Adventure Highlining in the Whitsunday Islands
I grew up in Mackay, a town about an hour and a half drive south of Airlie Beach, before moving my life to the Gold Coast after I finished my carpentry apprenticeship. I lived on the Gold Coast for about seven years, and it was there where I fell in love with adventure and photography. I moved to Airlie Beach about two and a half years ago and after not visiting this little slice of paradise for almost seven years, it's great to be back and see so many remarkable changes.
The Whitsundays is such a unique and beautiful spot with so much to offer. We have the most beautiful beach in the world, insane snorkelling spots and such a diverse range of marine life. If you have access to a boat there are endless islands and reefs to explore, and a fantastic array of hikes and waterfalls just a short drive from town. I'm a massive fan of escaping the hustle and bustle, and there's always a spot you can go where you feel entirely alone and one with nature.
The adventure sports came into it via one of my new closest mates Tristan, after I saw a photo of him on a highline and thought to myself, I need to photograph that. I contacted him and the rest is history. Our first highline mission was out to Whitsunday Island, where I wanted to take some shots of him doing his thing. I let Tristan the "Jedi Master" walk the line while I took the shots, but I'm a massive believer in putting the experience first. Not long after we arrived, he pushed me out on the line, which I had no intention of doing, and now I’m hooked.
After overcoming the mental barriers from the fact it’s actually borderline bat-shit crazy, it's quite a beautiful experience that you can't get anywhere else.
With any high line mission, gear is extremely important. If you forget one piece of the puzzle, the whole thing won't happen. Everything has been tested and rated to international standards, and it's all about trusting your gear and overcoming that fear of ‘What if?’. There’s a very high level of safety and expertise that goes into this sport. Everything is checked twice and has a backup in case something fails. Being relatively new to the whole island-hopping thing, I've come to learn that weather is also a massive part of planning a trip out to the islands. If you're travelling via boat, depending on the size, it's essential to take into account what the weather is doing.
I love to take images that make you feel small in comparison to the landscape, and highlining in a beautiful location makes you feel tiny. I very rarely have shot lists when I'm exploring and like to let it happen naturally in order to capture those moments that feel entirely unnatural. My camera goes on every mission with me and I'd feel lost without it! It was a love for nature which initially drew me to adventure and photography - something that I think everyone in this community shares. Everyone respects nature and does all they can to reduce their impact. We always make sure tree protection is used to ensure no damage is done and remember to take with us everything we brought.
The possibilities for adventure are endless here in the Whitsunday Islands, whether its land-based or ocean sports you're chasing. Be sure to plan before coming, get an idea of what you want to experience and do some research on how to make it happen. If you're unsure don't hesitate to reach out and I’d be more than happy to point you in the right direction.
Words and photography by Chris Leverington