The next part of our trip involved us driving up to the coastal town of Airlie Beach which is where we were to do our Whitsundays Islands tour from. Airlie Beach is a exciting coastal town full of bars, restaurants and shops. We stayed at Base Backpackers where there were hundred of campervan's parked up and so we fit in well. Each evening the hostel would hold parties and live music and so was the perfect spot to build our excitement for the Whitsundays.
The Whitsundays is a must do in Australia and was one of the places we have been most excited to see. When considering the best way to see the Whitsundays we were torn between the typical boat trip that most travellers do or staying in a villa called Ride to Paradise. Having been convinced by the guy booking all our activities that Ride to Paradise is a once in a life time experience we decided to follow his judgement and don’t regret the decision one bit!
Ride to Paradise is an all-inclusive, two-day, two-night resort stay package showing tourists the best of Whitsundays Islands. The trip started at the Abell Point Marina where we were to meet our tour guides and the rest of the group we would be spending the next few days with. We got set up with wetsuits and then hopped on a speedboat which we were told was taking us to Paradise. The boat journey there was stunning and we were blessed with good weather. As we got further away from Airlie Beach the scenery got more dramatic and we ended up pulling into the cove where we would be staying, there was nothing around but the beach, sea and a beautiful villa. On arrival we were greeted with canapés and drinks which as you can imagine overexcited us. The guides then welcomed us to the resort and explained that the resort has 5 luxurious private villas, a Dream Honeymoon villa and around 22 single beds across shared accommodation rooms - we really were in for a treat! On top of this there was a jaw dropping pool area which included outdoor showers and a hot tub. The resort was also home to a number of outdoor bathrooms - we honestly have never seen anything like it!
We settled in to the villa and spent the rest of the day enjoying the facilities, getting to know the others in our group and having a few beers. At 8pm a gong was rung and we all piled into the main house where we were greeted with a delicious meal very kindly cooked by the guides, of white fish followed by apple crumble and custard - it was delicious! We then spent then partied late into the evening playing pool and ping-pong, trying to keep in mind that we were to be up at sunrise for the activities the following day.
After perhaps a few too many beers the night before, we got up nice and early ready for some breakfast and coffee to sort those hangovers out. After breakfast we got back on the speedboat that originally dropped us off, ready to be taken to a few of the different locations around the Whitsundays. The first spot was next to Hayman Island and the perfect place for a morning snorkel. We all jumped into the water and enjoyed an hour swimming around the reef and spotting many different corals and fish - beautiful! Following this we were then taken to another snorkelling spot called Mantaray Bay where we were told we would see an enormous Maori Wrasse that the people on the islands call George. George was about 1.5 metres long and honestly one of the biggest fish we have ever seen let alone swam with - it was slightly terrifying!
For the second half of the day we were told to sit tight as it was going to be a bumpy ride over to Whitehaven Beach. Whitehaven beach is a 7km stretch along Whitsunday Island and is accessible by boat, plane or Helicopter. The beach is renowned for its pure white silica sand and is one of Australias most iconic beaches. It’s also been rated one of the top ten beaches in the entire world! We could not believe our eyes as we walked round to the beach, the white sand reflects the sun beautifully and the different shades of blue created by the different water levels added to its heavenly appearance. We were very happy to hear that we had the next 2 hours to enjoy the beach and take in the views, we were also told to make a visit down to one end of the beach where you can see stingrays and lemon sharks swimming around the shallow waters, which was amazing!
After a long day doing numerous exciting activities it was time to head back to the villa. We had had one of the best days of the trip so far and were excited to spend another evening in paradise. The last evening was similar to the first, we were again treated to a delicious meal of red Thai curry followed by chocolate fondant and spent the night dancing and having a good time. The workers were so much fun and definitely made the trip what it was.
On the final day we got up for a morning of paddle boarding around the bay and then at lunch time headed back to Airlie Beach. What a trip - we would highly recommend it to anyone, couples, friend or family, it really was an insane few days.