With the sale of Winifred complete we flew north from Brisbane to meet up with some family friends in the Whitsundays.
Once home to the Ngaro and Gia People the collection of over seventy islands is now one of Queenslands major tourist destinations. With the opportunity to loose yourself aboard a yacht for a few days while exploring some of the major islands the area attracts tourists from all over the globe.
Due to this influx of people searching for paradise there is a huge industry dedicated to ensuring holiday makers are well looked after. Our friends had chartered a motor cat for the week and had kindly invited us along for seven days of diving, fishing and relaxing before we left Australia for pastures new in New Zealand.
Popular with both backpackers and holiday makers Proserpine and Airlie Beach play host to travellers making their way to and from the islands, we found Airlie to be a little depressing although it was undergoing some renovations during our stay so don’t be out off by our poor review after a somewhat limited exposure.
From what we saw the main street was made up of clothing stores (rather over priced and tourist focused) backpackers bars, nightclubs and restaurants however with a number of all inclusive resorts littered around the town for some there may be no need to venture this far into civilisation.
For those in search of an island paradise Hamilton, Haymen and Long island boast five star resorts that cater to your every whim and there are a number of yacht brokers offering both skippered and bare boat charters.
Leaving Abel Point Marina we made our way north towards Hook Island, the winds were such that we would anchor on a marine buoy in one of the bays on the western side and we were keen to get the boat moored up and our dive gear on.
Over the course of the week we explored the coast of the three largest islands in the chain, Hook, Hamilton and Whitsunday. While the diving was nothing compared to the gin clear waters of the coral sea it was an excuse to get our heads under the water and explore another marine environment.
Highlights of the trip include dolphins swimming along side the boat, huge schools of Bat fish and Travaley cruising by while we snorkelled, and a champagne picnic on Whitehaven Beach.
Known for its year round pristine white sands the beach is made up of 98% pure silica which is unaffected by the sun and therefore cool to the touch even on the hottest summer day. Its not known exactly why there is such a high percentage of silica as none of the surrounding rocks contain any in their composition however it has been suggested that the sands were brought to the beach by prevailing sea currents over millions of years.
With the sun high in the sky and a glass of cold fizz in my hand I have to admit this scientific anomaly was not at the forefront of my mind.
With our time in Australia at an end it seems an impossible task to reflect on our adventures of the past eleven months. We have visited five of the six states, swam with dolphins, sailed across the Arafura Sea, dived the Great Barrier Reef, driven the Great Ocean Road, fossicked for Gold, visited countless national parks and travelled over 25,000km.
What is your favourite place in Australia? Share your Aussie experiences with us below.