FIRST LOOK: Whitehaven Beach smashed by Cyclone Debbie
PARKS and wildlife work crews have started the task of restoring one of Queensland's tourism icons following the furious devastation of Cyclone Debbie.
Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island was in the eye of the storm last week with vegetation along the spectacular stretch of sand ripped to shreds.
However not all popular tourism spots were hit as hard with the first aerial shots taken following Cyclone Debbie showing that Hill Inlet and many other iconic reef locations seem to be intact and looking as good as ever.>> READ: A bird's eye view of the Whitsunday islands and reef reveals that not everything in the region was tarnished by the devastation of Cyclone Debbie last week.>> READ: A bird's eye view of the Whitsunday islands and reef reveals that not everything in the region was tarnished by the devastation of Cyclone Debbie last week.
The iconic beach is a regular entry in lists of the world's best beaches and draws thousands of tourists each year, but it, like much of the region, copped the full brunt of the cyclone.
Piles of uprooted trees now line the shoreline, while much of the brilliant white sand has also been lost. Repair crews have now arrived on the island to start the task of restoring the beach to its pristine glory, but it is feared that it will take years for the evidence of the cyclone to disappear.
The clean-up of Whitehaven Beach and Whitsunday Island will continue by parks and wildlife crews.
Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles said it was important to return the beach to its spectacular self.
"It is often cited as the best beach in Australia and one of the top 20 beaches in the world ... so it's vitally important we get it cleaned up as a priority," he said.
"(But) our experience is that nature and natural ecosystems are resilient and can bounce back from environmental disturbances."