Trip Start Oct 22, 2009
39Trip End Dec 08, 2009
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Sunday, November 22nd
I took the Greyhound from Townsville mid-morning. During the journey, I managed to spot two kangaroos taking shade from the sun under a tree. My first sighting of this breed whilst over here. Arriving into Airlie Beach just after 15:00, I made my way to my hotel for the next 3 nights.
The hotel is great, with a top pool. My room has a dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer – but more importantly has a balcony, a giant spa bath and all three channels of Fox Sports (I will be able to watch the Bolton vs Blackburn game)
I dumped my bags and headed out for Cannonvale, home to the nearest supermarket at the Whitsunday Shopping Centre to stock up on provisions for the next few days. The hour walk to Cannonvale crisscrossed the coast and took me through Abel Point marina. Once at Coles’ supermarket at the shopping centre, I managed to procure some Red Bull to assist in keeping me awake to watch the Bolton game…
Monday, November 23rd
In between sleep and general disillusion (which wasn't due to the Red Bull), I managed to catch about 30 minutes of the Bolton game – which was being beamed live into my hotel room just past midnight courtesy of Fox Sports 2. 30 minutes was 30 minutes too long (abysmal was a good adjective to use Michael - completely agree!) and Blackburn were comfortable 2-0 winners. Another relegation battle is on the cards and for the first time I wonder if the club and supporters have the appetite to overcome this one. Things are not well at Bolton.
After some proper sleep, the rest of the day was generally spent lazing by the pool, reading a couple of books ('Confessions of an Advertising Man' by David Ogilvy and 'A Week at The Airport' by Alain Botton) and managing to sunburn the back of my legs
Tuesday, November 24th
I spent today relaxing at the iconic and beautiful Whitsunday Islands, a collection of 74 tropical coral islands formed just after the last Ice Age.
I headed out to the islands on a sea-plane with an American couple, Chris (from Utah) and Amanda (from California). It was the first time I have travelled in such a form of transport – and it was a little disconcerting essentially ditching into the sea alongside Whitsunday Island for a few hours R&R on the white silica sand of Whitehaven Beach (the ditching into the sea was the slightly disconcerting experience here – not the lazing around on a white sanded beach!).
Whitehaven Beach is regarded by many Australians as one of the country’s best beaches. Flying over it, viewing it with the Hill Inlet definitely backed up this viewpoint – as did experiencing it on foot
After a few hours on Whitehaven Beach, we boarded the plane again (taking off on water is quite an experience – rather bumpy too!) to do a few circles of the islands and take in Hamilton Island, home to the world’s best job (a innovative and I’m sure successful marketing campaign to promote the island and the broader region). Hamilton Island is probably the most commercial of the islands, complete with high-rise hotel and airport (a runway and a small hut that is!).
Heading back to Whitsunday airport, with Chris now in his element in the cockpit alongside the pilot, we flew across the Airlie Beach coastline (which would have provided some good pictures without us bumping through various pockets of air!) and a few minutes later were once again on terra firma. Chris and Amanda kindly offered me a lift in their 'Jucy Rental’ camper van and dropped me off at the hotel.
I’ll be heading down to Brisbane later on today on an epic (in length at least!) and final Greyhound journey. I may have a shave beforehand, as my stubble now resembles more of a beard. Then again, I may just leave it a couple more days as I understand it is obligatory to grow facial hair (and thus connect with nature!) whilst travelling.