The beautiful Whitsunday Islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, are world renowned for their turquoise seas, blue skies and gorgeous vistas. However, on a dull day of brooding grey skies, I have to admit that they weren't looking their best.
We were coming into the main tourist island – Hamilton Island – which has several large resort hotels with accommodation for 2,000 plus, so it was hardly an unspoilt paradise that we were coming into. In fact, it felt like we were coming into a bit of a twilight zone, like we'd actually left Australia and ended up in an internationalised holiday zone. With its mainly Chinese and Japanese clientele, its fairly mass market restaurants, and its holiday resort feel, we could have been in Thailand, in Spain, or Hawaii.
Of course, what makes the Whitsundays so special is the magnificent scenery – but, unfortunately, nature wasn't playing ball today. When we got to the beach, the tide was out a long way, and those golden sands were looking a muddy grey; while the normally azure seas were also looking fairly dull, as they reflected the heavy clouds up above us.
We didn't have long here, so we did a nice walk along the beach, before joining the ship's catamaran tour. Sadly, the winds weren't very strong, so we didn't get too far into this stunning archipelago of islands, but it was a wonderfully relaxing way to travel as we chatted our way around the seas off Hamilton.
This was only a taster of the Whitsundays - to get to appreciate them fully, you need more time, better weather, and stronger winds. There's always a next time…