One of the main reasons we wanted to travel Australia was to experience the very well known Whitsundays. Made up of 74 island wonders, the Whitsundays is the only place in the world you can charter a yacht without a license.
I didn’t trust myself or Farley to be the captain of our own boat so we opted for a multi day tour. Airlie Beach is in no way short of tour operators. From budget day tours to 3 day luxury tours, there is something suited to absolutely everyone, the difficulty is finding which one is best for you! When doing our research, I was so budget conscious that I panicked. And I’ll always remember what Farley said to me next, “this is one of the biggest reasons we came here, let’s bloody well enjoy it and do it properly”.
So we did. In my honest opinion, The Whitsundays is not somewhere you can necessarily budget if you want to enjoy it to the fullest. It’s so beyond beautiful that blowing the budget is FINE! We booked the 2 day 2 night Ride To Paradise with Red Cat Adventures and it was the best decision of our lives. Wait no, the best decision was upgrading to the Rainforest Retreat private villa. I’ll get to those details later.
Think luxury mixed with a whole lotta fun. Instead of staying overnight on a boat, Ride to Paradise is the only tour operator of its kind that takes guests to stay at an exclusive beachfront resort. Paradise Cove Resort is a hidden gem, privately owned by some rich billionaire that originally rented out the property for an obscene amount of money per night to the likes of Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. Today, Red Cats Ride to Paradise guests have exclusive use of the resort during their tour. If you fancy staying in a little bit of luxury as opposed to sleeping on a boat, this is for you.
We boarded Wildcat (our boat, not high school musical related) and met our fellow guests. There were just 16 of us out of a maximum of 32! And after a warm greeting, instructions on the next few days and a safety briefing from the crew, JJ and Johno (amazing boys), the boat headed straight for Paradise Cove.
The afternoon was ours to spend as we please. Why not enjoy a feast on the beachfront, kayak down the creek, paddle board into the sunset, kayak down the creek, dive bomb into the pool, roast marshmallows over a fire, relax with wine in the hot tub, face an opponent at table tennis or simply indulge in a hot outdoor bubble bath (That’s what I did). All these activities might I add are free, and included in the package. Now I told you the best decision was upgrading to our own private Rainforest Retreat villa. Well here’s why… our villa was located at the side of the resort giving us maximum privacy. The room was massive with the comfiest king size bed I’ve ever slept in. We had our own private beach and outdoor bathhouse which was recently named one of the worlds most gorgeous bathrooms!! It was the best bath I’ve ever had. If only the tour was longer, I needed an extra day or two just enjoy the resort. Day 2
We were up bright and early, fed and watered with what can only be described as a bottomless breakfast and boarded on Wildcat by 8am heading out to the islands. Well into whale migration season we saw plenty of humpbacks during the two days. Our first destination was the picturesque Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet lookout.
It was exactly like I’d seen on the internet, if not better. It was picture postcard perfect. The most incredible beach I’ve ever stepped foot on. We had three whole hours to enjoy it. I did wonder if they’d notice two people missing if we just didn’t go back to the boat. Perhaps Farley and I could reside here in Whitehaven for the rest of our lives? Anyone want to join? You’d think three hours would be plenty but it flew and I’d only been sunbathing for 10 minutes. We’d spent three hours exploring the beach, feeling the whitest of white sand between our feet and swam in the most crystal clear waters joined by the occasional stingray. JJ and Johno please 5 more minutes!!
The 16 of us headed back to Wildcat for lunch along with one very annoying and persistent sea gull who would not give up. After lunch it was time to get into the ocean at two different snorkel locations and experience being up close with marine life and some incredible coral reefs. Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a fish feed? It’s one hell of a hilarious and incredible experience. They tend to mistake toes and GoPros for food! After a full afternoon of snorkelling it’s time to head back to Paradise Cove for a dinner fit for kings and what they like to call “party night” because it’s the last night at Paradise Cove. Don’t go to crazy though, it’s still a 7.30am start and a busy morning of boating and snorkelling. You wouldn’t want to be hungover. We enjoyed a few drinks and some card games up at the pool with our new Whitsundays family.
Please don’t make me leave… like seriously where can I hide on this resort. On the third and final day after another endless breakfast banquet we left the resort at 8.30am and headed for Langford Sandbar. A haven for sea turtles. It was my first time swimming with these little dudes and oh my it was insane! How incredible is this guy!? As with the entire trip, that morning went way to fast and before we knew it, we had to wave goodbye to the Whitsundays and return to Airlie Beach. I, nor any of my new family wanted to leave.
Despite being one of the more expensive tours, I cannot recommend Red Cat Adventures Ride To Paradise enough. The team, JJ and Johno, were incredible throughout the trip, a credit to Red Cat. They made sure everyone had the most awesome time and that no one ever went hungry, which was virtually impossible, there was SO MUCH FOOD! Paradise Cove Resort was luxury I’d never experienced before and being able to explore the Whitsundays, swim with turtles, sting rays and hundreds of fish was a truly remarkable and memorable experience.
What could you possibly be waiting for? Paradise is just a boat trip away.