No doubt about it, the Whitsunday Islands are photogenic.
Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island has been listed in several Top 10 beaches lists over the years. It’s famous for its incredibly white sand, which is 98 per cent pure silica. Unlike regular sand, this sand doesn’t retain heat so you can comfortably walk on it even on the hottest of days without burning your feet.
The tidal flow at Hill Inlet on the north end of the beach is particularly spectacular to view from up high, and there are a couple of ways to do this; charter a plane to fly over it, or hike to the lookout at the top of Tongue Point.
On a recent trip to The Whitsundays, I opted for both.
The scenic flight meant I also got a birds-eye view of the Great Barrier Reef beyond, including the equally famous Heart Shaped Reef – star of many a calendar, postcard and Tourism Queensland advertisement.
GSL Aviation fly from Whitsunday Airport in Airlie Beach, several times a day. They have a fleet of fixed high wing aircraft (that means bigger windows) to ensure you get the most from your experience.
We flew over the entire Whitsunday Islands, checking out Hamilton, Daydream and Hayman Islands before heading for the outer reef. The colours are spectacular – the variations of blue, dotted with darker blue and green reefs. I went a bit crazy with the camera. The flight lasts a good hour – great value.
The next day we headed out for the islands again, this time at high speed in a rigid inflatable with Ocean Rafting tours. It takes about an hour to reach the islands and after a snorkel on a nearby island we head for Tongue Point.
The hike to the lookout is not that strenuous (not at all to be honest – even for me) and the view from the top is stunning.
The water is so clear it’s common to see rays swimming in the inlet from up here. We’re not so lucky – but I did spot a rather majestic looking white bellied eagle soaring above us.
More information: www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au