The Whitsunday Islands are the most beautiful Islands I have ever seen in my life. Pirates of the Caribbean filmed one of their latest movie there, and I’m not surprised why. It has the purest sands, stunning sunsets and the most colourful fish in the sea.
Apart from being Australia’s largest cluster of offshore islands, it is also one of the top 5 beaches in the world. And while it has gained a lot of attention of fellow travellers, it is important to remind that there is not much Reef left there, which makes the purpose of this travel purely to enjoy the sun and the beaches, but not as much to explore the reef, an activity that is best suited for northern islands, where you can get with a hired-boat departing from Cairns.
Airlie Beach is the closest you’ll get to Whitsunday Islands. Normally people stay there before embarking in a 3 day trip to the Whitsundays. Airlie is a pretty small place where you’ll spend most of your time bathing and tanning in the esplanade. At night there are many bars full of backpackers and travellers, everything you need can be found in the main street and there’s always music and friendly people around you. However, don’t be surprised if you see a couple fellows drinking one too many.
After staying in Airlie Beach, you’ll get into a boat to sail around the Whitsunday Islands. Price wise, you could get any boat for the same range of prices, however I strongly recommend the Tongarra boat. Why? Because of their community vibe, their friendliness and happy mood, so refreshing.
Also, I had a couple friends sailing with other boats, and they complained about not being able to do stuff, about being restricted and having to go to sleep at 10pm “no alcohol allowed”. At Tongarra, we felt like a family, did games together, had beers and ciders and even went for a couple dives at night.
ALERT!!!! Make sure you bring Suncream 50, a hat and a towel or cape to cover your shoulders. It is extremely hard to find a shadow in such islands, and the sun is stronger here due to the ozone hole, so it is common for travellers there to get strong headaches and really bad sunburns if they don’t come equipped. Be always prepared!