It’s the one thing that you can not miss out on when traveling up or down Australia’s East Coast, apart from maybe Fraser Island: Sailing around the Whitsunday Islands! You might have heard about the infamous Whitehaven Beach, with sand so white you have never seen anything like it. There is a reason why parts of the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie was filmed in the Whitsundays.
While I was in Australia for a total of around 9 months on a Working Holiday Visa, I chose my very last days to travel down the coast. I like to live by the motto: Save the best for the end. Let it be the inner part of a pizza or travel destinations like in this case. I only had about a week to travel from Cairns to Brisbane, which for sure was not enough time and I missed out on a lot of stops on the way.
Overall it has been quite stressful, I had just come back from my vacation in Bali the day before and right when I was about to arrive in Brisbane my flight to Singapore was leaving. The enormous distance that I had to conquer meant a lot of night buses and little sleep.
I always heard that about four to six weeks would be a good amount of time to spend on traveling the entire coast. However, I have traveled Brisbane to Sydney a couple of months earlier and spent a couple of months in Cairns so it could have been worse. But for sure I will need to come back one day and travel for a longer period of time.
Deciding on which boat to take
I had booked the Habibi boat for my two night sailing adventure. It seemed nice, being one of the bigger boats and having both a bit of party as well as adventure and still not being the most expensive one. The most expensive one was the Clipper, which has two water slides, is the biggest of all the boats and known for being the biggest party boat as well.
It would have been the perfect choice for me but I didn’t feel like spending so much money. The plan was to arrive in Airlie Beach, spend a night at the hostel, leave the next morning for two nights of sailing and then having another night in Airlie Beach before taking the night bus to Rainbow Beach where I would have the introduction for my Fraser Island Tour in the afternoon.
Of course nothing ever works out the way I planned it. I was heading straight from Cairns to Airlie Beach but on my way I got the message that the Habibi boat was cancelled for the following day because not enough people had booked it. Following, I spent the entire afternoon in the travel agency, discussing what I would do now.
I could have taken the boat two days later, but since I was on such a tight schedule I would have missed my Fraser Island Tour and probably my flight as well so that was not an option. Concluding, I had to rearrange! After too much time spent in the travel agency I ended up paying the price difference extra and booking the Clipper boat for a day later. Of course!
Now I needed to take the night bus straight the day that I would come back from the boat tour but I would still be arriving at Rainbow Beach in time for my Fraser Island Tour. It was all sorted then.
The Adventure began
After I had spent another day in Airlie Beach doing absolutely nothing the next day I met at another travel agency to receive some more information about the Clipper and then got on board to start the adventure. At first we gathered around on deck where the crew would give us information about the schedule and which rules we had to follow.
Later we got told our room numbers. Yes, we had actual rooms on board. I have never slept on a boat before so I was really excited but also a little worried about getting seasick, especially when I saw the amount of goon that we had carried on deck earlier.
Most people were traveling in groups so as a solo traveler it would have been difficult to make friends, but luckily I had already met two nice people while boarding so I didn’t had to worry about finding people anymore. They were solo travellers as well of course. The best type of people anyway. We had some food and the Clipper was heading into the direction where it would settle down for the night. I think we spent most of the day hanging out on the deck and trying to get a tan.
It wasn’t long until the alcohol started flowing and there was a big karaoke party on the boat. We also played some card games. However, I made it into bed quite early, there was still another night coming up and we had the entire day as well.
The following day
In the morning we got woken up early with some kind of sirens. It was a nightmare. The boat had already started to change its locations while we got ready and had breakfast. Out first stop was Whitehaven Beach. We had a couple of hours to explore the beach and take pictures at the viewpoint. Even though the sun just didn’t came out at all: It was breathtaking.
By far the most beautiful beach I have ever been to and probably won’t find a beach that will ever beat that view. The water so clear and beautifully coloured. I’ve never seen anything like it! After a little of exploring and walking on the whitest sand I have ever seen, we continued our journey. The boat stopped close to a little bay were we all could jump of the deck and slide down the water slides. Because of jellyfishes we all had to wear wetsuits. We also did some snorkelling.
The previous day I had also signed up for a little scuba dive, since one of the crew members was an instructor, I just couldn’t resist. I felt really cool to be certified and be one of the last two groups that went underwater with only certified divers. The first three groups consistent of people who had never dived before and wanted to try it out. The visibility wasn’t great but it felt good to be underwater again. I had missed it, even though i was only two weeks prior that I had gotten certified in Indonesia.
Somehow it was already the afternoon by that time and now it was time to get ready for the big party that the Clipper is known for in the first place. The music was turned up all the way and every boat in the area must have been so annoyed. It was a great party for sure. The crew had come up deck with a big box of weird clothing so we all got dressed up and played games, it was hilarious.
The last day
The next morning we all went for another snorkelling trip before we headed back to Airlie Beach, where the boat was cleaned up for the next group to arrive.
I’d love to go back on the Clipper one day it’s been so much fun. However, if you are not really a party person and looking for more adventure then you should go with another boat, also with a smaller group. This usually has the adventure that it is easier to make friends.
Have you been on the Clipper before, did you like it? Or did you go with another boat, what were your experiences?
I’m curious, let me know 🙂 x