I love escaping day-to-day life by immersing myself in a movie on the big screen. Even if the scenes are far from my life, I figure a girl can dream. Apparently dreams can come true because recently I felt like I was in one of those movies living the dream. While staying on Hamilton Island we were keen to visit Whitehaven Beach. It’s an award-winning beach which is consistently on lists of the top beaches in the world. Hubby and I visited before the kids came along so we knew that access wouldn’t be easy without a beach wheelchair. A full day would be too much for BJ if he couldn’t move around. Looking through the Hamilton Island website I found that we could fly to Whitehaven Beach by helicopter and I knew this would be a thrill for the whole family but especially BJ. What I didn’t realise is that this is no ordinary joy flight because this tour came with the option of landing on Whitehaven Beach. This is where my imaginary movie director called, “Action!” on my dream.
Whitehaven Beach is the largest of the 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays and the draw card for visitors is the seven kilometres of pristine white silica sand beach. There are many tour operators who offer half-day and full-day boat trips to Whitehaven but we took to the skies for our visit. It gave us the opportunity to see more of the area and famous Hill Inlet where the colours of the ocean swirl into patterns, reminding me of a delicious dessert.
When I told the family we would be flying to a beach with the whitest of silica and we’d be landing in two helicopters there was unbridled excitement. We arrived at Hamilton Island Air for our flight and separated with the boys going in one helicopter and the girls in the other. The helicopter takes a maximum of three passengers which is why we had two for our trip.
I sat beside the pilot, put on my headset and we were off, waving to the boys as we took to the sky. The view out of the large windows at the front and side of the helicopter were wonderful with not a scratch on the glass. The pilots keep the helicopters in pristine condition which reminded me of that feeling when you slip into a new car. Everything is perfect.
There was a little wobble as the wind caught the helicopter on take-off and then it was smooth sailing. The pilot pointed out different sights along the way and as we flew over Hill Inlet I was taken aback at my feelings of emotion. I felt a tear prickle my eye as the reality of the incredible experience hit me. This was no movie, just our family having the most amazing time.
Whitehaven Beach didn’t really need pointing out, the beauty of the beach shouted out “Ta-dah!” But the pilot still highlighted it and advised that we were about to land. I don’t know what I imagined landing on a beach with a helicopter would be like but it was smooth and only little wisps of sand danced up to greet us.
The pilot turned the aircraft around so we could watch the boys land. BJ’s huge white toothy grin stood out nearly as much as the white of the sand. He was elated.
The pilots set up umbrellas, picnic rugs and unloaded champagne and nibbles for us and disappeared for an hour and a half.
Knowing that the trip was to be a decadent, once in a lifetime trip, we stopped off at Fishi Seafood and picked up a prawn and bug platter. We’d bought one another day and BJ had devoured his way through a huge amount of prawns so we thought it would be the perfect accompaniment to our Whitehaven trip.
We popped that champagne and looked around with delight and wonder. We were the only ones left on the beach. There had been another helicopter there on our arrival but it had since departed.
What followed was swimming, laughter, more wonderment, a stingray sighting and pure joy at living in a country with such beauty. Oh, and there was champagne drinking of course.
Swimming in the warm waters of Whitehaven Beach
The water was warm and the afternoon was bliss. I was hoping the pilots may fall asleep in their hammocks hidden in the bush but sadly they did return and our spell at Whitehaven was over.
We’ve had some pretty amazing travel moments but this is the best.
The pilots packed up our rugs, umbrellas and leftovers and it was time to brush off the sand before hopping back into the helicopters.
On our return the pilot did a quick loop around to show us a turtle swimming in the water. It was such a sweet ending to an incredible trip. The only consolation for it being over was returning to Hamilton where we knew further adventures awaited us.
It would be great if the regular airlines were as quick bringing BJ’s wheelchair to the aircraft door.
Flying to Whitehaven Beach is a great way to enjoy the beach but you do need to be able to transfer from a wheelchair into a helicopter.
There is a step up into the helicopter but Hubby found this easier to get BJ into than the fixed wing plane we took over Heart Reef. Hubby put BJ’s back to the helicopter and lifted him into the aircraft from that position.
The helicopter windows give amazing views over the Whitsundays so even if you don’t want to stop off at Whitehaven it’s a fabulous way to see a lot in a short time.
BJ’s wheelchair was taken to the helicopter door, left at the airstrip with staff and then returned by staff on landing.
Hamilton Island Air has a disabled toilet facility at the airstrip.
You can read more about flights with Hamilton Island Air here.
We were guests of Hamilton Island for this experience. As always our opinions are our own and my effusive blog is because this is truly the best experience we’ve had in our travels.