The Whitsunday Islands in Queensland are known for their iconic beauty but sometimes it takes a special eye to see that beauty in a whole new light. Enter artist and Instagrammer Emilie Ristevski (@helloemilie), who visited the region recently – including Hamilton Island, Whitehaven Beach and Hardy Reef, where she enjoyed an overnight Reef Sleep adventure. Here she shares her thoughts on, and images of, this extraordinary part of Australia.
Was this your first time in the Whitsundays?
Yes this was my first time visiting the Whitsundays! I have only heard the most wonderful things about this destination, so I was very excited to be able to experience it for myself.
What was your first impression of the Whitsundays?
When we first arrived (on Hamilton Island), I noticed such a calm vibe to the whole island, which was really inviting. When we first saw Whitehaven Beach, I was mesmerised by the colours and it has left such a beautiful lasting impression on me.
How is it different to other parts of Australia?
Being only a short plane trip away, it really does feel as though you have travelled to a remote tropical island, far away from anywhere else. The views of the ocean, the colours and spending time exploring parts of the Great Barrier Reef are completely different to most parts of Australia I have experienced before.
Favourite shot from the trip?
My favourite shot from the trip would have to be some of the aerial images taken while flying over the beautiful blue waters. The beautiful patterns and textures of the reef and the swirling colours of the sand and water were so beautiful and surreal to capture from above.
What was the highlight of the trip?
One of the highlights of the trip was waking up in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef after spending the night sleeping and floating upon the ocean (with Reef Sleep). Watching the sun slowly rise over the sea and being surrounded by just water in every direction was such a unique magical experience.
More Whitsundays inspiration:
Tips for first-timers?
Make sure you find some time for snorkelling and experiencing the ocean and also spend at least one sunset at One Tree Hill for a beautiful view of Hamilton Island and a perfect place for an afternoon drink.
Perfect beach spot?
There are lots of beautiful hidden tropical beaches found throughout many of the islands. Although my favourite experience on this trip would have to be spent at Whitehaven Beach.
Thoughts on Whitehaven?
So beautiful it almost felt surreal! The colours of the water are the most beautiful blues and turquoise combined with pure-white sand, making it such a special place in Australia. It is one of the most peaceful places to swim and spend the day.
What would you recommend to your friends about the Whitsundays?
I would definitely recommend a helicopter ride over Heart Reef and Hill Inlet. These are some of the most breathtaking aerial views I have experienced in Australia and something I will never forget.
Next time around what would you like to do/see?
I would love to visit and experience some of the other islands around the Whitsundays, along with a sea plane ride to a beautiful secluded beach and possibly try scuba diving next time!
How would you describe the Whitsundays in three words?
Peaceful, colourful, paradise
Where are you off to next?
I have a few new adventures coming up – some I can’t say too much about but I am off to Europe and Switzerland soon! So much of the world I can’t wait to see with my own eyes!