During our trip to Australia last Thanksgiving, my family and I had an incredible time in the Whitsundays on the Thundercat, one of the boats belonging to Red Cat Adventures. Red Cat Adventures is a company located in the Whitsundays (Australia) that provides a number of different boat tours and experiences. My family and I embarked on their day-long tour aboard the Thundercat and had a fantastic time snorkeling and visiting Whitehaven Beach.
The Whitsundays Islands are located in the northeastern part of Australia. Surrounded by blue waters and sunshine, Whitsundays is the perfect place for a vacation.
Our adventure started off at the hotel, Discovery Parks in Airlie Beach. It was early in the morning, about the time we would normally wake up. Eventually, one of the Red Cat shuttles pulled up to take us down to Abell Point Marina. When we arrived at the marina, we quickly filled out forms and grabbed sting suits. As you can probably guess, sting suits protect you from any sea life that may sting you.
It was our first full day in the Whitsundays. My family hadn’t fully adjusted to the time change yet. Although my family and I weren’t entirely in it to win it that morning, the day’s events quickly made us more awake. The windy boat ride was quite awakening, and the Whitsundays sunshine was a gift. After the cold of oncoming winter in our home state, it was nice to feel some warmth.
Each guide on board the Thundercat was incredibly friendly and did a good job at escorting us around the Whitsundays throughout the day. I doubt the experience would have been the same without the guides at Red Cat Adventures. At the beginning of the trip, they gave us a rundown of what our day would look like. Throughout the day, the guides treated us with lunch, brownies, and fruit skewers.
Our first stop on the Thundercat boat tour was Whitehaven Beach. At times like this, my family and I were really happy to be on the Thundercat and not just any tour boat. As we were exiting the Thundercat, we took notice of the boats around us. Many of the other companies had their boats packed with people. It didn’t look comfortable at all. In comparison, each of us had our own seat and plenty of space, as well as our own wet bags. We were well provided for.
Carrying our beach bags and sting suits, we climbed off the Thundercat and onto the shore. We weren’t technically at Whitehaven Beach yet. Some of the other boat tours take you directly to Whitehaven Beach, but this is not the case for the Thundercat and a few other tour companies. In order to get there, you have to go on a short hike up and over the Whitsunday Island. Trust me, it’s worth the walk.
Hill Inlet Lookout
When the trail came to an intersection, our group turned right instead of continuing down to Whitehaven Beach. This trail led us to a viewpoint, known as Hill Inlet Lookout, where we took many pictures. Our guides grabbed a photo of the whole tour group which they posted to the Red Cat Adventures Facebook page. The tour guide actually had to climb up on the railing in order to fit all of us into the photo. The view was beautiful, although it faced away from Whitehaven Beach. Another viewpoint was being built during our time there. It appeared to face Whitehaven Beach more directly, and it might even be done by the time I am writing this.
After turning around and walking downhill for a couple of minutes, we finally reached Whitehaven Beach. My family and I walked out from the trees and onto the magnificent white sand. It’s definitely the most beautiful beach I’ve ever been to. The white sand was almost blinding at first.
The beach wasn’t overly crowded with people, and we quickly found a place to set our beach bags and sting suits. Our tour guide on the Thundercat recommended that we wear our sting suits whenever we entered deeper water, but my older brother and I didn’t really abide by that advice. Near the end of our time at the beach, we started to wish we had worn them when we saw a stingray casually swimming about the shallows.
We walked across the sand and waded through the shallow water. It was a beautiful day, and the water felt nice. Whitehaven Beach is a place you must see if you’re visiting Australia. You simply can’t miss it. The full-day tour aboard the Thundercat gives tourists about two hours on Whitehaven Beach. Although I would have enjoyed a bit more time there, I understand that we also had to make time for snorkeling.
Lunch on board the Thundercat wasn’t that great. It wasn’t flavorful, but we were pretty hungry. Food is food. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so disappointed in the food if the guide hadn’t talked about the lunch with such appraisal. This is probably my only complaint about the entire day. For those that plan on boarding the Thundercat, it’s best if you bring snacks and water. Although lunch was provided, drinks are gonna cost you Australian cash.
After lunch, we boated on over to our first snorkeling spot and got suited up. Everyone was given a sting suit before boarding the Thundercat that morning. Snorkel masks were distributed and cleaned. Although many people did not opt for life jackets, my family did. When it comes to snorkeling, I see no reason not to grab a life jacket. You’re just hovering on top of the water. With a life jacket, you don’t have to exhaust yourself at all.
Peter Bay is the first snorkeling stop on the Thundercat boat tour. It’s a very quiet snorkeling spot with a beautiful reef located just around the corner from Whitehaven Beach. When we were ready, my family and I hopped out of the boat and into the blue waters.
The reef we saw at Peter Bay was beautiful. It’s definitely some of the best snorkeling I’ve ever experienced, although these GoPro shots don’t do the reef much justice. We saw a ton of fish, and one some parts of the reef were incredibly colorful. I’ve discovered that I enjoy swimming close to giant clams because their “lips” move and shrink when people move near them.
Manta Ray Bay
Manta Ray Bay was another short boat ride from Peter Bay. It’s another peaceful place to snorkel, and it’s very popular for its turtles. Although it didn’t have a remarkable reef, we still had a good time searching the blue water for turtles. I myself saw two, and the group saw about five in total.
After a long day on the water and on the beach, it was time to head back. We peeled off our sting suits and dried out during the windy ride back to Abell Point Marina. When we neared the marina, our captain kicked things up a notch. The Thundercat sped along the water at high speeds, making turns and giving everyone one last thrill. By the time we hopped back into the shuttle for a ride back to Discovery Parks, it was about five o’ clock in the evening. The Thundercat boat tour was about as long as your every day 9-5, except it’s much more fun. If there’s one thing you have to do while in Whitsundays, Australia, you have to go on a boat tour. My family and I had a blast, and so did the others on board the Thundercat.
For more information on my family’s first day in the Whitsundays, Australia, you can watch this short vlog that we put together.