Whitsunday Islands with Ride to Paradise

Disclaimer: this post may cause feelings of extreme envy and intense pangs of wanderlust.

If you quit your job and hop on the next plane to Australia after reading this, don’t blame me, blame Red Car Adventures and their newest creation, Ride To Paradise.

Ride to Paradise

This tour is a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of the Whitsunday Islands while living it up in style: in a millionaire’s getaway resort. And it gets better, it’s available and affordable for backpackers like you and I!

Ride to Paradise is a brand new tour less that a year old, yet business is booming, and rightly so! This place is pure paradise, while roughing it out on Fraser Island was an experience, nothing compares to the lavish treatment received at Paradise Cove, the 4,000 acre resort, complete with a pool, jacuzzi and tennis court, all with a backdrop of a tropical rainforest.

 THE RESORT

We arrived in Airlie Beach Tuesday morning, a day early for our Ride to Paradise adventure. Airlie Beach is a bustling little coastal town that acts as the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and knows how to throw one hell of a party! Packed with backpackers and families, there’s pretty much something for everyone to do here, as they await their turn to hop on a boat out to the islands.

Airlie Beach lagoon is just one of the places to stretch out and enjoy the sun!

Wednesday afternoon couldn’t come quick enough, and with our goon tucked firmly underarm (classy as ever), we headed down to the port to meet our Ride to Paradise crew. A friendly Aussie named Billy greeted us and told us he’d be our decky for our trip. He had a professional demeanour but a cheeky enough smile that told us we were gonna have a good time over the next three days!

Once we were all checked in (a handful of Irish, some British, German, a few Dutch and Spanish and two Americans), it was on to the boat and straight to the resort. The great thing about this tour is all the travelling is done on the Thundercat, a comfortable speedboat (instead of a sailboat) that’s the group from A to B in a flash, which means more time on this islands and less time on the boat.

While we were speeding along to Paradise Cove, Billy gave us some facts about our new home for the next three days. The resort was originally built for an Australian to show, Tale of South Seas. Once the show finished airing, an Australian millionaire named Jodee Rich bought the resort and surrounding land as a holiday destination for his family.

Rich didn’t spend an awful lot of time at Paradise Cove, so he rented it out to Russian millionaires and celebrities for $15,000 a night. Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and other celebs retreated to this haven to escape the paparazzi! Rich then decided to try his hand at tourism and began renting the house out to the Ride to Paradise tour group. Originally it was meant to cater for honeymooners and well-to-do holiday makers, but they soon realised this slice of heaven was too good to keep exclusive. Backpackers now make up majority of the clientele but are treated like 5 star guests!

DAY ONE

As I stepped off the boat onto the beach I could hardly believe this was out home for the next three days! We were shown to our rooms, some people staying in dorm style rooms and other in private suites. We were staying in a private room which had once been Rich’s kid’s room! Everything in the house has been left exactly how the owner left it, he used the house for about two weeks every year and he expects to have all his belongings the way he left them when he returns!

 

This was our own private quaters off the main house!

Our room was nothing short of a five star resort, it’s probably the nicest room I’ll ever stay in, including my honeymoon suite! The outdoor waterfall showers had to be one of my favourite details about the resort. As I was showering I looked around to see I was accompanied by just about every sort of rainforest wildlife you could imagine!

 

Our car bed is a far cry from this kingsized bed!

 

This used to be the children’s bedroom, with an upper area overlooking the islands!

Once we were settled in, the group took off to explore the resort. Some headed straight to the beach with paddle boards. Others chilled in hammocks and giant beanbags, and we of course ended up in the hot tub with a cold drink in our hands!

While staying in Paradise Cove, all your meals are included and the standard of food is incredible! We really felt spoiled rotten after living in our car, I could get used to this lifestyle! After eating our fill, we had a few drinks on the deck and roasted some marshmallows on the campfire, then it was off to our comfy kingsize bed for the night.

Our meals included were amazing!

DAY TWO 

Spoilt again with our choice for breakfast! Cereals, fresh fruit and toast, we filled our tummies as we’d a big day ahead. First stop on the itinerary for the day was Whitehaven Beach. I could barely contain myself! The excitement brewed inside me as we got closer and closer to the Whitsunday Islands. This beach has been my dream destination for years. Any social media account associated with this place I followed and I even had the beach as my screensaver in work!

As the boated jetted toward the island I tried not to be too disappointed as the clouds darkened and the sky opened up, rain bucketing down on us. Billy was as positive as ever, ensuring us weather on the islands is unpredictable and changes within minutes. I wasn’t hopeful.

Soaked to the skin!

But low and behold just as we hopped off the boat the sunshine came out! I couldn’t believe how lucky we were! The group was dropped off on one side of the island and we hiked through the middle to get to the world-famous beach on the other side. Once we were out of the clearing and stepped onto the white sand, I was in awe at the view in front of me.

The sand was so white it was almost blinding, and the water so clear you could easily spot the small lemon sharks and stingrays zooming in and out of swimmers’ legs. Everyone looked super tanned against the white background and all the girls got snapping on their new profile pictures straight away!

This awkward arms out pose is my go-to pose everywhere we go.

 

I’m terrible at posing but had to make the most of this scenery!

We spent a magical three hours on the beach and then it was time to drag ourselves back to the boat. As the group climbed aboard we found a beautiful lunch waiting for us on deck prepared by the crew! Once we’d eaten our fill, it was on to our next destination for some snorkelling. The Whitsunday Islands are situated on the Great Barrier Reef, making them the perfect location for snorkelling. I’ve snorkelled a few times before on holiday but nothing compared to the Great Barrier Reef! The colours of the coral were out of this world and there were so many different types of fish, some over a meter long!

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DAY THREE

Our second morning we were all a little slower moving and a tad delicate. Everyone was in such high spirits the night before, and it being our last night in the $6 million dollar house, we decided we were going to have a good time!

 

Our second night started with drinks in the main house and finished by the pool!

Our final day was spent out in the clear blue ocean snorkelling again. We pulled the boat up to Langford Island, a place well known for turtles and dove in. Within minutes an eagle-eyed person in the the group spotted a turtle chilling on the coral bed below us. It was so camouflaged I almost missed it! Now that I knew what to look for, I couldn’t stop seeing them!

The turtles have to surface every couple of minutes to gulp some air. I was snorkelling a little away from the group admiring the coral when up popped a turtle beside me! It just lazily glided along passed me on its way up to catch a breath! I was raging Darren had he go-pro but luckily my friend Katie managed to nab a quick picture before he swam away.

His fin hit my face as he swam by me!

Snorkelling was definitely the highlight of the trip for me, I would 100% recommend booking a trip that includes it. Ride to Paradise includes it all: five star treatment in a beautiful resort, Whitehaven Beach and a trip around the islands, and two days snorkelling. For most people, a trip to the Whitsundays is a once in a lifetime experience, so why not do it in style?! For more information on Ride to Paradise and the Whitsundays, visit Red Cat Adventures here.

In case you’re not quite convinced yet, here’s some more pics to get you booking!

All the ladies – definitely not just a trip for the girls though, Ride to Paradise caters to girls’ holiday, groups of lads and couples.

 

The main room of the house.

 

How clear is that water though?!

 

Gotta get a pic with this iconic sign.

 

The sand is so white it makes everyone look ten times more tanned!

 

Making him stand awkwardly so I can take his picture.

 

If you have an underwater camera or go-pro it's a great idea to take one along!

If you have an underwater camera or go-pro it’s a great idea to take one along!

 

Snorkelling selfies are the best selfies.

 

This one’s going in a frame!

 

Life is always better in a hammock.

 

“Take a picture of my back!!”

 

That sand!

 

I think every girl who visits the Whitsundays takes this picture.

 

Paradise.

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Keelin Riley

Keelin is an Irish travel writer with a degree in journalism and a background in the Irish media. Based in Sydney, Australia she loves to blog about all things travel-related specialising in budget travel, ethical travel and off-the-beaten-track itineraries!

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