Airlie Beach & The Whitsundays


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Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Airlie Beach
January 13th 2010
Published: January 17th 2010
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13 January 2010 - 15 January 2010

TRANSPORT:
Cairns to Airlie Beach by bus (11hrs 5min)--A$130.85 (we booked a Cairns to Melbourne hop-on-hop-off pass for A$393)

ACCOMMODATION:
Magnum's Backpackers
Double, A/C, fan, shared bathroom--A$54
Huge resort complete with nightclub, restaurant and tour agency. Very rowdy and full of backpackers. Staff are pretty rude and security is very tight. A great place to meet people, but if you want somewhere maybe a bit more personal and quiet go elsewhere...in fact, do go elsewhere!

TOUR:
Whitsunday Tour with Big Fury
A$130
Great day trip to the Whitsundays on the fastest boat out there. Includes great snorkeling! Recommended!

We set off from Cairns nice and early and said goodbye to the good folk at JJ's to catch the 9am Greyhound to Airlie Beach, some 622km south of Cairns. The journey would take us exactly 11 hours and 5 mins (which is did...by the minute!). The journey was a scenic one, which is expected of Australia, taking us past acres and acres (or sq km's...whichever is the bigger!) of sugar cane fields! We passed through small towns and stopped for lunch at a tiny town called Cardwell on the coast.

As we left the wet north of Queensland we started entering the barren bush further south. Unsurprisingly we passed a couple of bush fires before stopping for dinner at a BP station in the middle of nowhere. Chicken nuggets and chips were in order with a milkshake and then coachloads of people looking like they were straight from the set of "The Hills Have Eyes" turned up! We doubt these 100 or so people were from the same family but really, they all looked the same!

As we left for the final leg of the long journey, the sun set and what better place to see it. Open bush, beautiful skies....it was serene, even from inside the Greyhound!

We arrived at Airlie Beach just after 8pm and walked the 3 minutes to Magnum's Backpackers, a huge resort and apparently THE place to stay! We checked in, complete with an unsmiling so-and-so who insisted we leave our passport AND credit card as a deposit. But then said we needed our passports for ID if we need to get into any bars! The credit card was also needed so we could draw money out. 15 minutes later we finally found our room amongst the maze of dorms.

That night sleep didn't come easy. No, it was pretty quiet where we were, but we found a couple of deadly Redback's in the bathroom and hence started to get paranoid. Well, we have wanted to be able to catch a glimpse of Australia's indigenous species whilst in the country. Not sure if a Redback counts but it'll do. Still no salties, roos or wallabies yet though! And gladly no box jellyfish or Irukandji's!!

The next day was a wonderfully hot Aussie summer's day in which we spent sunbathing and swimming in the lagoon.

The second day however wasn't as good. Of course it wasn't, we were heading on a day tour to the Whitsundays! The trip was great nonetheless. First we stopped off at the magnificently beautiful Whitehaven Beach where, gladly the weather cleared. A couple of hours spent here sunbathing and swimming (albeit in our stinger suits!) was great. We also managed to see two more of Australia's native species: the goana, and the nasty Irukandji! At least Dan thought it might be and we beat a hasty retreat out of the water. Back on the boat we
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a small town called Gordonvale
headed to another great spot for an hour's worth of snorkeling. Here we were supposed to spot loads of turtles. We were the only one's on the boat to manage to spot one, and it didn't seem in the slightest bit bothered by our presence. On the way back to Airlie Beach we saw two HUGE turtle in the middle of copulating in the water! What a sight!

So after a pretty good day, we now head out to Hervey Bay and Fraser Island tonight, on a 13 hour coach journey. We'll tell you all about it in the next blog!




Additional photos below
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Cairns to Airlie Beach

Small town petrol station-cum-general store-cum-post office....anything else?
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Cairns to Airlie Beach

Some more bush fires
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Cairns to Airlie Beach

An outback sunset
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Cairns to Airlie Beach

In the middle of nowhere just after The Hills Have Eyes cast arrived!
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Cairns to Airlie Beach

Aussie bus driver seem to like wearing their socks pulled up!
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Airlie Beach

A deadly redback
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Airlie Beach

Magnum's...best to avoid!


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