headed for a night out with our new boat buddies. The next couple days we spent chilling around Airlie beach town and lagoon. Other than the Whitsundays, the lagoon and a good night out, there’s not much to do here. We went for a little stroll to the marina which is lovely with some nice looking more restaurants and cafes. It was also the Melbourne cup which is a much bigger deal over here then I realised. Despite being miles from Melbourne, so many people were fully dressed up for functions in most of the restaurants and hotels in town. We didn’t manage to watch any of it but it was funny watching everyone walking round town in their hats and heels.