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Cruising the Whitsundays

Cruising the Whitsundays

I’m a very visual person. Even photo-obsessed. Let’s just say I eat images for breakfast.

This means if I see a photo, video, or even read a book about a place, I tend to file it away in my head for future trip planning. Frequently I end up visiting places that once inspired me by a  single photo.

This also is why I am such a big fan of photo sharing apps and websites. You really can make a difference with just one photo, how cool is that?

So I pinned this photo years ago on Pinterest it was with the vague hope that one day I might be able to visit this magical place while traveling.

Guys, dreams do come true.

Cruising the Whitsundays

So when I found out I would be in Queensland, Australia where this blue and white surreal beach ACTUALLY exists, I stuck it at the top of my list.

Well, number 2, number 1 of course went to cuddling a koala, logically.

Now I’ve rambled on in depth about this on my Trover App review here because while I was researching for visual tips for my trip, but I kept hitting a wall with the Whitsundays.

Cruising the Whitsundays

Lucky it all came together perfectly, and before I knew it, I found myself 900 miles north of Brisbane cruising out from Airlie Beach towards the famous Whitsundays .

And like so often when you are following your dreams to somewhere very special, the weather doesn’t cooperate and it pretty much looked like the end of the world outside.

Pouring rain and raging waves made the journey hell for most, but after plenty of bumpy, barfy boat rides around New Zealand, my stomach finally has toughened up, and I just chilled while watching my fellow passengers yak their brains out while listening to Muse. Loudly.

Cruising the Whitsundays

By the time they dropped our group off, the sky looked ominous but the rain held off, keeping the temperature perfect. Though staying dry was wishful thinking. I would be soaked by the end of the day.

As it turned out, the Whitsundays ended up being one of my favorite areas of Queensland, and for a good reason, it’s pretty spectacular. Actually, spectacular is an understatement. The Whitsundays have the nicest beaches on the entire planet!

I am not exaggerating.

Hear me out!

Cruising the Whitsundays

Cruising the Whitsundays

Cruising the Whitsundays

The Whitsundays are rockin’ for many reasons but mostly because of how pristine the beaches are. While there are 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays, 34 are part of a national park, including the famous Whitehaven Beach that I’ve dreamed about for years. This means no trash, no filth, no smoking, no dogs. There are no bars, cafes, anything permanent. Just you and the beach and whatever you bring with you!

Squeaky clean and empty. My kind of beach!

While the Whitsundays get a lot of visitors, I think most people don’t bother traveling so far to get to a pretty beach. It’s a couple of hours on the boat to get there, weeding out most people who just want to chill and relax while on vacation.

Forget Ko Phi Phi Lee in Thailand, you can reenact your own “The Beach” experience over in Australia without the crowds!

Cruising the Whitsundays

Considering how many people were on the boat with me that morning, I was astonished to find the beaches so empty. Luckily Cruise Whitsundays has everything planned down to a T and we were split up into groups exploring the different parts of the islands in smaller boats (hence the getting soaked later on).

First up snorkeling!

I’ve always considered myself to be a bit of a fish, and if anything my time in Queensland solidified this fact, and was also a strong reminder I need to get diving certified!

Any opportunity I had to get in the crystal blue water, I did. Except in the far tropical north where there are crocodiles. Big crocodiles.


Cruising the Whitsundays

Cruising the Whitsundays

Cruising the Whitsundays

The only company I had in the water in the Whitsundays were beautiful sparkling fish, colorful coral, and a couple of other snorkelers.

Coming from a childhood spent at Virginia Beach, nothing could have prepared me for getting to swim above coral so brightly colored it looked neon. Not to mention the water being turquoise blue.

While the whole region of Queensland is universally colorful, it is none so clear as in the Whitsundays. White and blue. The purest white and blue you’ve ever seen.

The water was perfect for me that day I went snorkeling, which is astonishing because from what I understand it gets much clearer than that. Don’t know how that’s possible.

Cruising the Whitsundays

Cruising the Whitsundays

Later on we landed on Whitehaven Beach, the jewel of the Whitsundays. Because Whitehaven stretches out 7 kilometers, you’re pretty much guaranteed your own chunk of the beach.

And it only gets better!

There is a a reason it’s named the number 1 beach in Australia and the number 3 beach in the WORLD – Whitehaven looks fake. Even the sands at Whitehaven are the finest, softest sands I’ve ever felt while traveling. It actually felt like walking on cooking flour.

I do not exaggerate. Again.

Cruising the Whitsundays

Being me, I brought in a slight wind the day I visited which meant it took days to get rid of all that fine sand. I still keep finding it in my bags here and there.

What a souvenir!

Though I would pick Whitehaven any day of the week, sandy ears included, and I already am thinking about when I can go back. Preferably in a super yacht. Any (male) takers?

Cruising the Whitsundays

Cruising the Whitsundays

The last part of the trip brought us by boat around to a short hike in the woods up to a view point. Don’t let the fishies in my snorkeling pics deceive you. What I really wanted was to get a glimpse of the swirling, multihued blue waters from above.

The moody, overcast skies didn’t dampen our spirits or the view. The water was even more vibrant blue than I had imagined, and as the tides moved around the sand, the colors shifted and changed right before my eyes.

This of course meant I ended up with about 500 photos of the same view. When will I learn?

Cruising the Whitsundays

Cruising the Whitsundays

In our small boat cruising back to the larger boat that would take us back to Airlie Beach, the seas had picked up and well, let’s jut say I got a little wet. Locking eyes with the young German backpacker next to me, we just started to laugh as we proceeded to get hit by wave after wave.

Suddenly the skipper killed the engine, hopped up on the inflatable side of the boat pointing and yelled, “look, a dugong!”

Everyone hopped up and starting “ooohing” and “aaahing” exclaiming “wow, a dugong, that’s rare!” with me in the background going, “what’s a dugong? What’s a dugong?” and then finally yelling “what the FUCK is a dugong?!”hopping up and down. I can’t be left out, not when it comes to rare wildlife.

“It’s a manatee,” someone finally replied to my Americaness. Phew. Pretty cool!

So you could say I left the Whitsundays with a bang!

Have you seen that famous beach photo before? Has an image ever inspired you to travel? Ever seen a dugong in the wild?

Cruising the Whitsundays

Many thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland for hosting me in Australia, like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own, like you could expect anything less from me!

40 Responses to Cruising the Whitsundays

  1. J in Beijing April 12, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    I’ve always wanted to go to the Whitsundays and now… I want to go even more! It looks amazing!

    • Liz April 12, 2014 at 9:24 am #

      It really is the most beautiful beach area I’ve ever been, and that’s saying something!

  2. Caroline April 12, 2014 at 1:59 am #

    The Whitsundays looks amazing and I will definitely go there when I’m going to Australia (hopefully this year!). Thank you for sharing your photos and experience!

    • Liz April 12, 2014 at 9:24 am #

      I hope you get there too!

  3. Katie April 12, 2014 at 2:37 am #

    Whitehaven Beach is so beautiful!

    I visited when I was in Oz a few years ago, and like you I couldn’t get over how fine the sand was. It was a hot sunny day when we were there, so although we had to wear stinger suits, it did mean that we got blue skies and even bluer seas, and we saw a reef shark swimming through the shallows only a couple of metres from where we were standing on the beach. Also, because the sand was so dry and fine, when I shuffled through it, it squeaked!

    Definitely paradise come to life. Glad you made it there!

    • Liz April 12, 2014 at 9:24 am #

      that’s too cool! I wish it had been sunny but I am still happy I got to experience it. The moody clouds made for great photos too!

  4. Kaelene@Unlocking Kiki April 12, 2014 at 3:17 am #

    When I was living in Sydney I heard so much abut the Whitsundays beaches, next time I need to make my own trip there!

    • Liz April 12, 2014 at 9:25 am #

      omg yes you have to go back!

  5. Rachel of Hippie in Heels April 12, 2014 at 4:14 am #

    that beach looks sooo nice. The colors of the water- amazing. I have never heard that name for a manatee either. I keep seeing people talk about the Trover thing- but it’s sponsored so I’ve yet to try it out. Do you really like it?

    • Liz April 12, 2014 at 9:25 am #

      Yeah I do like it, just give it a try, it’s really helpful. it takes used to adapting to a whole new app, but it’s more for the info that for followers I’d say, so you actually get useful information out of it

  6. Polly April 12, 2014 at 5:09 am #

    I love the idea of traveling by photos!

    And now you’ve definitely got this photo stuck in my head!

    • Liz April 12, 2014 at 9:26 am #

      haha it’s the way to go 🙂

  7. Mike of Mapless Mike April 12, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    Wow! Excellent photos, Liz. The Whitsundays are something that I knew very little about before this post. I cannot wait to learn more (and see more!) about them before visiting them someday. You’ve bumped Australia and New Zealand way up on my list of places to go!

    • Liz April 12, 2014 at 9:26 am #

      It’s a really amazing part of Australia and I definitely recommend it!

  8. Tanya Antosik April 12, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Yup, that’s pretty much what it looked like when I was there. Stunning. They’ve done well to preserve the area and not have tourism destroy it. Such a jewel.

    • Liz April 13, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

      I know! I am so happy it’s still so pristine, really special!

  9. Audrey - That Backpacker April 12, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    I’ll be there later this month! I’m also making the Whitsundays a priority during my visit – I mean, just look at those beaches! Here’s to hoping for sunny skies.

    • Liz April 13, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

      Yeah it should be better in a few months, I was there during the rainy seasons 🙂

  10. Andi April 13, 2014 at 1:55 am #

    Super jealous (in a good way)! The Whitsundays are on my Bucket List big time!!! I’ve been to Oz 3X and never had the chance to visit. So so so beautiful!!!

    • Liz April 13, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

      Ah you have to go back!

  11. Jen Seligmann April 13, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    Feeling so proud of my country right now! Its really is such a beautiful place. I saw a photo of the Manhattan skyline when I was a teenager and from that moment vowed I would make it to NYC. And I did in 2012 and it lived up to and exceeded my dreams.

    • Liz April 13, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

      Awesome, love that!

  12. Amanda April 16, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    Gah, I’m so jealous! Even under cloudy skies, this place still looks amazing. It’s definitely on my bucket list!

    • Liz April 16, 2014 at 11:36 am #

      It’s so awesome Amanda, can’t wait for you to come back!

  13. NZ Muse April 16, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    We’re off to Queensland next week! I always thought I would like to try the Whitsundays but heard the snorkelling wasn’t all that amazing, it’s more of a sailing destination, so decided to stick to the GBR. Maybe one day.

    • Liz April 16, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

      Yeah there is some good snorkeling in the Whitsundays, and you can get to the GBR from Airlie Beach there too, best of both worlds

  14. Adam Evans April 29, 2014 at 5:25 am #

    The fact that it still looks amazing even on an overcast day says a lot! Cool underwater pics too.

    • Liz April 30, 2014 at 8:53 am #

      That’s what I figured too!

  15. Dejan C. May 20, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    Wow…This is amazing… Heavenly beach. I dreamed about, something like “The Blue Lagoon” beach, but this is far away the most beautiful beach I had chance to see, and I saw a lot. Thank you Liz and thank god for net. 🙂

    • Liz May 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

      haha thanks!

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  22. Baz April 4, 2015 at 9:20 pm #

    They have the biggest beach party in the world, on Whitehaven beach every year near the Yacht Race titles… I think its in September dome time…

    Its a smashing time…

  23. Christian September 23, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    Truly fantastic Photos. Absolutely stunning how beautiful it is there and how clear the water can be.


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