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A 12 hour drive, Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays

Who was complaining about the weather?!

sunny 30 °C
View Brisbane to Cairns on LaurenSho's travel map.

12 hours is a looooooooong time to get to somewhere, but doing it in a car is so much better than on the bus!
We left at 8.15am, and drove all day to arrive in Airlie Beach at the hostel pretty much exactly 12 hours after we left, it was a mostly uneventful drive (extremely uneventful - these are such long and boring roads, one lane each way) and we had to survive on greasy trucker food, the only stops were garages and such along the way. It makes you realise how huge this country is though, everything is few and far between!

The last few hours in the dark were the least fun, we got a whole bunch of rain and it made the roads quite hard to see, but on the up side we stuck religiously to the speed limit so no more speeding tickets!
The only place open for food when we arrived was Dominoes pizza, so we finished the day with some more greasy food, yum...

The next day all we had to do was check in for our sailing trip, so we spend some time exploring the town (it's pretty small, and definitely seems like a but of a party town even during the day), and you can't swim in the sea because of stingers (jellyfish) and sharks so they have a man made lagoon you can swim in. We lazed about at the lagoon for a bit as the weather had definitely got a LOT better, and did a little shopping (new bag, yasss!).
In the evening we had some tasty thai food then some drinks in the backpacker bar Beaches where we made friends with some locals and got the offer to go on a boat in pyjamas on Saturday for the annual fun boat race. Gutted, but we had to turn that offer down because of our tight time schedule. Next time though!

Next day we were up bright and early to catch our sailing maxi yacht that was going to take us round the Whitsunday islands, the Siska, and our crew of Tane, Nelson and Sobi. The Whitsundays are absolutely amazing - and we were super lucky that the weather just got better and better over the next 2 days, goodbye rain!

Day 1 started at Abel Point Marina, and we went straight out to a snorkelling site, Luncheon Bay, and snorkelled around the coral reefs there - we saw hundreds of fish, and the coral is the most amazing colours, it even comes in bright blue and purple!
After some lunch back on the Siska, we were taken to Langford Reef, a sandback that just seems to pop out of nowhere in the middle of the sea, and surrounded by all the islands. We had a walk along, and did some more snorkelling - there's turtles around there but we didn't see any under water, just from the boat, boo!
We spent quite a while there, then sailed over to our mooring for the evening, Nara Inlet beside Hook Island - it's pretty weird sleeping on a boat, we had tiny little cabin holes in the sides to sleep in (but we'll be staying in a similar style bunk in Japan, so it was good practice.

Next day we were woken up really early (early mornings seem to be a theme of this trip!) by the anchor being lifted and the boat moving off, and the first stop was Whitehaven Beach - AMAZING!!!
I want to say it was like a tropical desert island, but that's exactly what it is! And by this point, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, it was just incredible. Very very hot though! There's also stingrays here, so we saw a couple float by us in the water which was pretty cool, and loads of fish again. We spent the whole morning there, and could've spent longer it was so gorgeous.
The rest of the day we just hung out on the boat as it takes a while to get back to the marina, and we didn't had much wind so spent a while trying to sail - Shona was even steering the boat for a while!
It was so hot and sunny, google tells me the temperature while we were at Whitehaven and sailing back was 27 degrees, but it didn't feel like that on the boat because of the wind, so we both got a little pink, but Shona's suffering a little more (because I'm so pale I panic and always overload on suncream!).

We're also now one team member down, Shona'a camera had an accident in the waterproof bag when we were trying to get stingray pics...the bag stopped being so waterproof for a while and the camera died - but we did manage to save the pictures!

We headed off to Townsville after the boat, our overnight stop on the way to Mission Beach AND WE RAN OVER A SNAKE ON THE ROAD! It was pretty big, but because of the low sun we didn't see it until it was too late, eeek.
Shona's never gonna get to come back here, with all the traffic offences and killing of wildlife! Luckily we've seen no Kangoroos jumping in front of the car yet, despite all the warnings about that from the Aussies.

We're now in Mission Beach, at our amazing treehouse hostel in the middle of the rainforest, it's really really really really really hot here - around 30 degrees, wow!
Rafting on the Tully tomorrow morning, can't wait, and I'm being bitten to pieces by a weird fly right now so off to drown myself in some bug spray!

No more pics yet either, for some reason the last few computers haven't liked trying to upload them, sorry, but you'll just have to wait till we get home.

- Lauren

Posted by LaurenSho 21:47 Archived in Australia

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Loving your adventures, It's wonderful that everyone can share your trip with you, The Aussie tourist board should give you a job with them
I can't thank you enough for sharing, Love you

by Aunt June

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