Airlee Beach and the Whitsundays

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Oceania » Australia
October 31st 2011
Published: November 1st 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

Our hotel (Best Western Mango House!) is lovely! Described as a small studio, it is plenty big enough with a balcony and walls like louvre windows so that you can open it all up to the air and light if you wish! We walked into Airlee Beach (20 minute walk!) and had a wander around what must be a backpackers paradise! It’s a really pretty place with a lovely lagoon and grass front area and lined with shops, bars and restaurants behind. Had a drink at the sailing club and then walked back to hotel where Pam (the owner!) was going to give me a lesson in snorkelling!
The lesson went well – still not 100% confident in deep water but will persevere and keep practising!!
The next day we walked to the jetty, via the market on the waterfront, and took the Whitsunday Island Hopper to South Molle Island. Fantastic weather – cloud and sun – just right for walking around the island! Watched some enormous fish being fed in the sea before setting off, on what is proclaimed to be, Queensland best walk to Spion Kop (2.2kms) , which means in Afrikaan ‘Lookout Hill’. Spectacular views of the Whitsunday islands most of the way as the path wended its way upwards through rainforest and grasslands and past an old aboriginal quarry to the summit! Walked then the 2.8 kms to Mt Jeffreys,( passing some very tame Stone Curlews crouching in the undergrowth,) the highest point on South Molle island affording 360 degree views. Back down and a short scramble up some steps to Balancing Rock, which is exactly what it was – a huge balanced rock! No idea how it managed to get there!! Walked back down the track, spotted a kookaburra sitting on a branch cackling away and then back down to the jetty and caught the 12.45 boat to Daydream Island.
Daydream Island is a much smaller island with a Resort. Its a completely hedonistic island with lots of swimming pools surrounded by sun loungers and palm trees, tables and chairs, bars and restaurants, spas, boardwalks, golf buggys, lagoon pool with shark and coral fish, cocktail and champagne bars, wedding chapel, giant chess, mini golf....etc.....etc...!
We spent the afternoon by the pool at Sunset Beach and walked back to the jetty via the 20 minute rainforest walk that goes over the top of the island, interrupting a large goanna that was crossing the path!
Watched the sunset over the islands on the way back to Airlee Beach and then had something to eat before bus back to the hotel!
Had a restful day on the Sunday! Caught the bus to Shute Harbour, about 7kms away – not a lot there, basically just a harbour for boat trips to the Whitsundays! However we did have a delicious steak burger in the little cafe for our lunch before getting the bus back, where we lazed around the pool all afternoon! Bought some steak in the supermarket and had a BBQ at the poolside for our dinner.
Monday we had another full day trip to the Whitsundays (Whitehaven Express) Picked up at 08.15 and transferred to the boat before leaving at 09.00am. Cruised out to the Whitsundays and transferred (in relays!) on a smaller boat to a coral beach where we all walked for 10 minutes up to the lookout point! A totally amazing view! Swirling sands and different shades of turquoise water, dotted with stingrays, making a truly amazing spectacle! Pictures taken, we all trooped back down to the beach and were relayed back to our boat! We then cruised the entire length of Whitehaven beach, about 3kms, before stopping for lunch at the far end of the beach!
A superb lunch of BBQ steak, burger, sausage, salad and rice, followed by fresh fruit salad, watched avidly by the seagulls, goannas and crows! Had about 2hrs altogether on the beach – the sand is so fine that even though it was a really hot day, the sand stays cool (how does that work??) It is the consistency of icing sugar and is really good for cleaning gold and polishing your fingernails!!
Back on to the boat and the skipper said he had a surprise for us.......we thought it may be turtles, but no, he whistled for a few moments and out of the skies appeared two white sea eagles who eagerly snatched at the steak and sausages that were thrown into the air for them! Brilliant!
Off to Maureens cove next for snorkelling! I did manage to get all the gear on and get into the (very deep!) water and put my head under water and see some fish! Didn’t like it though so got back on the boat and went in the glass bottomed boat, where we saw some fantastic fish very clearly in the sunlight and a huge Wrasse fish came up out of the water to be fed! The coral actually seemed better here than Cairns but it could be because it was clearer today! And we also saw a turtle!
Back on the boat, cheese and biscuits and headed back to Airlee Beach, getting back to the hotel about 6.00pm.
The next day was Melbourne Cup Day so after catching the bus in the morning to the Centro (where we nearly bought a new camera –buy one get one free offer!!) we then caught the bus back to Jubilee Tavern. We had already placed our bets on Betfair and booked a buffet meal with champagne at 30$ per head so it was just a case of soaking up the atmosphere and watching everyone arrive with their posh frocks and fascinators! A bit like the Ascot!
Anyway, luck was with us and our horse came first!! A photo finish so quite a relief when it was announced the winner as I had a £5.00 win on and Chris had a £10.00 win, so at 7-1 we did ok!! Back to the apartment for laundry, sewing and packing ready for the two planes tomorrow am to Sydney.

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20th November 2011

Again, brings back a lot of memories! Glad you are enjoying Australia!

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