Getaway – 3 days in the Whitsundays

by John on October 11, 2012

Things to do in the Whitsundays during a 3 day getaway by Tanya Puntti

Picture this, you finally have a long deserved break from work and planning three full days in the beautiful Whitsundays in North Queensland! Alas, there is a problem. The Whitsundays are made up of 74 islands. Too many islands, so little time!

Having lived and photographed this gorgeous area for the last few years, here’s my recommendations for local day trips. They are in no particular order.

Daydream Island day trip – $64 approximately to and from Airlie Beach! (all prices subject to change)

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Value for money doesn’t come better than Daydream Island. On Daydream you’ll enjoy a man-made living coral reef. Especially popular for those who don’t swim or have small children as it’s a great opportunity to see living coral and local topical fish without getting your feet wet.

For those who like snorkelling, Lovers Cove on the western side of the island is one of the best spots to experience coral reefs, where just a meter in you’ll swim through schools of colourful fish. It truly is a magical spot and one we take all our family and visitors, whenever they are in town.

When you’re done with snorkelling, the island is surrounded by tropical walks, swimming pools, spas, restaurants, coffee shops, putt putt golf and much more!

Daydream Island / Whitehaven Beach Cruise

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To make the most of your 3 days in the Whitsundays, we highly recommend a Daydream / Whitehaven cruise where you can spend either the morning or afternoon at each location. Two beautiful locations in one day at a cost of $165 each, includes lunch at Mermaids restaurant on Daydream, or if you prefer lunch at the Bakery $145.

Whitehaven Beach is a must see when in the Whitsundays. Not only is it rated the second best beach in the world, its also the worlds top eco friendly beach 2010. We recommend timing your visit during low tide when the water is clearer than a swimming pool and fish are plentiful. It’s also the best time to experience the pristine silica sand of Whitehaven that stretches over seven kilometres long!

Hamilton Island / Whitehaven Beach Cruise

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Another popular two island tour is the Hamilton Island / Whitehaven cruise. On this tour you spend half a day on Whitehaven Beach and the other half on Hamilton Island. The cost of this tour is $155 which includes lunch at Hamilton Island Tavern, or $175 if you prefer to dine at Mantaray restaurant.

Catseye Beach directly off Hamilton Island is the place to snorkel for those wanting to swim with turtles. We recommend picking a time when the tide is out for snorkelling at Catseye Beach so you don’t get run over by catamaran boats.

Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet full day sailing

There are also full day sailing / boat trips to Whitehaven Beach for those who’d prefer not to do a 2 island tour:

1. Camira Day Cruise, sailing to Whitehaven, Hill Inlet and Mantaray for $175 each. 3 gorgeous destinations where you’ll do plenty of sailing, snorkelling and hiking up the mountain to Hill Inlet for one of the most unbelievable photo opportunities of a lifetime!

2. Ocean Rafting is an inflatable fast boat that goes to Whitehaven and Hill Inlet for a cost of $124. Can be a rough ride if the wind is over 15kph, although popular with young ones looking for an adrenaline rush.

You can read more about all the island tours over on Cruise Whitsundays.

Illusions – Blue Pearl Bay / Langford Island $125 each

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Spend a day sailing through the Whitsundays to Blue Pearl Bay and Langford Island on a small locally owned catamaran called Illusions Whitsundays. Illusions can hold approximately 30 people and you’ll get one and a half hours snorkelling time off the best coral beach in the Whitsundays, Blue Pearl Bay. After an hour of snorkelling, it’s time to sail from Blue Pearl Bay to Langford Island.

Langford Island is the most incredible little sand island surrounded by coral reefs, fish and turtles. There are no man made structures on the island, ah bliss! My only wish is that the tour spent more than half an hour on this part of the journey.

This trip is recommended for those wanting to experience the joys of sailing and anchoring off beautiful deserted sand islands. Note, to get to and from the islands you need to climb on and off a small inflatable dingy. Or you can swim to and from the boat, for possibly a once in a lifetime experience. To find out more and make your booking visit Illusions.

Great Barrier Reef Adventure – $210 per person, lunch included

A trip to the Outer Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays will no doubt be the highlight of your Whitsundays experience! We truly believe it should be on every Australians bucket list.

“The world’s finest wilderness lies beneath the waves …” – Wyland

The cruise starts at 8am and returns at 6pm. There is 3 hours travelling to and from Hardy Reef (each way), with approximately 4 hours to spend snorkelling, diving, glass bottom boating and dining out on the pontoon. Sounds like a long time to travel, although it tends to go by quickly when your chatting to family or new friends on the way out. Not to mention the beautiful views of the Whitsunday Islands and reefs to keep you in awe for the whole trip to and from.

I highly recommend taking a helicopter flight from the pontoon over Heart Reef. This is one of those magical moments of a life time, to see for yourself what all the travel brochures print when extolling the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef.

You can read more about Great Barrier Reef Adventure over at Cruise Whitsundays.

Our recommendations for 3 days of adventure in the Whitsundays

Day 1: Choose either a Daydream Island / Whitehaven Beach cruise, or a Hamilton Island / Whitehaven Beach cruise.
Day 2: Great Barrier Reef Adventure
Day 3: Hop on Illusions and sail to Blue Pearl Bay / Langford Island.


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