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April 27th 2016
Published: April 28th 2016
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AIRLIE BEACH - 13th March

The main attraction of Airlie Beach are the nearby Whitsunday Islands and it the gateway for people on the Cruise ships to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Airlie Beach is on the Coral Sea, as are the Whitsunday Islands and it has a tropical climate.

Since we were here in 2014, there has been considerable investment in the Cruise terminal area. This is a tender port for Cruise ships so getting people ashore has to be slick and there are lots of ferries to go to the neighbouring islands.

We landed at the newer terminal and a short shuttle ride dropped us off in the main town centre.

The area is dependent on tourism and all these new improved facilities will attract more visitors. More yachts and boats now visit this area particularly because of the new marina.

There is little of historical interest or architecture here, we found out on a tour in 2014 that few buildings are little more than 35 years old.

So the main attractions are the Reef, Islands and Whitehaven Beach. So really the pictures say it all.

DARWIN - 17th March

This is the "Top End" of Australia and is the chief port of the Northern Territory.

The history of Darwin is quite short as a modern settlement. Huge cattle stations and a gold rush put the town on the map, but when these petered out it was deemed to be the back of beyond.

During WWII, Darwin was bombed because of the Allied conflict with Singapore and Hong Kong. The worst disaster to hit Darwin came in 1974 when cyclone Tracy hit. Some 90% of buildings were destroyed and more than 3000had to evacuated in the largest airlift in Australian history.

Consequently there are more newer buildings than old, some older building have been preserved like The Old Town Hall and Browns Mart has been restored.

We were here on St Patrick's Day, my first pint of Guinness since leaving UK in January (sorry James) but drinking it in 38 degree heat was most welcome. It was ice cold!!!

I think the heat got to everyone during the day and the afternoon rain was welcome as we made it back to the ship. Not really much to see unless you wanted to spend time riding out to the National Parks.

The war memorials were on the Promenade and an easy walk before heading back to the air conditioned malls.

Just an aside about the heat, the girl that served my Guinness had been in Darwin for 4 years and still wasn't used to the heat.

Enough said!!!!

Additional photos below
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29th April 2016

Never made it to Darwin or Cairns so need to go back. Absolutely loved Whit Sunday islands and have to say the best beaches we've come across in the world so always good to go back - maybe next year!

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