An Amazing Sunday in the Whitsundays

Pinterest costs me a lot of money.  Every time I see a pretty picture from somewhere in Australia, I figure out a way to go there and see the picture in person.  This time, it was this stunning picture from the Whitsundays.

Jetstar was certainly an enabler when earlier this year they introduced a Melbourne - Proserpine/Whitsunday Coast flight.  The day they introduced them the prices were ridiculously cheap so I quickly jumped in and picked a weekend in October.  That was in March.

Finally October came and we took the 2.5 hour flight North.  We stayed near Airlie Beach and explored the town centre when we landed.  We strolled around the Saturday morning market, and the mix of beach ware and coconut oil made me think for a minute I was back in Bali.  Then we walked down the main drag and stopped in The Great Northern Brewery for some beers and lunch.  Our plans for lunch were soon thwarted when we realised we had an hour until the kitchen opened, but Phil was happy to have a couple beers instead.  Then we decided to drive out towards Shute Harbour and ate the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I had packed just in case while enjoying some sunshine and the pretty harbour view.

Shute Harbour
 Surrounding Shute Harbour was Conway National Park, and I figured being a National Park we would find a good hike or two there.  We ended up hiking out to a place called The Beak.  It was a nice walk through trees with occasional views of the gorgeous turquoise water.  
The trail to The Beak
A Hoop Pine with the bay in the background
 Eventually the path lead us to an empty beach, the shore covered in large pieces of dried coral and shells.  We walked down the beach a bit and found another trail taking us up to a view point.
Beautiful beach
Coral and shells on the beach

We hiked a bit up the hill until we came to a bizarre set of stairs that took us to the lookout.
The Beak Lookout
 After the nice hike, we were about ready for a nap.  We found our accommodation and relaxed for a bit before heading back into town for a fresh fish dinner.

The next morning we had an early start for our all day Whitsunday Island boat tour.  It was a large boat that first stopped at Daydream Island and then Hamilton Island.  Hamilton Island caught our attention from the dock, so I think that will have to be one of our next adventures.  The boat then headed out through open water, and being a very windy day it was a rocky ride.  Luckily we were both fine, but when the boat pulled up to the shore of Whitsunday Island we were happy to have arrived.

Plane landing at Whitsunday Island
 The skies were threatening rain, but a small boat took us to Haslewood Island, where we spent some time snorkelling just off the shore.  It was such a gorgeous stretch of beach surrounded by clear turquoise waters and in true Australia fashion we had it practically all to ourselves.
Haslewood Island
Haslewood Island
Sparkling clear water
 Luckily there were a couple other people on the island though so you can see this gem.  We were told that there were jellyfish the size of our pinkie nails that could kill us, so we decided to take the precaution and wear the stinger suits.  Cute, aren't they!

Sexy Stinger Suits 

Mermaid Pose
 After snorkelling, the boat took us to Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, where we had several hours to eat lunch, explore, and relax.  After eating, we went on a short hike to see what was around.  I nearly stepped on this crazy lizard crossing the path.  Once he crossed, he climbed up one tree and then jumped around to several other trees.  It was amazing seeing how far he could jump!

Cool jumpy lizard

The tope of the trail lead us to a giant rock face with views to either side of the island.
View to the West side of Whitsunday Island
View to the East side of Whitsunday Island
On the way back, we were surrounded by lots of pretty blue butterflies.  We stopped for a few minutes to enjoy them and take a few pictures. 

blue butterflies
We relaxed on the beach for awhile, alternating between enjoying the sun and hiding in the shade.  The sand on Whitehaven Beach is white silica, and it doesn't retain heat so we could walk on it without scorching our feat.  It's also renown for its unique polishing properties, and rubbing it on my skin made it smooth for days.  It's been named one of the best beaches in the world, and by the end of the day we were both in complete agreement with this.  What an amazing place.

After our time on the beach, the small boat took us a few kilometres up the coast to Hill Inlet, the site of the original pinterest picture we were seeking.  As we pulled up though, I realised it was high tide and we weren't quite going to get that same view.  It was also threatening rain, so we hurried up the hill to we could see it before it started pouring.  It was still beautiful to see all of the different shades of turquoise swirling around.  I would love to see it again at low tide though - who wants to go back with me?!
In front of Hill inlet

Hill Inlet
Hill Inlet
 The rain let up just as we got back to the beach, and since we still had a few minutes to explore we turned left and headed down the beach to cheek out some neat rocks.  That part turned out to be almost better than the inlet itself, there were several different types and colours of rock and a stunning little cove that no one else was near.

The pretty rocks with the Inlet in the background
We took the small boat back to Whitehaven Beach, passing several sea turtles along the way.  It was amazing to see them bobbing about in the water.  Then we boarded the big boat back to Hamilton Island, Daydream Island, and finally back to Airlie Beach, where we were rewarded with an amazing sunset and some of the best burgers we've ever had.

Great way to end the day


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