The Gypsy with the red notebook

How to discover yourself and the world with inspirational journeys

Days 26, 27 and 28 – Whitsundays Islands, the heart of the ocean

heartreef

There’s an archipelago in the Coral Sea where, between waves of a dazzling turquoise, you can clearly recognize the shape of a heart. It’s the Heart Reef in Whitsunday Islands, a remote atoll where thousands of tiny polyps have settled, generation after generation, to recreate the most powerful symbol of humanity.

These are my last days in Australia, so I have only few time left to enjoy all Queensland’s beaches. My sister will give me advice: she did a wonderful road trip on the coast, from Cairns to Brisbane, passing through the Sunshine Coast and the islands! Finally I choose a 2-day boat tour to the Whitsundays, flying from Cairns to Airlie Beach. Airlie Beach is a sleepy, very touristy town, it’s the gateway to the islands and the reef; here nobody goes to the beach – too much wind – people prefer relaxing on the Airlie Beach Lagoon, right in front of my hostel.

The Heart Reef (pic from watertourist.com)
The Heart Reef (pic from watertourist.com)

There’s nothing to do in the evening, apart from going for a beer in one of the bars of Airlie’s unique street. Unluckily my roommates are a group of grumpy Germans, so I decide to use Couchsurfing for the first time in Australia, and I start an “Hangout”. As always I get to know super interesting people: Maruly, a 30-year-old Indonesian guy, expert in tourism and Australia, who is looking for the perfect country to live in, and a couple of cosmopolitan French (he has Spanish origins, she’s half French and half Colombian).
As often, they are struggling with a thousand jobs during their working holiday visa, and spend their nights sleeping in a jeep. I learn to play pool with Maruly, almost smashing a cue against a fan, then we say goodbye, after my return from the Whitsundays. Of course, we will never see each other again.

The day after, there’s a crowd at Matador’s embarkation, the sailboat that will be our home for two days. A real melting pot: two Brazilians, two Poles, a Chinese, two Dutch, an Englishman, Germans and French, with a super nice Aussie crew, that will make us feel at home, both on board and during the excursions. There are few words that can describe the Whitsundays, a 77 islands’ archipelago whose main beach, Whitehaven Beach, is the most beautiful beach in the world, with a white, almost unreal sand, made only by white silica. I almost didn’t believe the photos on Google Images, but it’s all true: we move from one island to another, until we get to Whitehaven and then moor for dinner, spending a night under the southern hemisphere stars.
On the second day we go snorkeling: first in Tongue Bay – it’s amazing to see the coral that almost seems to breathe – and then in the Hook passage, where we will meet hundreds of fish of all species. Here we meet the funny George, a gigantic wrasse that loves breadcrumbs and pets, like a puppy.

Sailing to Whitsundays...
Sailing to Whitsundays…
Sailing to Whitsundays...
Sailing to Whitsundays…
Whitehaven Beach
Whitehaven Beach
Whitehaven Beach
Whitehaven Beach
Whitsundays
Whitsundays’ waves
Friends in the sky

In the evening, as a tradition, all the groups who went sailing to the Whitsunday Islands meet in a pub, to celebrate the return to the mainland. Here all of us sober Europeans will be shocked by the Aussie evenings, after a certain alcohol level… even the British can’t believe his eyes! After childish games such as “Rock, paper and scissors” – ok, played on stage with remarkable competitivity – the shows goes on and gets into a weird fight simulation. Big Australians, in pairs, will pretend to be kangaroos, koalas or dingoes, acting as the real animals even if 1.90 m tall, with liters of beer in their bodies. We visit a couple of other clubs and go home: the next day I go back to Sydney…

7 Replies to “Days 26, 27 and 28 – Whitsundays Islands, the heart of the ocean”

  • I’ve been to the Whitsundays some years ago and I agree with you that Whitehaven Beach is the most beautiful beach in the World, simply stunning! I totally loved my stay there around Airlie beach, with a very nice mood, friendly people, great BBQ and those beaches… I’d love to go back there!

  • I have never beeen to Australia but it is one of the countries in my wish list. I hope I will be able to visit it sooner or later. And Whitsundays is one of the places I would like to visit!

    • I really recommend you to go sooner or later, Australia is an amazing Country with so many different landscapes and climates!!! You can find almost everything there: Tropics, deserts, wineries, beaches, animals…

  • I did a similar tour few years ago and I have the best memories from sailing in the Whitsunday Islands. A true slice of paradise that should be explore over several days to be truly appreciated it

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