After leaving Cairns, we headed to the picturesque Airlie Beach, where the bus dropped off all the Contiki 2-day sailors. I had felt a bit seasick from my earlier scuba outing, and thus I wasn’t too keen on sleeping for two nights in crowded bunks aboard a rocking ship. Plus, the thought of saving a couple hundred bucks vastly outweighed the thought of not showering for two days.
The remaining group took a ferry from Shute Harbour to Long Island, one of 74 picturesque islands constituting the Whitsundays. Contiki tours now stay on the giant playground that is Daydream Island, but at the time I was there, it was still under construction. We spent the majority of our time lazying around the Long Island Resort in the beach side hammocks, sipping on Long Island Iced Teas at the pool bar, and sneaking apples to feed all the adorable wallabies hopping around the island.
Some of us signed up for a full-day sail aboard the Camira so that we could still experience the beauty of sailing the Whitsundays (A$130). We cruised past tropical islands through the crystal clear aqua waters as we made our way towards Whitehaven Beach, considered one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. Whitehaven Beach is a 6km stretch of 100% silica sand along Whitsunday Island, the largest island in the group. The fine white sand is famous for its exfoliating and jewelry polishing properties. We played some football/soccer and volleyball on the beach, snorkeled, and exfoliated all before enjoying a delicious BBQ lunch back on the boat.
Back at the resort, we enjoyed some live music and had an impromptu dance party on the beach. Later that night, the tide had receded so far out that we could even walk out to the docked boats, as they were just lying on their side on the sand. In the distance, we saw a flash of a fin and rapid splashing – it was shark feeding time!