We were in the Whitsundays for a few days. The Whitsundays are an archipelago made up of 74 islands off the cost of Queensland. We had moved further north away from the bad weather into the sun.
Saturday 21st February – Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach was so pleased to see us arrive that they arranged a fireworks display for us. Our hotel was right next to the lagoon so we headed straight for a dip before the show. The lagoon is provided because despite the name the beaches in Airlie beach aren’t that great. Instead they have a large swimming pool that is open to everyone throughout the day. We had post swim fish and chips on the edge of the lagoon while watching the fireworks. The fireworks were very early, only 30mins after sunset but from our vantage with our backs to the recently set sun they were still a good display.
As it was Saturday night and we didn’t need to be up especially early on Sunday we took the opportunity to head out on the town. Airlie Beach is a big backpacker area with several large sprawling hostels and many bars to accompany them. The bars all had big outdoor areas with bands playing and were full of a mix of backpackers and stag-do / hen-do weekend away style party goers. The evening was very warm and in the outdoor bars we were sweating away and in need of refreshment. Perhaps a little too much refreshment later (for Rich mainly) and somehow we ended up on the fringe of a wet t-shirt competition being held in the bar. At this point we decided we should leave the backpackers to it so headed to bed.
Sunday 22nd February – Whitehaven beach
After a morning including a run (a very hot and muggy run!), a swim and doing our laundry, we headed for an afternoon trip to Whitehaven beach. This is the star beach of the Whitsundays as it has very fine soft sand and sweeps around a wide bay. The trip out also gave us chance to cruise through the Whitsunday islands themselves as we were staying on the mainland so had not yet seen them.
As the water around Whitehaven beach is a common place to find jellyfish we donned some very attractive stinger suits and headed for a dip. The advantage of the suits was that we wouldn’t get stung or burnt but we did feel a bit daft wearing them. Better safe than sorry in any case. After the swim we lay on the beach enjoying the sun that was a welcome change from our recent weather.
Our evening was to be a quiet one due to an early start the next morning. We found a restaurant that provided kangaroo and crocodile so decided to sample these to get the taste of Australia. The kangaroo was a bit chewy but a tasty gamey meat. Crocodile was our preference and was like a tougher tuna steak. Both well worth sampling as was the steak we tried. We went to bed full of BBQ and feeling a bit more Australian.
Monday 23rd & Tuesday 24th February – Great Barrier Reef
Our early start was for another trip, this time an overnight on the Great Barrier Reef. We are going to create a dedicated post for this trip so look out for that appearing soon.
On our return from the reef we wanted to enjoy our final night in Airlie Beach. We made the most of it by once again doing some laundry and having a run/swim. Doing an evening run this time was much more agreeable. When we ran the other morning Rich was struggling from the off and ended up walking considerable amounts of the 3 miles (Vicki – Rich blames the weather, I think it was all the beers!). This time round we found the gentle sea breeze cooling enough to do our 3 miles at a steady pace. We also enjoyed the route a lot more heading down a bicentenary boardwalk along the coast. We passed through a couple of marinas and parks in the dusk light. Vicki nearly jumped in the sea though when we encountered a rather large bat leaving its tree.
As we geared up to leave Airlie beach Vicki would quite happily have stayed longer. She was quite content with the relaxing by the lagoon and running along the coast. Our stay here seemed to be over very quickly as we had been busy with trips. It is always good to have a few relaxing days however we had to get back to the cities for more Aussie exploration.