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The Whitsundays: The Atlantic Clipper and Airlie Beach

The Whitsundays has to be one of the most gorgeous places I have ever been.  This area located off the coast of Airlie Beach is home to 74 islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.  With so many islands and places to dive brings many options of ways to enjoy this picturesque area.  Whether it’s a sailing trip you’re after, camping, or just staying on one of the islands at a fancy resort- the Whitsundays provide many options.  The first time I was here with my family we stayed on Hamilton Island and it was absolutely amazing.  This past trip I did a 2 day, and 2 night cruise with about 50 people and can’t say I enjoyed myself due to the weather conditions and the quality of the boat.  My personal recommendation would be to head to Airlie Beach and see what the crazy unpredictable weather is present.  If it looks good- there are tons of sailing trips you can go on last minute or there are day trips you can take to places such as Whitehaven Beach and what not.  I would not recommend booking in advance with a specific day of departure like we did because the weather really took away from our trip.


Gorgeous Whitsundays

Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach is a small town that is the outlet to the Whitsundays.  There isn’t much there other than a main strip with hostels, small shops, a few bars and a lagoon- yes there is no beach in Airlie Beach that you can enjoy due to stingers!  We stayed at Nomad’s Airlie Beach, which had just been re-done and was actually quite nice.  The night life in Airlie beach is fun but you are limited to a few places such as: Beaches, and Magnum’s, which are both also hostels, Paddy Snenanigans Irish Bar, and Mama Africa is a club and the only late night spot.

Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach on a clear day!

The Atlantic Clipper

Oh The Atlantic Clipper- what an experience this sailing adventure was, I don’t even know where to begin.  The Clipper came very highly recommend by many of my friends that had previously done the coast, so I figured it was a guaranteed good time.  Unfortunately we were not so lucky.  It was a 2 day 2 night cruise and I couldn’t have been happier for it to be over and to be on land again.  The main reason it wasn’t a good experience is due to the horrible windy and rainy weather conditions.  Although it was a large boat- it definitely did not take the weather very well and heaps of people got sea sick.  Also without being able to lie out on the large top deck- there really wasn’t much to do and the crew didn’t step up to help us out either.  In my opinion the rooms were small and kind of gross- I somehow ended up with pinkeye- and you were only allowed 1 very quick shower a day.  The boat provides all your meals- but I would recommend bringing snacks because I was starving half the time.  Also they give you a limit on booze but I would exceed this limit slyly! haha We brought a 24 pack and a box of “Goon” and that was not enough!  I’d go the vodka route or hard alcohol of your choice and bring some mixers.  Negativity aside- we did manage to meet a few nice people, enjoy some beverages, and see some sunlight and gorgeous views on our way back to Airlie Beach.

Booze for trip...check! Definitely wasn't enough!

The Clipper

The Atlantic Clipper

What to Do

While in the Whitsundays and the addition of gorgeous weather, snorkeling or scuba diving is a must.  There are hundreds of spots to dive and the sea life is absolutely amazing.  It was unfortunately really choppy the day we went but I did snorkel and saw some amazing fish and coral through the murky waters.  Whitehaven beach is a must visit with it’s crystal clear waters and shockingly pure and white sands.  Be aware of what time of the year you are going due to the extensive amount of “stingers” aka jellyfish, which is usually from November to May.  The warmer the water- the more stingers in the area and we had to wear “stinger suits” to protect us in the water.  Also there is great hiking throughout the island, which is the largest in the Whitsundays.  If you aren’t going on a long cruise through the Whitsundays I would recommend going sailing and on an excursion to one of the amazing beaches to snorkel or dive.

Us girls in our stinger suits on Whitehaven!

Outlook for Whitehaven Beach

In conclusion although I did not enjoy my Clipper trip itself this place truly is breathtaking.  I have some photos from my previous trip years ago and from some friends that got to experience the sunny Whitsundays and I’ll just let the photos do the talking!

Absolutely Gorgeous...this is what it should look like!

1 Comment

  1. On October 9, 2011 @ 6:50 pm Australia's East Coast Itinerary Recommendations | World Travel Insider said

    […] gorgeous beaches in the world are just a short boat trip away in the Whitsundays.  Read my blog “The Whitsundays: The Atlantic Clipper and Airlie Beach” for more information about the gorgeous area. The gorgeous waters in The […]

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