The World In Her Eyes ~ Australia
When you think about travelling your mind flashes to every Instagram picture you’ve ever seen with the perfect beaches and turquoise seas… well mine did anyway! You never think reality will live up to the expectation. Me and my boyfriend are true travel addicts. When we set off from Northern Ireland on what was our first global travel trip, we had no idea how much this would impact our lives and give us a travel bug which we have never been able to shift. Since then, travelling has become a huge part of our lives and over the past few years we have travelled to the most incredible places and had the most memorable experiences.
Australia will always have a special place in my heart because this was where it all began. When we set sail for the Whitsunday Islands of Australia from Airlie Beach, we didn’t realise we were actually heading for paradise. What we would encounter would completely blow us out to sea! The Whitsundays are made up of 74 stunning Islands along the Great Barrier Reef of Australia’s Eastern coastline, with the largest and most popular beach being Whitehaven beach, but well get to that soon!
If you want to experience the true beauty of the Whitsunday Islands, the town of Airlie Beach is your destination spot. This place is quite literally ‘The Heart of the Reef’ and there are endless boat tours you can choose from depending on how long you want to go for and what kind of boat tour you want to experience. For instance, living it up all day and night or having a more relaxed and chilled experience of sailing around the islands. And this choice is crucial to your whole Whitsunday experience!
We spent 3 incredible days island hoping with Powerplay, who I can honestly say were unbelievable! They catered for us the full 3 days with 6am breakfast wake ups by the ocean, sunset drinks and nacho indulgences while we were anchored in the sea and sleeping under the stars! They sailed us to the most iconic and beautiful locations around the Islands and always timed it perfect so we were the only group there and had the whole beach and the best snorkelling areas to ourselves.
Our first stop was Hamilton Island and wow this place was something else! Lined with palm trees along the beach and not a sinner in sight, it was all just for us! We stuck on our wetsuits, piled into the dingy and headed for the shore! Our plan that day was paddle boarding. This was my first experience and I’ll be honest, I really kinda sucked at it! I was so pathetic, do you guys know how hard it is to paddle board or am I the only one?! Here was me trying to be all graceful and I couldn’t even balance let alone work my hand eye coordination to switch the paddle from side to side.
They’re actually really heavy too, it just wasn’t happening for me. Gordy was shouting instructions at me from the shore trying to film me looking like I knew what I was doing! So needless to say, I opted for plonking myself on my board with my paddle, watching the sea world and the Mantuary’s swimming below me. Way more peaceful!
We anchored here at the island for the night, chilled in the jacuzzi, while watching sunset over the Islands with the dolphins swimming below our boat. It was true Paradise!
In the morning, we had our 6am sunrise fruit breakfast by the sea then set sail for the iconic Whitehaven Beach! Now, I had been dreaming about this moment and I couldn’t believe it was finally here! I was actually kind of nervous, I had built this moment up in my mind for years, how I would feel and if the expectation was going to be a real let down! When we docked on the beach my heart was racing as we made our way through the bush and up to the lookout point! Nothing was going to prepare me for the view of all views, I could barely breathe, my body went into shock…. it was absolutely breathtaking!! The white sand swirls whisking in between the turquoise waters was more than I could have wished for. We arrived at the lookout round 8am and there was no one there but us, just our wee group taking turns getting that all-important Instagram worthy picture! It was actually hilarious watching everyone posing and oh, did I mention… it was Valentine’s day?! I mean could it have been any more perfect?!
So many dreams came true in these 3 days I couldn’t stop ticking off my bucket list but venturing into the white and blue swirls of Whitehaven Beach was definitely a pinch me moment. We headed down to the beach and had about 4 hours to swim in the crystal clear waters, watch the stingrays swim by and even encounter baby white sharks it was amazing! I didn’t want to leave… I was so lost in this place it felt like I was in another world, it was true heaven!
Around noon, we headed back up to the look out for high tide to see the white sand swirls covered in the turquoise and blue shades of the ocean, it was eve more enchanting ! Back to the boat, we set sail for Hook Island to get our snorkels on and have some up-close and personal encounters with the iconic fish of the Great Barrier Reef! I just wanted to find Nemo and Dory!
We were all set, snorkels on and we never looked better! Into the sea we dived and I can’t even tell you how amazing an experience this was exploring the reef and not only that, but actually having the opportunity to swim with turtles! I had my head down completely immersed in the ocean holding Gordy’s hand singing away to myself, clearly loving life, when out of the distant deep blue, a silhouette of a turtle was floating right towards us!
We were told the turtles swimming here are actually high from eating all the jellyfish around the coves of the island and don’t have a clue what’s going on half the time. They just bob about the surface and here they were interacting with us! Our little dude came right up to us and let us touch him and feel his seaweed shell, it was such an emotional experience for me being a huge animal lover and especially a lover of ocean creatures!
On our third and final day we had our 6am fruit breakfast and dived with the turtles for the last time before sailing back through the islands, home to Airlie Beach! We had an incredible experience and I would honestly recommend you do the three days if you can.
Powerplay were brilliant, our group grew so close and meeting people from all over the world to share these memorable experiences with was truly incredible. Australia gave me nothing but a heart full of thankfulness for how beautiful our world is and the opportunities we have had to travel and see these true wonders of the world.
This was the wonderful story of Hayley finding her magic through Australia's most beautiful places.
Hayley's a Northern Irish travel addict and beauty entrepreneur with a degree in Photography and passion for nature and landscape photography. A lover of sunsets, sea creatures and adventures in the sun.
Her favourite quote is: 'Be courageous in pursuit of your own happiness'