13.12.16 – 16.12.16
After travelling on the coach overnight – in order to save money on accommodation – and only getting minimum sleep, our first afternoon in Airlie Beach was rather unexciting. It was spent sleeping, shopping for food and exploring the neighbourhood – so nothing that required too much energy.
Our Air BnB accommodation, however, made up for our slightly unexciting day.We were staying in an old and incomplete renovation, which used to be a pie factory.
Just think about that for a second…
Our bedroom floor was concrete, the kitchen opened onto the garden and the bathroom was outside. So it’s not surprising really when I say that lizards were everywhere, toads joined me in the shower and mosquitos really did not understand personal space.
However, our next day in Whitsundays, made up for our rather boring introduction.
Before arriving in Australia, we decided on three main activities we wanted to do and one of them was Ocean Rafting.
Our day consisted of going on a speed boat, as shown above, past just some of the seventy-four beautiful islands that Whitsundays has to offer. We were able to explore on foot and swim in the sea, but the advertised highlight of the trip was snorkelling.
But, with most things, this did not go exactly to plan.
Our day began with bad news: We were informed that due to a four metre tide the night before, meaning that there would be very low visibility in the water. But, rather naively, we were determined to stay optimistic and did not allow this to dampen our moods.
However, when the time eventually came to snorkel everything – as expected – slowly went wrong.
Firstly, my mask leaked and fogged up – which is not particularly ideal when you are required to hold your head underwater. Slightly frustrated, I tried to take a break on the beach, but due to wearing flippers that must have been close to a size 18 shoe, I was unable to stand and instead clumsily stumbled around looking like a drunken clown.
The tide, as expected, played a huge part in our disappointing snorkelling experience.
We both travelled out with very high expectations, thinking we would dunk our heads and be immersed in a tropical underwater paradise. However, what awaited us was very different.
If you were to imagine staring into a murky glass of water full of sand – you would not be far off. In total, I think I saw three fish … and none of them were particularly exciting. After around forty minutes in the water, we emerged our heads feeling defeated and disappointed. But after realising we had drifted, and were continuing to drift, around 200 meters from the boat, our snorkelling experience did not get much better.
Although on paper it doesn’t seem far, trying to swim against the tide was very tiring and completely pointless. But thankfully and rather humiliatingly, one of the boat crew realised we were being swept away and picked us up.
However, putting this part of the trip aside, Whitsundays was stunning and contained some amazingly beautiful beaches.
Our favourite was Whitehaven beach where we stopped for lunch. But due to our very tight budget we were the only ones on the boat not to have the buffet. So whilst everyone else enjoyed a huge spread, we sat on the beach eating our deliciously warm and squashed cheese sandwiches.
Our last stop of the day was a short walk up a viewpoint, and it did not disappoint. The view was stunning, and the array of colours was breath taking.
After absorbing the views, we headed back to the boat. But due to tides we had to wade out in the warm, crystal water, where we were lucky enough to see multiple stingrays and even a lemon shark!
The boat trip home consisted of being given free cake before being chucked around on a ‘James Bond’ style getaway – which on a stomach full of food seemed only logical.
Today we walked into the centre of Airlie Beach via the coast.
The centre itself, although small, was quirky and had everything that you could need.
Naturally, we headed straight to the beach, but due to jellyfish it was completely deserted. So, like everyone else, we headed to the nearby lagoon and swam to cool off before heading back home.
16.12.16 – AIRLIE BEACH TO CAIRNS
Today we left Airlie Beach and headed to Newell Beach for our work away at Executive Retreats.
However, despite seeming close on the map, we travelled some serious miles.
First we caught a greyhound bus in the morning to Cairns, where we had views like this:
From there we had to catch a taxi to Cairns Airport, next a shuttle bus to Port Douglas and finally our work away host drove us to our apartment in Newell Beach.
We started our journey around 9am and our heads didn’t hit the pillow in Newell Beach until 2am – so it was quite a long day!
Yet undefeated, exhausted and slightly baffled, we started work the next day.