Hamilton Island Blues

Trip Start Mar 23, 2013
Trip End Apr 22, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, April 6, 2013

Tonight , at dinner, we started a 'Memory Moments ' list of our best and worst experiences on this trip ( to be completed and published on the final day of this blog) .

I've got to admit that arriving here on Hamilton Island fills the 'Most Disappointing ' slot for me.

Why ?

Well, it's fairly straight forward: we're in the Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef , the supposed pristine coral reefs and alleged diving paradise. But what do I see around me : a money making resort of high rise buildings, yachts and golf courses. Don't get me wrong , as those of you whin know me well , I do like clean rooms (very much ) creature comforts and fine wines, but for this part of the trip I was somehow expecting to cross it with Robinson Crusoe. But what we got is 'Marriott On An Anywhere In The World Beach Resort' . Where are the corals? Well, not like in Belize or Florida where it is a short swim away, but in this case an Aud 550 family ticket on a day trip. Really! Now, I guess I only have myself to complain to - as I did the booking - but somehow (even with reading the TripAdvisor reviews) I expected everything to be a lot more accessible with lots of companies offering competing services of a range of boat rides , snorkelling and sailing. Instead, the island is tightly controlled by Mega Resorts Inc (MRI) offering just one company who does a scuba diving trip, one who will go to the outer reefs for snorkelling ( no diving ) and another that will do a limited tour around the islands. All being carefully mutually exclusive. But, life's all about making the best of the moment and, for the next 5 days - we shall enjoy the pleasures of not having to repack our bags every night, shall get up when we want and we'll take it easy.

So, the scene set, I shall continue.

The start to the day was a slow one. R and I lingered in bed. I was rather knackered from the long drive on the previous day and the noise of what sounded like air blocked pipes clanking through the night. The boys too benefited from the sleep in but decided to go for the rare experience of a morning bath together in the big tub.

Breakfast was the usual fayre of a hotel breakfast buffet with the wide spread of fried foods, fruits and cereals. The added fun this morning was the sea gulls and parakeets who were proficiently attempting to raid the poolside tables. Which reminds me : we were warned not to leave items out on the balcony as the parakeets like to whisk them away- something which we noticed first hand as one of the birds whipped away a bag from one of the hotel rooms.

The rest of the morning was taken up with arranging to get a new hotel room ( those damn pipes) and a stroll down to the marina to see if there were any other trip providers others than MRI - there aren't.

I forgot to mention that the weather had turned on us and a small storm has hit the area and will linger for the next few days. As a result, we were fairly restricted in the activities that we could do and decided to hang out by the pool in between the showers.

And so to the evening - last night we booked into the resort's Thai restaurant called 'Co Ca Chu'. At 7pm it had already been dark for an hour and it was a short stroll from the hotel. We brought along the hotel umbrellas just in case of any showers

After chocking at the cost of everything on the menu - everything is sooooo expensive here in Oz, especially on the resort - we ploughed into picking the dishes.

As an aside: I read a website that said that if moving here from the UK, you should factor in a monthly expenditure in Aussie $ of 2x your UK outgoings. At an exchange rate o 1.4 on the spot market, that really does mean you would have to have quite a hike in your earnings

Back to the meal. It was a lovely surprise- ingredients that we just don't get in menus back home and they blended them together so well!
Which takes me back to the 'Memory Moments' list as the food tonight scored as the best on the trip so far.

While we were eating, the heavens opened up and it really started to pour down. We had to walk home in that. The boys decided it would be more fun to walk without the umbrellas and see just how wet their t-shirts could get (very). They loved it and I bet it'll rank high on their list !
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