Dave has camped on Whitsunday Island at Whitehaven beach in the past and raved about it. Ever since, he’s wanted to show me the awesomeness of this remote white sandy beach. So we arranged for a boat to drop us on the island and pick us up two days later.
A week prior we had met a couple our age whom we really got along with and knew they had the same plans to camp on the island, so we all went across on the same boat.
The boat ride gave us our first glimpse of the Whitsunday Islands and we were impressed. We passed lush green islands, big and small, with rugged rocky coastlines and little hideaway beaches.
Our boat took us through a passageway between two islands, rounded a headland and revealed a 7km long beach of the whitest sand you’ll ever see. Clear water and blue skies, this is Australia’s tropical paradise!
We grabbed our packs, water, food and camp chairs (yes camp chairs) and walked along the coastal bush looking for a spot to camp.
We found a small clearing and set up our camp just off the sand. Our tent had the best ocean view you could find!
Before long we had the tents, slack line and hammock set up and we were in the wonderful water with a celebratory beer.
Dave and I went for a snorkel off the beach and I was immediately surprised at how great the coral was. There were plenty of beautiful fish but the colourful coral was a real stand out. We felt so lucky to be able to experience this right on our doorstep!
We spent our first day exploring our immediate area, swimming, drinking beer, reading and enjoying the great company of our new friends.
Our first night was a little rough though! We didn’t sleep much because we were plagued all night long by what we think was a musky rat kangaroo. We gave him a name – ‘rat-a-chewy’ because he chewed everything he found under our tent vestibule. Back and forth he scurried from Dave’s side to my side and we kept waking up hearing a little crunch-crunch here and a crunch-crunch there and we would say “What’s he into now?!” Firstly he had sniffed out a handful of forgotten nuts in my pack from our Carnarvon NP hike and chewed his way into the pocket. I got up to assess the damage, grab the nuts out and put them inside the tent. Too late, rat-a-chewy was crazed for my cashews and tried to chew into the tent where they lay. I would bang the tent, shine my headlamp and he would scamper off, but before long I would wake up to crunch-crunch. All of our camp food was contained in a large sealed dry bag that we left under the tent vestibule because this tent is just big enough for two people to lie side by side. Well, we didn’t count on rat-a-chewy’s persistence, he was chewing through the dry bag. In an effort to stop tormenting him (and us) we brought the dry bag inside. I put it on my side and had to curl around it, spooning the food! We next woke up to him munching his way through the tent material where the food was pressed against the material. “Bloody rat-a-chewy!” we growled but we laughed because we were ridiculously tired and what else could you do? I moved the food to sit between Dave, left my headlamp light on, on my side to discourage him off finishing his passageway in. Finally we got some sleep.
We had our coffee on the beach at sunrise and enjoyed brekkie with our friends, all the while saying “How good is this?!” Our friends set off on a hike to another beach and we set off on our hike to a lookout called ‘Hill inlet’. Hill inlet is a lookout with a brilliant view of Whitehaven Beach and nearby islands. It’s popular because as the tide makes it’s way out you can watch the shifting sands and long deep-water channels form. The white sand contrasted with the blue streaks, form a magnificent view from above.
We hiked along the 7km Whitehaven beach to the inlet. Now, regular folk are on cruise boats that drop them off on the right side of the inlet at the base of the lookout. Well, us adventurous folk weren’t going to let a small hurdle of being on the wrong side stop us, so we had timed our hike to cross the inlet at dead low tide to get to the other side.
We got there on time, paced up and down the channels, following the winding sand banks and realised that there was one deep channel between our goal and us. So I get into my bathers and slowly walk into the water. Deeper…deeper…hmmm…it was deeper than it looked! Dave carried our cameras in a pack above his head as we made our way across, with water up to our chin.
We made it across but we knew that if it was that deep now and the tide was coming back in, that we had to hurry our way across the last stretch of beach and practically jogged the whole way up to the lookout which took us about 15-20 mins. A quick photo and we took off jogging back down to the channel.
We crossed in water just as deep but this time we got to the other side and celebrated with a well-earned picnic lunch. By the time we hiked back along the 7km beach we were ready for a swim and to fight over the last beer. We spent the arvo slack lining, reading, learning how to play 500 with our friends and generally just living the good life.
Our boat back to the mainland was much smaller than the one that brought us to the island (slightly larger than a dingy) so we were expecting to be cold and wet. We got drenched, frozen, and got very sore bums. It took us 2.45 hours compared with the 45 mins to get out there. But the glass is always half full…we got to see a whole bunch of Whitsunday islands up close and we found a tucked away little island cove with a beautiful beach, snorkeling all around and you can camp there so we’ve got that on the list for next time! If anyone is planning on heading out this way to camp – do yourself a favour and ask us for the details on this spot!