Published: December 8th 2011December 8th 2011
Moving south to avoid the wet season we ventured into the outback on single track roads trying to avoid being mown down by the road trains, which at over 50 metres long travelling at 100kmph own the road and delight in terrifying the unwary tourist van. Kangaroos, Kookaburras, huge insects, baking heat,dust and humidity told us that this was the real Australia, so we headed straight back to the comfort of a beach resort at Airlie. Liz had talked up the Whitsunday islands as a once in a lifetime experience and to be honest it was. The weather was great, sailing on the racing yacht with a small group, snorkelling on the barrier reef, walking through the rainforest was worth the whole trip alone. There was the downside of sleeping on a 2 foot wide bed three feet away from the only toilet shared by 14 people and a skipper who started the engine right next to you at 6am. None of this could detract from the beauty of the landscapes around us. As a kid I used to watch “the undersea world of Jacques Cousteau” (I always remember him saying “Falco and I took the Calypso and dived into the
reef” etc.) and then we would see all these amazing corals, turtles and fish etc. Well it really was just like Jacques and Falco had shown me.
Our next move south took us to the turtle conservation beach at Mons Repos where late at night we watched with our guide as a 100kg loggerhead struggled up the beach, laid around 150 golf balls into a 3ft deep hole she scraped then filled in and the went back into the ocean. What the turtle didn’t see was that we then dug up her eggs as they had been laid below the storm surge line and had to be re-buried some metres further up the beach.
Next day we returned to Hervey bay and took a 4x4 onto the Fraser Island which is a giant sand dune covered in rainforest. Camping in a tent reminded me I am getting to old for lying on the ground but it was in a large part compensated for by the incredible noise and activity from bats, insects, frogs and god knows what as we lay zipped up tight, too scared to stick our heads out before dawn. The 3 day trip was made
more entertaining with the discovery of a flat tyre one morning. Well you try changing the wheel on an unfamiliar 2 tonne vehicle in sand! After 3 days of sand, sweat and salt we returned to Hervey bay, had a decent shower and then had an excellent evening having dinner with David (dentist) and Jane who have two lovely dogs and that fot us homesick to see our Branston. Next stop for us is Brisbane and then the gold coast and further south.
There are more photos below