Date of stay: November 2014
Tour or pre planned: Pre planned
There are so many ways you can create the perfect holiday to the Whitsunday Islands. If you are planning a trip for at least a week or longer, then island hopping is a must. On their own you can easily entertain yourself on one single island resort, however you will not capture the full extent of beauty the Whitsundays has to offer until you explore all the island resorts on offer. You can start at two different destinations when flying from inside Australia:
1- Airlie Beach (38.1km drive from Proserpine Airport)
2- Hamilton Island (Hamilton Airport on the island)
These two resorts act as transport hubs to the rest of the islands. Each resort has a harbour which caters to all of the major resorts on offer at Whitsundays. The best ferry transfers to book are through Cruise Whitsundays. They offer ferry to and from each island resort as well as day cruises to the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach.
We started on Airlie Beach, staying at the Coral Sea Resort, which was located at the tip of Airlie Beach, with panoramic views of the bay and harbour. The staff at the hotel were fantastic and the food menu was very reasonably priced. I would recommend you pay the extra money book an ‘ocean view room’ and ask for the upper levels. The views on the balcony are beautiful and can be immediately seen as you walk through the hotel door.
From Airlie Beach we took our first island hop to Long Island Beach Resort. This resort is the main hotel on the island, with its own secluded beach that makes a perfect location for some beach activities such as paddle boarding. There are hiking tracks that go for a few kilometres along the long stretch of the island; however we didn’t have the stamina to venture too far.
The best location we stayed on Whitsunday Islands was arguably Hamilton Island. With cars being banned on the island, the only mode of transport used on the island are buses and golf carts. The golf carts can be hired for a number of days, and they can be parked outside each hotel on the island. Hamilton Island is not large, and can easily be crossed in the golf cart in 15 minutes. I had planned a special event on Hamilton Island and I acquired the help of the staff at Reef View Hotel to assist me in planning my proposal. When I asked for assistance at the reception a few weeks in advance they immediately put me through to the manager and he kindly upgraded us to the King Suite on the top floors to make our stay more comfortable. The views from the King Suite rooms were simply breathtaking. I cannot thank the staff enough for their kind efforts in making our stay on the island magical. The hotel pool was crystal clear, and the bar staff wait on guests hand and foot as they lounge by the pool. There are a few spots on Hamilton Island that must be visited, including the One Tree lookout and the Yacht Club.
Our final day trip while staying in Whitsundays took us to Whitehaven Beach. Whitehaven Beach is a definite 'must see' in the Whitsundays. The crystal clear waters and pristine white silica sand of Whitehaven stretch for over seven km's along Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsunday Islands National Park.
This tour is again best experienced through Cruise Whitsundays. They again provide morning and evening tea, as well as a packed lunch. When you arrive at Whitehaven beach you are split up into groups and each gets to go on smaller tour groups to the key points of the area.
This trip will allow you to indulge in the ultimate experience of Whitehaven Beach; from the northern end exploring spectacular Hill Inlet, to the southern, where you can swim, sunbathe and soak up the sun. You will be able to enjoy a leisurely cruise on the Whitehaven-based vessel, along the full length of Whitehaven, across Hill Inlet to a landing point. From here a guided walk following the path and history of the Whitsunday traditional owners, the Ngaro people, will lead you to the lookout and that picture postcard view! The hill inlet has a very spiritual feel to it, and the tour guide at Cruise Whitsundays shared with us his 20+ years’ experience while travelling to the island. If sea conditions permit, you are taken to nearby Esk Island, a delightfully scenic island that is rarely visited. If the tide is right, there is a small reef area to snorkel.