WHITSUNDAYS - TELFORD'S RETREAT!
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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WEATHER: Hot and sunny
We drove to Horseshoe Bay at Bowen for breakfast, and then set out for Airlie Beach 80 kms away; we were looking forward to joining the Telford family at their home for a week which by the way extended to 10 days.
Sugar cane dominated the landscape and again we were amazed at the size of the tomato growing farms. Tempted to pick some especially as they look so red! We didn't!
We happened upon the seaside restaurant- "Mr Bones" at Airlie Beach and ate our first pizza for a while and it was great; we sat by the lovely seaside lagoon under a shady shelter with our pizza and coffee.
The redevelopment of the sea front is impressive but the main street is showing its age and looks a bit tired. We had a quick look around and then made our way to the Telford's house, about 3 kms from town and easily accessed by a walking/bike track. This meant we could take the bicycles down and use them to get around.
Our van fitted neatly into the driveway under the palms.
It was lovely to meet up with Kylie, Matt, Emma and Maddie again; we first met 2 years ago in Pemberton, WA and we camped with them several times in some great spots, like Parry's Beach and Shelley's Beach. They were on the road for 18 months in a camper trailer and made it right around Australia in that time- Matt and Kylie were home schooling the girls in some exotic locations along the way.
They welcomed us to their comfortable home and they were wonderful hosts. As mentioned we stayed a bit longer than intended because of the school holidays and a public holiday but they were cool with that.
Matt treated us to a drive to Shute Harbour and up the steep road to housing estates high over the bay- gorgeous views.
When you are a roadie, traveller, pilgrim, gypsy whatever, it is always a treat to stay in a house with friends.
Airlie Beach is the mainland access point to the magnificent Whitsunday Islands; the 74 tropical Whitsunday Islands are in the centre of the Great Barrier Reef which stretches 2,500kms along the QLD coast and are an iconic Australian destination.
The area is a famous sailing destination and you cannot visit without getting on to the water in a yacht, tinny, catamaran, cruise ship, tourist boat etc. We did observe some impressive yachts and catamarans and being school holidays there were many tourists taking advantage of holiday rentals; it is supposed to be easy to sail around the calm waters of the islands after just a short training session in a catamaran etc.
How lucky were we!!!! Matt borrowed a boat from his family and took us out for a day- wow this was a special treat. Nature gave us a calm sunny day and we got to the water at 7.30am so had an early start. It was all hands to the pump as Matt slipped the boat from the trailer and then launched it into the calm sea.
Sheila and I were very excited and it was a special day for the Telfords too, because they don't sail much these days- Matt is a marine mechanic so has been around boats most of his life. Kath is not a great sailor so took along some ginger powder to swallow as a precaution, but happily not needed.
Matt pointed out South Molle, Daydream, Hamilton Islands on our way out to our stop, the fabulous and very famous Whitehaven Beach- pure white sand, fringed by the national park forest and the stunning aqua blue sea, often listed in the World's Top Beaches and now we know why.
Whitehaven has been on Kath's must-do list forever so it is a special achievement to get there.
Because it was early we shared the beach with only a few visitors; we swam in the crystal clear water still a little cool at 24 degrees and walked a section of the 7km beach and of course lay in the sun!
Next it was off to Hook Island to enjoy lunch- we did not get into shore because the tide was not quite right so we anchored in a sheltered bay and ate aboard. We saw a few sea turtles but no whales today.
Sailing through the islands you get a good perspective of the Whitsundays and with Matt's knowledge of the area we got to appreciate it in more depth- thanks Matt.
And then it was back home again and everyone lent a hand to washing the boat ready for its return.
We took a faster ride with Ocean Rafting the next day which gave us two snorkelling adventures around Hook Isalnd, a stop at Whitehaven where we walked the hill above Hill Inlet to the lookout, giving incredible views over the the Whitehaven Beach and anchored at the beach to have lunch.
This is good value at $130 each including a substantial lunch with pick up and drop off. The ocean was a bit rougher today with stronger winds and more cloud but we were lucky that the sun shone brightly for snorkelling and for viewing from the lookout.
Two sailing trips to the Whitsundays was a bonus and Sheila and I reckon that Matt's was the winner as the more personal adventure!
We had a lazy stay, enjoying the outdoor living area and swimming pool and the lovely sunny days. Thank you Kylie, Matt, Emma and Maddie for your hospitality.