Ev­ery day a Sunday

Let your cares float away in a trop­i­cal par­adise

Central and North Burnett Times - - TRAVEL - BY An­drew Back­house The writer was a guest of Tourism Whit­sun­days. Read more about the Whit­sun­days re­gion next week.

WHEN I wad­dled into Lovers Cove at Day­dream Is­land in the Whit­sun­days it was like step­ping into an­other world.

I kit­ted up with a full wet­suit, gog­gles and snorkel, and walked down the co­ral beach into the calm blue wa­ters.

When I sub­merged my head I was greeted by an amaz­ing sight – thou­sands of trop­i­cal fish were swim­ming among the fring­ing co­ral reef.

I spent hours ex­plor­ing the va­ri­ety of co­ral and chas­ing schools of fish.

Snorkelling wasn’t the only fun ac­tiv­ity on of­fer at Day­dream Is­land.

The Day­dream Is­land Re­sort and Spa is home to the Liv­ing Reef – one of the most unique and un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ences.

The free-form co­ral la­goon cour­ses through the re­sort and is home to more than 140 species of marine fish, 82 species of co­ral and a range of in­ver­te­brate species in­clud­ing Bruce the le­mon shark.

I got up close and per­sonal with some of the is­land’s most fa­mous res­i­dents – stingrays.

The St­ingray Splash ex­pe­ri­ence al­lowed me to hand­feed the play­ful an­i­mals as they nib­bled my feet.

I also held sea stars and sea cu­cum­bers as a marine bi­ol­o­gist ex­plained the in­trigu­ing idio­syn­cra­sies of the beau­ti­ful trop­i­cal fish and in­ver­te­brates.

After a de­li­cious lunch at the is­land’s sig­na­ture restau­rant Mer­maids I ex­plored the nat­u­ral beauty of the area.

I passed some rock wal­la­bies laz­ing in the sun and they were tame enough to let me pat their heads.

Then I started on the Rain­for­est Walk, a bush­walk through the is­land with stun­ning views of the sur­round­ing azure seas. The main­land also has amaz­ing bush­walks on of­fer.

The Whit­sun­day Great Walk is a 27km jour­ney through Con­way Na­tional Park, south of Shute Har­bour, start­ing at Forestry Rd and fin­ish­ing at Air­lie Beach.

By far the ma­jor­ity of the Whit­sun­day is­lands are des­ig­nated na­tional park, leav­ing them un­in­hab­ited and in their purest nat­u­ral state for all to en­joy – with stun­ning se­cluded bays, fring­ing co­ral reefs teem­ing with life, gor­geous state for­est and hun­dreds of species of wildlife to dis­cover.

Of the 74 is­lands, eight are in­hab­ited and have re­sorts of­fer­ing a range of ac­com­mo­da­tion types and at­trac­tions.

Vis­i­tors can stay on the Whit­sun­day Coast or at the is­land re­sorts. Both pro­vide a perfect base from which to en­joy the re­gion, and there are count­less must-do ex­pe­ri­ences in the Whit­sun­days.

The ma­jor­ity of the is­lands are des­ig­nated na­tional park, leav­ing them in their purest nat­u­ral state for all to en­joy

PHOTO: PETER LIK

◗ Snorkelling is one of the many fun ac­tiv­i­ties on the Great Bar­rier Reef.

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