To Down Under and Back Over travel blog

Chilling at Airlie Beach's Lagoon for the afternoon after long night ont...

Airlie Beach's Lagoon

Ocean Rafting boat that went out with us (this one had a...

Getting ready for a bumpy ride at the back!

Mooring at Hook Island to look at Aborginal Artwork in the caves

Us on Hook Island

Ready for snorkelling, what a lovely lycra stinger suit!

Ready for snorkelling, what a lovely lycra stinger suit!

Relaxing in the water after a massive lunch and a game of...

Whitehaven Beach....pure haven!


The overnight bus that took us from Cairns to Airlie Beach arrived bang on time at midday, although an overnight 11 hour bus ride sounded at the beginning quiet a nightmare, it wasn't that bad as we got quite a bit of sleep during the night and were only really awake during from 7am which there was plenty to do and pitstops and the driver had his own brand of comedy o keep us entertained. We checked into our hostel and had a little nose around Airlee Beach. We both had a good feel for the place, although quite small, it had a real holiday/backpacker/party atmosphere and the weather was really good for the 2 days we were there. We chilled out by a lagoon for the afternoon and although it was very busy, it was so relaxing after our night journey. A cheeky beer and cheap pizzas were on the menu in Magnums while the cricket was on and after that a night on the town in some decent bars, both getting a taste for the Tooheys and Carlton beers. A club later on had a wet t-shirt competition and thought it would be rude not to lend some support so we stayed to the bitter end and how No 3 won I do not know as No 11 should have won by a mile!!!! (Sophy did not participate by the way!).

A really bright sun awoke us and we were off to the Whitsunday Islands. These are a national park situated off the coast of Airlie Beach and in total there are 74 Islands and are totally pituresque. Instead of going on an overnight sailing boat (3 days/2 nights) as was our original plans, we opted for the Ocean Rafting, as we did not have much time. This option certainly blew away any cobwebs from the previous night! These were powerful rafts with 2 big Yamaha Engines that were to prove to get the hearts racing. Our 2 guides ("Lane", who was a total boy racer and a total madman behind that wheel and the other cool dude was a Prince William lookalike called "Pete"). We set off first to Hook Island where we were shown around some Aboriginal caves by Wills and then off to Dumbell Island (yes it was worth the weight!!! hahah) for some snorkelling. This was the 4th time we had been in the water either with or without tanks and was by far the most amazing. There were so many fish down there, all different shapes and colours that we didn't want to come up to the surface. There were some call black and white zebra type fish (Scissortailed Sergants) and also these madly bright purple and pink ones (Swarthy Parrotfish!). While Sophy was taking a rest and floating at the top, Lane decided to throw some fish food in her direction and was promptly set upon by hundreds of fish, you could hear the squeeling from her snorkel in Sydney.... I swear.... and made me laugh that I swallowed loads of sea water. We then headed for Whitehaven Beach and many say is the best beach in Australia and many say in the top 5 in the world. It is the beach in the quantas adverts and when we got there we could see why, it was simply stunning and when we pulled into shore, we passed so many fish, a couple of turtles and a stingray. After lunch on the boat (we couldn't eat our lunch on the beach as the seagulls kept prowling over us!) we stepped onto the white beach and to our amazement, the sand squeeked!!!! Apparently this is because the sand had Silica in it?! A quick game of football between the tall Man Utd guy and Bowdeniho, went well before Sophy retired to the sunbathing while Paul had a quick lesson and kickaround on Aussie Rules. We headed back towards Airlie Beach through some more stunning scenery and felt a little sad to leave all this behind us. We caught the other Raft up near the harbour and then the 2 drivers decided have show who was top dog with some serious tricks which of course we won much to the dismay of the other boat, swerving in and out of their wake at god knows how fast! Just four hours before we had to go on our 2nd nightbus to Hervey Bay so just time for a quick beer and some cricket, shower and a McDonalds before boarding the bus which would arrive at our next destination 13 hours later!!! Hervey Bay for Fraser Island....



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