Sailing, Swimming, Snorkelling, Sand & Sunsets

Trip Start Nov 05, 2002
Trip End Aug 13, 2003

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Saturday, April 12, 2003

Hello again!
So with heavy hearts we moved on from Townsville and headed south to Airlie Beach to board a boat for a 3 day, 2 night sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands. A must do trip on any itinerary the trip was worth it alone for the walk on Whitehaven beach, the crown jewel of the Whitsunday Islands. It's very hard to try explain how beautiful this place was; best just to look at the pictures attached to this travelogue entry! It'll be hard to shake the memory of playing Frisbee on the white sands of Whitehaven beach.
For the trip we shared our boat, the Tallarook III, with about 8 other travellers, the majority of them, surprise surprise, Irish! The snorkelling around the Whitsunday's was better than on the Great Barrier Reef due to the calm, warmer waters of the sheltered bays we visited and the clearer conditions of the shallower water in general.
With the sailing trip over we returned to Airlie Beach and spent the night in the beautiful van park outside the town. The next morning we hit the road, or at least attempted to. We noticed that Syd, even after his little rest while we were on the Whitsunday sailing trip, was sick! He was drinking too much oil. After a quick visit to a local road-side mechanic we were advised to keep Syd's oil level topped up regularly to ensure he doesn't seize up! I suppose at 22 years old he needs a bit of extra TLC and with the freedom he was giving us we were more than happy to oblige.
So a few litres of oil later we left Airlie Beach for the Pioneer Valley, just west inland from Mackay. A nice quiet area, we spent the night in Finch Hatton, a real old fashioned Oz town, complete with a XXXX tattooed bar, restaurants with kangaroo and Crocodile on the menu and and over talkative bar owner! We walked to, and swan in, the wheel of fire falls pool in Finch Hatton gorge but only for as long as we could tolerate the intense cold of the water. We also paid a visit to the Illawong Wildlife sanctuary and had a go at kangaroo feeding, although B was attacked by an over hungry/anxious kangaroo which wasn't very pleasant for her. After our time in the Pioneer Valley was up we continued south down the coast on-route to Rainbow Beach, where we were to embark on a trip to the Worlds biggest sand Island, Fraser Island.
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