We Found Heaven on Earth:Whitehaven and the Whitsunday's
There are corners of this world where the beauty is so pure and breathtaking, you find your anxieties, fears and your entire reality, disintegrate.
They're just too perfect, too natural and real, for any of your everyday concerns to matter. One corner that has had this affect upon us is Whitehaven Beach, the Whitsunday Islands.
Soft white silica sands, and a haven in every sense of the word, this sun-soaked azure paradise was somewhere we really wanted to visit before arriving in Australia.
Famous for the crystal waters, abundant with turtles, dolphins and other sea-life, if you only have a short time in Australia, it is a must-see.
We may have only just returned from a stunning island (Fraser, lower down the Queensland coast) but we knew this one would be special, so we headed here as soon as we could.
There are the usual backpacker tours that run all around the Whitsundays, most of which involve 2 days of island-hopping, with everyone crammed onto a boat, unable to experience anywhere for too long.
We got pursued by one of the tour salespeople whilst walking along Airlie Beach main street, vying for our business. He tried to say that you couldn't camp on Whitehaven, but we just smiled and walked off, knowing that the next morning we were booked onto a boat bound for the island, and the permits were all in place. Ignorant or just trying to fool us into handing over cash for the easy option of a backpacker tour, we were so glad that we had done our research into this place.
Getting the independence to camp on the beach seemed pretty amazing compared to spending $500 to share a tiny boat with 12 others, and only getting to spend around an hour at each destination.
We used a water taxi to get to Whitehaven (we used Scamper, who arranged permits for us, which cost $155 for a return trip, plus $40 for a camp kit which has everything 2 people might need, plus $15 for stinger suits) and pitched up for two nights in the small camping ground. By camp-ground I mean the patch of land set back only a few steps from the waters edge, with space for very few tents, sheltered by a smattering of trees, and frequently visited by guana's and wallabies.
The site itself is $5.50 per night, a standard permit cost in a national park in Australia, which is super reasonable considering you get the privilege of sleeping, eating, drinking (and using a relatively luxurious long-drop toilet) on one of the most pristine stretches of beach in the whole of Australia.
Some curious guanna's made their presence known straight away, trampling around the site to see what goodies we had brought.
During the day we snorkelled and just revelled in the beautiful warm ocean. At one point a boat which was anchored just off the shore, was also providing shelter to hundreds of little fish, all of whom went crazy for the fish feed that was thrown overboard at us!
We truly were away from it all, wrapped up in the quiet sounds of mother-nature, the gentle lapping of the ocean, an expanse so clear it doesn't feel real.
In fact it feels so smooth and clean to swim in, it's a struggle to get out. Although you wear a full-body stinger suit if your going to swim out properly, as this area is notorious for the Irukanji, a deadly jellyfish. It may look a bit daft but the last thing you want on an island is sting!
I know its probably odd to bring a laptop to a deserted island, but I knew once the dark evening descended I'd probably feel inspired to talk about it all!
We were 3 of only 5 people in the camp-ground, and thus the only people on the whole island overnight, bar a few boats moored just off the shoreline, the only things punctuating the landscape with their lights and engine noise.
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On our second day we did a 2hr walk along the beach to reach the end point, a famous expanse of shallow waters often seen on postcards and mostly photographed from Hill Inlet. We didn't fancy the mountainous climb in our flip-flops so we just did a pleasant flat walk, followed up by more snorkelling.
We saw lots of stingrays but they are so flighty we could never get too close. We also saw some tiny sharks! Tiny as in the size of large fish as opposed to the size of a boat...
We both got a bit burnt on the walk back, the sun beating against our backs. We decided to brave a quick swim without our stinger suits and its just ridiculous how water can feel so smooth and soft.
That night after dark we walked again down to the edge of the sand, dipped our toes in the dark gentle waters, and just marvelled at the beauty around us. I even got a bit teary-eyed. It is simply stunning beyond what I could of expected or what I can get across. You really have to experience it to understand that its more than just a pretty beach.
So I guess you could say we quite liked Whitehaven, just a bit.... it truly has stolen our senses and given us some peace, if only for two days, but we'll probably think about it forever. It will be the happy place we go to in our minds when we're on another 13 hour coach ride (we travelled from Rainbow to Airlie overnight and our feet are still swollen from the long trip).
It truly is the most beautiful place we have seen in Australia, alongside the Blue Mountains and Port Stephens.
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at NomaderHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!