I found Neverland! Or at least what I envision Neverland to look like. The Whitsunday Islands are an incredible stretch of 90 islands off the east coast of Australia and are protected under the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage site. As far as I’m concerned, Captain Hook and Smee could have sailed by at any minute. Stunning views of the islands and the water is a shade that will never be captured by my pictures.
Our first stop in the Whitsundays was Hamilton Island which has a very small airport where we flew into. Hamilton Island is the largest of only 3 resort islands in the area and is home to Qualia – ranked the best luxury resort in the world in 2014. It costs anywhere from $6,000-$25,000/night and attracts celebrities like Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Oprah and Leonardo DiCaprio.
The best thing we did on Hamilton Island was ‘hire a buggy’, which means to rent a golf cart, and explore the island. Hamilton Island has the highest amount of golf carts per capita in the world with more than 16,000 on the island. Yes, there are cars and van shuttles as well, but mostly ‘buggies’. We took in the views at the resorts and then made our way up to One Tree Hill, which had the most spectacular views on the island.
After returning the buggy, we had a couple drinks on the main road which wraps around the marina. It contains a couple restaurants, 1 bar, a general store and an ice cream parlor. We had a beer while we were waiting for our ferry a Marina Tavern, which provided beautiful views AND wild cockatiels. Signs that read ‘don’t feed the birds’ were on each table, but the cockatiel on our table (who we named ‘Cocky’) grabbed the sign with his beak and threw it off! Shortly after, we caught our ferry from Hamilton to Airlie Beach.
We also took a sailboat tour around the Whitsundays that included snorkeling and hanging out on Whithaven Beach, which is currently rated the 9th best beach in the world. The sand felt like powder under your feet. We did have to wear ‘stinger suits’ because it is jellyfish season in Australia from November to January. Our sailboat was called Camira, which is a (purple) world class catamaran that could sail up to 30 knots at times. As we headed back to Airlie, they opened the bar and we had small bottles of pinot gregio and chardonnay all the way home. My favorite day so far in Australia!