The Whitsunday Islands
By Arthur Bensley
This year Carol and I are celebrating our Golden Wedding. A special year for us both. We decided to start off our years celebration with a holiday on Hamilton Island, this is one of 74 tropical islands in the Whitsunday island group, midway between the tropical coast of Queensland and the Great Australian Barrier Reef , and a one hour thirty five minutes flight by jet from Brisbane airport. The first day of June, which is the start of our winter over here, was also the day we landed on the island around noon. The air temperature was 27 degrees Celsius and the water temperature was 25 degrees, not bad for winter! The Reef View Hotel has high rise apartments, ours was on the thirteenth floor. ( Lucky for some !) We had great views across the water to the coral reefs, also to other islands. It was pointed out to us , that on leaving the apartment , make sure to close the balcony door, if not, at the first available opportunity, the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo’s of which there appears to be hundreds, will hop in and help themselves to your sachets of sugar, plus biscuits etc! Crested Cockatoos and Rainbow Lorikeets, appear to be all over the islands.
Carol & Arthur with feathered friends on their balcony
Hamilton attracts many celebrities. Property sales seem to be booming. The late George Harrison’s house is for sale. A bit out of our reach! On the second day we hired the islands main means of transportation. A golf buggy. There are hundreds of these, and it appears private cars are not allowed on the island.
We were lucky enough to meet a very nice couple Vicky and Ken Jobe, who were on a three week holiday from Sutton Coldfield near Birmingham. They had, like us, snorkeled in coral reefs, in different parts of the world, so we teamed up and on the 4th June, went to the Coral Gardens by fast launch Wild Dream, from the Dive shop. The Coral reefs were teeming with multi colored tropical fish .This plus the fact that the warm tropical air was filled with hundreds of colored butterflies, made it difficult to know if one should look up or down ! We then headed for Whitsunday Island , which is the largest island in the group. Here we had a pit stop and imbibed iced drinks & biscuits. before heading back to base , a memorable trip for us all.