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While planning my Australia adventure, it was photos of the impossibly picture-perfect Whitsunday Islands that put a sailing adventure at the very top of my list.

We departed early from Airlie Beach on Australia’s beautiful East Coast and within minutes, we were gliding on the azure sea with everyone out on deck to soak up the stunning scenery and sunrays.

A true slice of almost uninhabited paradise, there are 74 idyllic islands that make the Whitsundays. But it was Whitehaven beach, one of Australia’s most photographed natural wonders that we were most excited to see. It didn’t disappoint and we were surprised to be the only boat anchored in the bay!

Whitehaven is a 7 km stretch of the most dazzling white sand I have ever seen – the kind that is so pure, it squeaks between your toes. Lapped by the most shallow and gentle turquoise sea, it might have been the most sublime and heavenly place I have ever experienced.

Fun fact: I later found out the sand is actually some of the world’s purest, consisting of 98% pure silica!

Our beautiful catamaran docked up so we could enjoy swimming, snorkelling, basking in the sun and exploring the island. Some of us played beach games like cricket (tinnies in tow!) and others made their way into the forest and got up and close with the island’s wildlife.

Under the water’s surface, it’s teeming with marine life and colourful corals – turns out this is one of the most pristine corners of the Great Barrier Reef!

Top tip: Climb up to Hill Inlet for the stunning vista over the whole area.

We spent the evening socialising and playing games as the sun set with our epic group, before being swayed gently to sleep in a sheltered cove. Don’t forget to check out the stars – there’s certainly no light pollution here!

At sunrise the next morning, some of us got up pretty early to step up on deck and appreciate waking up in paradise before a refreshing jump into the sea – a real highlight of my whole Australia experience!

Everything we could have needed was included on the boat (even flushing toilets) and it was surprisingly spacious. And if you’re keen on practising your seafaring skills, the crew are more than happy to teach and let you get stuck in.

Sailing with Topdeck meant we were fed like kings, from fresh salads to the catch of the day before, and we had ample time to hang out and get to know our fellow #Topdeckers while the crew handled the sailing. I think they must be up there as having one of the very best jobs in the world!

By @stokedtotravel

Originally from Brighton in the UK, Claire's blog Stoked to Travel was born from a love of documenting and sharing her travel experiences, providing honest, practical and fun destination guides. When she isn't off exploring somewhere new in the world, she's based in London and loves seeing as much of her home city as possible. Having explored more than 50 countries so far, she considers her six months in Ghana and year in Melbourne, Australia as two of her most incredible experiences.

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