Scenic Paddle along the outside of Whitsunday Island

by Rod

in Sea Kayaking

Day 7 Our Cumberland Island Adventure

Trip for Day 7

Day 7 saw us leaving the squeaky white sand of Whitehaven Beach to head north along the eastern side of Whitsunday Island. It was a beautiful flat cloudless day with a slight 5km/hr breeze. The high tide was now, later in the day which meant we were paddling against the current. The tidal current was not too strong as we continued along Whitehaven about 500 meters off the beach. Whitehaven Beach is about 5 kms long and at the end is Hill Inlet and then Tongue Point. We were told the previous day by one of the sailors, there is a great lookout on Tongue Point and the best access is on the northern side. That was our first destination, along with over a hundred tourists.

Tourists landing at Hill Inlet

We arrived at the stony beach just as the tourer boats were unloading their passengers into dories and ferrying them to the beach. There is a very well worn track up to a couple of very spectacular lookouts. These are overlooking the very beautiful Hill Inlet and on down to Whitehaven Beach. This is the spot where all the postcard photos of the Whitsundays are taken from. My photo does not do all the blues and white sand any justice. We were so lucky to see this on such a bright sunny day. Lots of the tourists were swimming and lazing around in the blue shallow waters along the edge of Hill Inlet. It did look so inviting. We had a few kilometers to cover, so after a short recovery, we were back on our way.

Hill Inlet & Whithaven Beach

The east coast of Whitsunday Island is quite rugged and we could have spent more time investigating a couple of the inlets, but not on this trip. Next we paddled past Whitsunday Cairn, a rocky outcrop on the Northern end of Whitsunday Island. We did a weekend trip out to Whitsunday Cairn earlier in the year. Here is the link to that trip.

Eatern Side of Whitsunday Island

Then on around the northern end of Whitsunday Island and into Hook Island Resort. The passage between Whitsunday Island and Hook Island can be difficult to paddle. The current can be very strong in this narrow shallow passage. It also runs the opposite way to what you would expect. On the previous trip, an incoming tide where we expected the tide to be running southwards was running north and out through the passage. The current made some inviting standing waves, but we couldn’t surf them. No matter how hard we tried, we were just washed off the back of the wave with the current.

Hook Island Resort

We called into the closed resort on Hook Island and inquired if we could camp there for the night. We were welcome on the beach, but the manager said we could not camp there or on the neighbouring beach. After a short break, we were back in the kayaks for the final 5km leg around to Curlew Beach. Curlew Beach where we had camped on a previous trip, is a National Parks camping ground with two picnic tables and a toilet. Curlew Beach is in Macona Inlet on the southern end of Hook Island and faces towards the east. At low tide the water can be up to 40 meters from the beach where a fringing coral reef drops off  into deeper water.

Neighbours at Curlew Beach

It was another cool restful afternoon as we set up camp for the night with a slight breeze blowing into our campsite. As it grew dark the curlews began to wonder around, then stand like little statues if they felt threatened. As we ate tea in the dark some little marsupial rates scampered amongst the leaf litter and occasionally under our table looking for food. After the day events were retold it was time to retire for the night.

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