Whitsunday Island, Queensland- Australia
The five kilometre scimitar of pure white sand that is Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island National Park has been described as a “silica masterpiece”. The beach is populated mostly by turtles, gulls, dolphins and swifts. It’s the sort of place from which literature is wrought be it Mills and Boon or Robinson Crusoe. Here you can swim in sky-blue waters, or wan¬der for hours down the beach’s pearly curve until you come upon a stream from which you’ll swear you’re the first person to ever drink. You’re not: Captain James Cook sighted and named this island in 1770 — and he was still millennia behind the mainland aborigines.
Whitsunday’s natural history is re¬corded in its complex ecology of man¬groves, reefs and rainforest — little has actually been written of the human events that have occured here. In 1878 a ship called the Louise Marie put ashore for wa¬ter, but was attacked and burned by na¬tive people. The cook was lost and, it is said, eaten. A decade later, John Withnall and his family settled at Cid Harbour on the eastern side of the island and founded a sawmill which employed many Aborigi¬nes, including the alleged consumer of the Louise Marie’s cook.
These days you can camp beneath the magnificent oaks of Whitehaven Beach and not worry about such events, or much else at all.
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