Snakes, Spiders + Lizards - the price of Paradise!

Trip Start Jan 17, 2007
Trip End Jul 20, 2007

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Flag of Australia  ,
Friday, April 6, 2007

Airlie Beach is about 700 kms south of Cairns and is known as the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. It's a small seaside village that serves as the gateway to the Whitsundays - a group of 74 small tropical islands in the middle of the reef. This area is primarily visited by millionaires with their yachts and backpackers prepared to camp for their own piece of paradise. Like many of the beaches on the east coast, Airlie beach is made of imported sand and the sea isn't particularly safe for swimming because of the high number of stingers. To swim, you are either advised to take a boat out to the islands which are too far out for many of the most poisonous coastal stingers or use the huge man-made lagoon on the seafront. The lagoon really is massive and very popular, especially later in the afternoon as the backpackers wake up after a hard night's partying.

The village is a strip of shops, bars and hotels, surrrounded by tropical rainforest on one side and the sea on the other. Because of its situation we saw a huge number of creatures that we would rather not have. Mo already knows about the 10 foot snake that came towards Jilly whilst she was phoning home! Whilst having breakfast, a 5 foot iguane/lizard came onto our hard stand to join us and a spider bigger than my hand watched us eat tea from the window of the van! There's also been lots of exotic birds singing and squawking at each other and at night we share the campsite with hundreds of lizards and go to sleep with the sound of strange insects ringing in our ears like a soothing lullaby!

We've been reading our way through the Message version of the Bible which we're really enjoying and it's great to have the opportunity to spend time with God without the everyday hassles and distractions. We've also really enjoyed reading 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho, a very inspirational and easy read. Jilly quite liked 'On Beauty' by Zadie Smith and I've read one of Jilly's favourites, 'To Kill a Mocking Bird' as well as a few John Grishams that we've acquired from other backpackers and campsites along the way!

We've had a really good couple of days relaxing on tropical beaches and seeing a bit more of the rainforest. Tomorrow we're heading off down to the Gold Coast - the entertainment capital of Queensland and some of the world's best surf beaches.

Lots of love

Jilly and Laurie xx
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