Take an epic island tour with Red Cat Adventures where you will experience beach time at Whitehaven Beach and snorkeling in two spots on the fringe of the Great Barrier Reef. Our first adventure in Whitsundays was a crazy fun tour with Red Cat Adventures. We had such a good time with their crew and enjoyed the stops immensely.
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Your day kicks off early when Red Cat Adventures picks you up from your hotel. Red Cat Adventures will pick you up from your hotel and return you back at the end of the day for no additional fee. They picked us up from Discovery Park Airlie Beach.
You check-in at Abell Point Marina in Airlie Beach and they issue you a stinger suit and if you want a life jacket. We always take life jackets. It was also during this time that they inquire about medical conditions. I love that they ask about medical conditions. I think this is extremely important when you are out on a boat on the water all day.
I noticed that many of the parents didn’t take a life jacket. Then when the kids got too tired to continue snorkeling they had to go back to the boat. If the kids had a life jacket they could have snorkeled the whole time. My advice, if you have kids, take the life jacket.
We departed from the marina in Airlie Beach early in the morning and cruised down to Whitehaven Beach. I did not do a good job keeping track of time, but I do know it took us over an hour to get to Whitehaven beach.
The best part of this excursion, in my opinion, was visiting Whitehaven Beach. It was absolutely breathtaking. The four of us have never seen anything else like it during our family adventures. It is by far the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world, and we’ve been a few places.
Whitehaven Beach is considered one of the best beaches in the world and I can easily say this was the best beach we’ve ever seen. (Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos is a close second.)
Whitehaven Beach is a 7 km stretch along Whitsunday Island, Australia with crystal clear water. The island is accessible by boat, seaplane & helicopter from Airlie Beach, as well as Hamilton Island. Even if you do not take this tour, figure out a way to get yourself out there. It’s too amazing not to see in person.
During this particular tour, the boat drops you off on the opposite side of the island from the beach. We did see some tours that took you right to the actual beach. As I sweated profusely, I had somewhat wished we had parked on the other side as well.
Once you are dropped off the guide walks you up to a lookout point before you head down to the beach for a swim. From the lookout, you can get epic photos. The hike up to the lookout was not easy. You climb up-stairs and it’s hot, extremely hot. Take water with you for the hike and for your time down at the beach. There’s no shade on the beach.
Your kids will not need life jackets to swim at this beach, but they do recommend you wear stinger suits because of jellyfish. (We saw no jellyfish.) The water is extremely shallow. On one side of the beach, the water is extremely cold and on the other side there are waves, so you can experience both. Over on the shallow side, the kids found a stingray or two, which was quite thrilling for them.
After spending time at Whitehaven Beach we got back on board for a buffet lunch. To be perfectly honest the lunch is just okay. We found it to be rather tasteless, but we were hungry so it didn’t really matter. It was funny though because our host went into great detail on how flavorful and tasty everything was going to be. There was plenty of food onboard for everyone. I recommend bringing a few snacks. I think fruit and water is best considering the heat.
Whitehaven Beach Snorkeling
After lunch, we visited two different places to snorkel near Whitehaven Beach. Both were excellent and considered fringe reefs, so not the Great Barrier Reef, but pretty darn close. They provided all of the equipment needed to snorkel. They have snorkels that will fit basically anyone.
We felt extremely safe snorkeling with them. They keep a worker near you in a dingy at all times and will scoop you up out of the water if there’s a problem. As I’ve mentioned before, my oldest son has epilepsy, so I was unsure if he would snorkel until we got out there and were able to assess the situation in person. The set up was so safe he was able to participate successfully.
Scuba diving was not offered on this tour, but they have other tours available that will take you out to scuba dive.
On the way back the crew really showed us what the Thundercat can do. The boat was specifically designed for that area and it is highly capable. My kids loved the insane turns and heart-pumping speed.
A few important things you need to know before taking this tour.
1) They do not provide any complimentary drinks. None! You will need to bring your own. They do sell drinks onboard for $2 Australian dollars only. They will not take any other form of currency, including US money. They will not take a credit card either, because there is no cell service out there.
2) If the weather is not great you may need a jacket. We certainly had no need for a jacket the day we went.
3) Every person has a wet bag under their seat to protect things from getting wet. This was one of the things I was the most worried about. I was taking my drone out there with me and I did not want it to get wet. You can imagine my delight when I saw large bags under our seats.
What to pack for your Thundercat adventure or similar tour:
-Towel (The do not provide any towels.)
-Protective clothing like an SPF shirt
-Light jacket/sweater for windy or cool days
-Cash for optional purchases
-More Drinking Water
-Travel-friendly Beach Blanket
Check out our vlog from this day!
Should You Get Travel Insurance?
Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a fan of Travelex insurance, because of the variety of options. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. I have gotten extremely sick twice now out of the country and Noah has had seizures in other countries, so I always recommend getting some sort of coverage.