Jessica Braithwaite On Crashing Weddings & Squeak-testing The Sand In The Whitsundays

27 October 2014

About half a second. That's how long it takes for even an unsuspecting visitor to be swept away by the welcoming, sweet vibes of the Whitsundays. It doesn't matter where you came from or what kind of busy life you left behind - you're here now and that brochure-blue ocean just became your best friend.

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Adventurers come here to dive the sparkling clear waters, lovebirds come here to get married, young people (a category for which I'm not sure if I still qualify) come here to dance at the beach bars 'til 2am. And hard-working parents come here to regenerate in the cocoon of a hammock with a magazine in one hand, an umbrella-laden cocktail in the other, and happy children splashing safely in the resort pool by their feet.

With time on your side, you don't need to be choosy. My trusty travel buddy Alfie Tieu and I decided to take part in all of the above… well, apart from getting hitched (phew!).

 Getting to know the Whitsundays on a deeper level

Our adrenaline dose came in the form of a full-throttle hoon around Hamilton Island in a purpose-built golf buggy. Hamilton Island Buggy Hire will lend you one of their beasts for $46 and I promise there's no better way to see the island.

You'll lose yourself in the winding curves of paradise and find yourself in the majestic views you unwittingly stumble upon. Of course, you may have just one or two 'conversations' about directions with your travel companions as you try to remember - which way were we supposed to turn at the third tallest palm tree? And how do we put it in reverse again?

 Australia's most photographed beach: Whitehaven

A trip to the Whitsundays without visiting Whitehaven Beach is kind of like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. It's a must see, and you don't need a private yacht to get there either.

Cruise Whitsundays will deliver you to the water's edge so you can step on to the most photographed beach in Australia and give that sand a good old squeak test. It's 98% pure silica, which gives it a bright white colour and unique tendency to squeak underfoot.

 How's the serenity?

If partying's your thing, you might be best suited to Airlie Beach on the mainland with its abundance of bars and opportunities for sunset sippings of summer-flavoured beers. Though, truth be told, if you choose to stay at your resort, you may or may not find yourself dancing the night away with a wedding party who happen to be celebrating at the restaurant.

Before you know it, you're performing the Macarena as enthusiastically as the next proud Aunty. Disclaimer: depending on the ferociousness of your dance moves, participation in such activities can lead to awkward encounters at the following morning's breakfast buffet when you see your new best friends in a different light, i.e. daylight.

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Oh, and one last thing. Beware of intruders (not the scary kind though). These ones have four legs, gorgeous brown hair and a keen interest in your cereal as they bounce into your room to say hello. Yes, even the wallabies befriend you in here, because you really are back to nature.

You sleep to the sound of lapping waters, you wake to the sound of beautiful birdcalls and you live to the beat of the refreshing breeze.  That's why it only takes half a second for this place to get a hold of you, because it speaks to your soul. There's another thing that takes half a second - it's also the average time taken before a person who has left the Whitsundays wants to return again.

 I left my heart in the Whitsundays

Jess and Alfie visited the Whitsundays as part of Flight Centre's 'Travel Correspondent' project over the October long weekend. Read more from Bondi Rescue's Trent Maxwell, athlete Richard Colman and journo Katina Vangopoulos, or search #travelcorrespondent on Twitter and Instagram.

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About Jessica Braithwaite

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Jessica Braithwaite is a national weather presenter for Sky News. She's also a familiar face in our skies, presenting in-flight news bulletins for Qantas. Jessica has an all encompassing passion for travel and simply adores being a part of the wonderful experiences this world has to offer.

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