The Whitsundays are (even from an Australian point of view) an exceptionally beautiful destination and were certainly one of our highlights on our road trip through Queensland. So we stayed 6 nights in the region, explored the mainland with its countless bars and restaurants and visited a local hairdresser as well as the Whitsunday Islands with their highlights Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach.
In rather poor weather we tackled the 300 km from Townsville to the Whitsundays. Our first destination was the Hydeaway Bay Caravan Park near the (you guessed it!) Hydeaway Bay 😉 Here we stayed two nights.
After the long journey not much happened after we arrived. And because the weather was rather like German autum, we stayed the rest of the day in our campervan and did some blogging.
The next morning our neighbours offered that we could sit under their awning in case the weather would remain unstable. They would be out all day anyway and yesterday they felt a bit sorry for us sitting in the van. Well, our campervan is not the biggest van, but now that we’ve been on the road for such a long time, we’ve adjusted quite well 😉 Before we drive off to a next location, we just put our backpacks, tables and chairs through the side door under the bed. This way we don’t have to disassemble our bed every morning. Christiane talked to our neighbours for a bit longer and even got offered homemade cake for us – well done! 😋
However, the bad weather changed and we were able to take a nice walk along the Hydeaway Bay.
Very pretty, but this should be the foretaste of the great beaches of the Whitsundays, which we still had to discover.
During our three nights in Airlie Beach we stayed at the Heart Hotel & Gallery and left our Queen in a parking lot. We had booked a room with a sea view here, because Christiane had meeting with her new employer via Skype. This is better done in a hotel room than in our bed in Queen.
Airlie Beach is the centre of the Whitsundays, with a great promenade, a beautiful marina and of course many bars and restaurants. There is also a lagoon where you can swim for free and cool off safely. Australia is basically the land of deadly animals and its jellyfish are famous for their uncompromising handling of human skin.
In Airlie Beach we had a really good time! No driving for me, no cooking for Christiane. Instead, we got the “best coffee in town” for breakfast at the Treehouse. Our daily dose of instant coffee in our campervan can’t keep up with that 😉
And also in the evening there were some delicacies 😋.
Many restaurants also had a great view of the sunset.
If there’s a must-do in the Whitsundays, it’s definitely the view from Hill Inlet to Whitehaven Beach. We were told that this view is the third most photographed place in Australia. Number one and two are allegedly Harbour Bridge in Sydney and Uluru in the middle of Australia.
Unfortunately we couldn’t find a tour that just took us to these two points. Discovering the underwater world of the Whitsundays by snorkeling was always part of the trip. And so we decided to go with the sister company of Ocean Safari, with which we already snorkeled at Cape Tribulation (see our post about the Great Barrier Reef). And because of our first tour we even got a 20% discount for our trip with Ocean Rafting.
We got picked up at 8 In the morning, checked in again and picked up our wetsuits. This time, the sea was super calm as we went to Whitsunday Island, the biggest island of the Whitsundays.
Our first stop was Tongue Bay. From here we walked to the Hill Inlet Lookout. Our captain went by boat to the other side of the peninsula and said goodbye adding: “Only a few steps to paradise”. And he was right.
From the lookout we went down to the other side of the hill towards Hill Inlet Beach. Here we had about 1.5 hours for lunch and exploring the beach.
And in the background we saw the snow-white Whitehaven Beach 🙂 We were really in paradise!!!
Around noon we went on to Hook Island. Here we first anchored in the Maureens Cove and had about an hour to take a closer look at the underwater world. The reef here was very different from the Mackay reef we saw at Cape Tribulation. And also the colors seemed even more intense. The location in a bay was very protected and the water very calm. In addition, the sun really gave everything and shone from the blue sky deep into the water 🙂
Last stop was Mantaray Bay, another great snorkeling spot! On the way back, our captain really stepped on the gas of his 600 HP vessel and turned with our boat some amazing curves through the water. That was a bit like a roller coaster feeling and a really great end to a perfect day!!!
Now we only had to pick up our campervan again and stayed the last night in the Seabreeze Tourist Park, which is also located in Airlie Beach.