Full Day Cruise

by John on May 18, 2013

Hill Inlet Whitsunday Island
Hill Inlet Aerial

Our last blog post highlighted Cruise Whitsundays generous May special for Whitsunday locals. A two for one deal where if you purchased a full day cruise to Whitehaven Beach, you receive a full day cruise to Hamilton Island for free. At the time we stated that this was an extremely generous deal. After taking up the offer ourselves this week, I personally regard this as fantastic.

The full day cruise to Whitehaven Beach is one I would certainly suggest taking, local or visitor. On the full day cruise you get the opportunity to snorkel a fringing reef, take the hike up to Hill Inlet Lookout with time to walk the clean white sands of Hill Inlet beach, then spend a few very relaxing hours on the iconic Whitehaven Beach. Here you can swim, snorkel, paddle a surf ski, walk along the squeaky white sands, have a game of beach cricket or simply enjoy the views. You are in one of the world’s truly special places.

As a local I have been to each area many times before, but never on the one day. There are half day cruises where you will do some of those sightseeing trips. The full day cruise really gives you ample time at each spot where you can pause long enough to really appreciate the beauty and diversity of this world famous pristine area.

airliebeach-clouds

People can join this full day cruise from the starting point at Abel Point Marina, Airlie Beach, picking up at Daydream Island and Hamilton Island en route. A picnic lunch is provided and a staff member will stay with your group throughout the day to guide you and look after your needs. Matty was our guide on the day and he was an excellent host, showing all some wonderful sights and giving valuable information.

We snorkeled Chalkies Beach on Hazelwood Island, which is directly across from Whitehaven Beach. An inflatable tender picks you up as soon as the Cruise Whitsundays vessel arrives at Whitehaven Beach around 9am. You are shuttled across to Chalkies Beach and after a safety briefing, are free to explore the fabulous reef for about an hour and a half. This fringing reef is full of beautiful corals and curious fish.

chalkiesbeach-underover

One of the definite highlights of the full day cruise, is the fast ride back over to Whitsunday Island once you finish snorkeling. You go around to Tongue Bay where it is a short bush walk up to the Hill Inlet lookout. This, to my mind, is the real advantage over a half day cruise. Hill inlet is spectacular in any weather and a sight everyone should enjoy if only once in their life.

Once you have had enough at the lookout, you can then go down on the Hill Inlet beach itself and see stingrays, reef sharks, perhaps turtles and other marine life close to the shore. The waters are shallow and crystal clear, so it’s good to take your camera for some great nature shots.

stingray

After your Hill Inlet adventure, you re-board the inflatable tender for another quick ride back to Whitehaven Beach for the afternoon. The Cruise Whitsundays vessel returns with the afternoon guests and you can enjoy the 7 kilometers of pure silica sand and the beautiful tropical water.

You re-board the Cruise Whitsundays vessel just before 4.00 pm to return to your starting point. The full day cruise is a fabulous experience and you get much more of a feel for the beauty of Whitehaven Beach, as you get to go to Hill Inlet where a half day cruise doesn’t give that opportunity.

If you are lucky and the weather and sunlight are in your favor, the skipper may return to Hamilton Island via Pentecost Island and show you an amazing sight called Indian Head.
Below is a photo of Indian Head, a rocky outcrop at the northern end of Pentecost Island. Notice the broad forehead, protruding nose and heavy lips that seem to come alive in the late afternoon sun.
indiandhead-pentacostisland
Getting on and off the Cruise Whitsundays vessel at Whitehaven Beach is easy thanks to the forward gang plank.
whitehavenbeach-orca
Whitehaven Beach. 7 kilometers of pure white silica sand.
whitehavenbeach1
Hill Inlet Lookout.
hillinlet2
Keep your eyes on the ground while hiking to Hill Inlet. You are in the Australian bush so might see snakes and other wild life.
hillinlet-snake
It is only a short walk from the Hill Inlet Lookout down to the beach.
hillinlet1
Our skipper aboard Orca, guiding us through the Whitsundays.
cruisewhitsundays-skipper
Underwater at Chalkies Beach. Hazelwood Island, which is opposite Whitehaven Beach.
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Fringing Reef of Chalkies Beach. Chalkies Beach is also pure silica sand like Whitehaven Beach.
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Below is another shot taken on the fringing reef at Hazelwood Island.
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Chalkies Beach is a great snorkeling experience. The fringing reef is just meters from the sand making it easy for the inexperience to swim with the fish and see a variety of different corals.
chalkiesreef1
More information and prices for the Full Day Tour to Whitehaven Beach!

 

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