A wet Wednesday in The Whitsundays, Australia

May 6, 2010 at 1:02 am 1 comment

Even in the rain Whitehaven Beach was enough to make up for what had been a pretty forgetable and disproportionately expensive day. We had been up at the crack of dawn for our day tour of the Whitsundays which began on Daydream Island, a pretty but contrived resort island where the highlights were a massive outdoor cinema erected along the beach and two lagoons housing fully grown sting rays and teenaged sharks.

Our second and more interesting stop was Hook Island. Instead of a manicured mini golf course, overpriced restaurants and souvenier shops Hook had basic camping facilities, a long, peaceful coastline and a rugged interior which just begged to be explored. Hook Island is also known as a great snorkelling spot with a nice chunk of the inner Great Barrier Reef located along its shoreline. Unfortunately for us a cyclone last month combined with more rain than we had expected to find in Oz over the last week, had left visibility hovering at around 1 metre. Semi-submarine boat rides, fish feeding and a snorkelling trip were totally wasted on us as we stiffled our yawns over yet another long look at brown, murky water.

Maybe six months of travelling has left us with impossibly high standards or maybe a day trip (staffed by some very unenthusiastic Aussies) in the rain is just not the right way to see the world-renowned Whitsunday Islands but come 2pm we would have been far happier to head back to Airlie Beach than to jump into the sea and trudge ashore yet another island. All that was before we splashed our way down the stairs and were met by a soaking wave and the most breath-taking beach either of us had ever seen. For 3km in either direction Whitehaven Beach arched it’s blinding, unblemished, spell-binding white spine against a backdrop of healthy green slopes and lively blue water.

Now I’ve seen my fair share of sand over the last few months – glowing gold sand spilled from a treasure chest onto Mission Beach; grainy white sand scattered with millions of perfect miniscule shells in Ko Phi Phi; and sand so fine that you could see but not feel it on your finger tips in Ko Pha Ngan – but none of it had anything on the flat white surface that was painted across Whitehaven Beach. Sand which turned from perfect white powder on the slopes to the palest shade of yellow at the water’s edge, always changing colour from one inch to the next but never broken by even a sprinkling of darker grains. Sand that looked, at times, like it could be snow.

“But sand is just sand,” you say “how beautiful can a stretch of tiny rock particles really be?” Beautiful enough to give you goosebumps. Beautiful enough to make you pay $130 when own brand pasta felt like a stretch. Beautiful enough to endure eight hours of patronising tour reps, whiney children and overweight tourists stuffing their faces with buffets. Beautiful enough to withstand camping in the rain on a volleyball court behind a rowdy nightclub. Beautiful enough to make leafing through a soggy book under a drizzly grey sky feel better than a five-star massage on burning sand. Beautiful enough to travel across the world for.

Just imagine what it would have been like in the sun.

There are more pictures from The Whitsundays available in the gallery


Entry filed under: Travel. Tags: , , , , .

Pitching a tent in Muff Creek. Mission Beach, Australia There’s sand in my bellybutton. Fraser Island, Australia

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Barb  |  May 6, 2010 at 1:32 am

    So beautiful! Thanks for posting – amazing – you are blessed to be there.


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