We have been back from Queensland for a week and head back to UK in little over a week, so I think this will be my final missive.
We had a great time in Northern Queensland. The property we stayed in was magnificent and although a guest house with 5 letting rooms, for the first 3 (of 5) nights, we were the only occupants so had full use of a magnificent living area and pool as well as the massive suite at the top of the house with views out to the Whitsunday Islands. It was about 10minutes walk into Airlie Beach which had a good range of shops and restaurants all be it with a rather back packer vibe.
The weather was fine and hot but as we had half expected, strong winds were blowing and, hoping things would calm down as the week progressed, we deferred our boat booking for a day and spent our first day exploring Airlie Beach and it’s lovely waterfront walk. On the second day we took over our hire boat which was a 23ft metal hulled boat with a 150hp engine and a pilot house to get out of the spray. Fairly rough and ready but sturdy enough to do the job. However, a trip out to Hamilton Island would have probably consisted of a very uncomfortable 2 hr plus journey as the wind was still blowing strongly and the sea was pretty lumpy. We confined ourselves to exploring the bay’s up and down the immediate coast line and on the basis of the continuing bad forecast, sadly decide to cancel the subsequent 2 days boat hire.
The next day, we decided to take the ferry to Hamilton Island which is the main holiday Island of the Whitsunday’s with all levels of accommodation. The best way to travel round the Island is by hiring a golf buggy and here again we struck unlucky by coinciding our visit with that of a cruise ship. All the buggies had been pre booked and the few Island roads were choc a bloc with them. Also the courtesy buses were failing to pick people up from stops around the Island as they too were rammed. We manage to get on one but did not dare disembark as we would never have got back on another one. At one point our driver completely lost his temper with a family who had been standing in the heat for 40minutes having been refused entry to the 2 previous buses and were at a loss as to how to get back to their hotel. Not a lot the driver could do but he could certainly have handled it better, if only by telling them that it was probably only a 20minute walk back to the resort centre! Our trip to Hamilton Island was not a great success but we had a very nice lunch and enjoyed our ferry ride back to Airlie Beach.
A COUPLE OF HAMILTON ISLAND LOCALS.
The next day was a much greater success when we booked a 3hr private helicopter trip which firstly took us out over the Barrier reef to view it from the air and then came back to Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island. It is a 7km long white silica sand beach and is stunningly beautiful from both air and land. We landed on the beach and spent an hour and a half there walking and swimming. We had hired stinger suits to protect us from potential box jelly fish bites which can be fatal and always require rapid hospital treatment. Actually it was a fairly low risk time as they are at their most prevalent when the wind is from the North but the wind that was interfering with our boating fun was predominantly a south easterly. We felt it was better to be safe than sorry so donned the suits which had the added bonus of protecting from the fierce sun as well.
GREAT BARRIER REEF
HAMILTON ISLAND QUALIA
Has anyone spotted the fact that Jeremy got back into a small airborne vehicle only a few weeks after a petrifying flight in a fixed wing variety? Well he did insist that he did not want to sit in the front and I am not sure if he looked out or kept his eyes closed but it was certainly far less dramatic than the New Zealand flight.
The next day saw us flying back to Sydney and we just caught up with Kelly before she flew out on Emirates evening flight for Newcastle. She was very sad to say goodbye as does not think she will make it next year and O and A are not sure when they will make it back but with house expenses, it will not be this year.
we have been back to a bit more DIYing and child care, both of which we are enjoying but this weekend it is Oli’s birthday so we are heading down to the Southern Highlands with them to visit some of their friends who have moved down there. We will stay in the same hotel we stayed with Paul and Moyra and hope Eva allows her fellow guests and us to have a peaceful night!
On Wednesday 27th we board our flight home so will be back in Ilmington til Thurs 5th being at Stratford car festival on Sunday and then getting dentist and hair appointments out of the way before heading back to Cornwall. I hope to catch up with some of you soon.
MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS,