so our 3 nights have ended and we are back home so here is some practical tips and notes from our experience.
Accommodation – Reef View Hotel, not the most expensive and not the cheapest, we had few hiccups but overall the beds were comfortable and the space nice. The garden view rooms, not sure if there is another point in the hotel which have garden views but ours basically faced over the entrance and the buggy park. We were moved because our first room was on floor 1 and looked right over the entrance. Personally I think the first 3 floors offer budget views, the fourth floor was a good view. There are lots of accommodation options, but because we travelled in high season many had 5 – 7 day minimum stays and we just couldn’t do it. We didn’t spend much time at the hotel, the reef bar seemed pleasant enough but there are plenty of places to head out for food and drink. Reef View Guests got non-motorized water sports gear free too.
Day trips – obviously book up fast our short trip left us with only a half day at Whitehaven with no snorkeling option as part of the trip. That said we chose to book On The Edge, a catamaran trip. The crew, Stu, Justin, Luke and Ebony couldn’t do enough for us all, we got some historical information about the Whitsunday’s, prepared a lunch and ensured we were comfortable throughout. The half day trip was $119 per person, the full day with snorkeling cost $169 per person but it was booked out. We took our own snorkeling gear and the fringe reef offered some spectacular stuff but it is a fringe reef nothing on the reef as a whole, but definitely worth taking, it helps pass the time because there is no shade on the beach. Whitehaven is breathtaking so would definitely recommend it.
Buggy Hire – Hamilton is hilly so I would definitely recommend buggy hire, that said some of the self catering options include the buggy in the accommodation prices. They can be hired for an hour or a day, a full day is $87, we won ours at trivia but so glad we had one, it gave us an opportunity to bob around this small isle without killing ourselves on the hills.
Food – well as always if you eat meat and seafood there are plenty of options, vegetarians however, there are far fewer options. So on the Whitehaven trip food was offered, but lack of education around vegetarianism in general means that while they provided clean tongs people would push their salad into their meat with salad tongs then place them back in the salad, I did request a fresh pair and took the uncontaminated salad, petty but hey, common sense and respect people.
Breakfast, we became frequenter a of the Marina Cafe, the menu is small but they are happy to provide a pick your own combination. All was priced well and I can recommend the scrambled eggs with mushrooms and spinach, $12 and a great start.
Restaurants, well again veggie options thin on the ground in general. Marina Tavern was salad and chips but pretty standard for pub grub. Coca Chu offered from memory 1 veggie main option, pleasant but nothing to shout about. Mariners seafood, we checked their menu and saw no veggie options. TAKO was a Mexican place and as we had Mexican planned when we got home we gave it a miss but did offer some veggie options on their menu. The most amazing meal was offered at Romanos Italian restaurant, they had a couple of veggie options but also had others that they could adapt so not only was there choice the food was absolutely amazing. Most of the meals where pretty much the same price and I would suggest that it’s mid-range.
We did hear that if you are self catering Coles deliver so this would definitely be an option if I was to return for a while longer.
Catseye beach is beautiful but Whitehaven just overshadows it. Catseye has a water sports hut, so snorkeling gear, windsurfers, kayaks etc are available, if you don’t have them free the prices seemed pretty reasonable to me.
We were told alcohol was expensive, but to be honest it’s not as expensive as we expected, Tangalooma is more expensive.