Whitehaven Beach, Whit Sunday Islands, Australia

posted Feb 23, 2011, 3:13 AM by Darren Cannell   [ updated Feb 28, 2011, 12:18 PM ]
We chose another fantaSea (due to their 2 for 1 deal again; we saved 95 dollars) adventure out to Whitehaven Beach which is famous for being 99% silica so you can make glass out of the sand.  It is bright white and you have to wear your sunglasses, it is that white.  It is always voted as one of the top 10 beaches in the world.  My personal favourite is still Jolly Harbour Beach in Antigua and I strongly feel that this is much nicer.  My second favourite beach is Pensacola, Florida with its sugar like sand; you almost want to taste it.  The white of the beach at Whitehaven is quite a novelty though and it is now protected by the government because it was made into a national park.  Many companies were interested in mining the sand for factory use and glass making, so no worries now, it is protected.  It is tempting to take some of the sand but you can be fined.  The sand makes a lovely job of polishing your silver or gold jewellery, you just rub it on and wash it off and it does a professional job of cleaning.

The fantaSea adventure takes you first out to Hamilton Beach which is a beautiful island about ½ hour from Shute Harbour by ferry.  The island is so tropical and well coiffed and picture worthy.
You can walk around and shop at its little stores or walk up the hill and visit 3 different pools and swim or go to the beach; once again it was stinger season, so for my family the beach was off limits. 
Personally I found this little island a bit boring and we really just wanted to visit Whitehaven Beach for a half day but the other tour company was more expensive so we went with the full day with fantaSea.  You have about 2.5 hours on Hamilton Island which is about 2 hours too long and then the boat comes to pick you up again and whisk you off to Whitehaven. They served us the exact same buffet lunch as the day before which was not even very good the first time and worse the second.  The worst part of the meal was that they seated you with strangers and the table is only 12 inches wide so you had to stagger your plates with these people you just met and your plates were touching; there was absolutely no room.  The family with their cute little girl ended up kicking me about 150 times under the table as little kids are apt to do and she was grabbing things off of my plate.  It was quite uncomfortable to say the least and I moved as soon as possible.  fantaSea has to change this awful lunch time situation.  I would not go with this company ever again just for this reason.  I am a person that can usually make the most out of all situations, but this one was hard. 
The boat unceremoniously drops you off in the water at Whitehaven Beach where you have to walk down the stairs into waist high water and the boat picks you up 3 hours later.  There are no services on the beach.  You can play in the water (with our lovely free lycra suits to protect you from the Box Jellyfish) and swim or play Frisbee etc.  The tide was high when we got dropped off so there was not much of a beach when we first came.  After about ½ hour the beach doubled in size and then tripled and it became quite lovely.  They supply sunshades to families with children and the elderly so I stayed in the shade and read from my Kindle and the boys played in the water and sand.  I did go in the water but it is such a pain putting this lycra suit on that I tired of it and went in for a quick splash every so often without my suit on (I am such a rebel) Normally I am not a shade person but it is unbearably hot here in Australia in the rainy season.  The humidity is really high and I have been enjoying the shade.  All in all I would not recommend this tour there are much better beaches in the world.  If you know someone with a boat who can take you out there and you pay the gas then this would be the optimal situation.

Airlie Beach and area