A couple of weeks ago, I found myself on a plane, a bit of a shock after so long away from travel, heading up for a few days with family in Airlie Beach, in the Whitsundays.
The 74 Whitsunday Islands lie between the north-east coast of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, a massive stretch of coral, teeming with marine life. The islands are made up of dense rainforest and white sandy beaches, and most are uninhabited.
The town of Airlie Beach on the mainland is the region’s central hub. Even with all the development of the area, they’ve managed to keep the village look.
The first day, after an early morning coffee in the village, my son and I headed out to explore the bay area and the Conway National Park. We started at Conway Beach, one of many breeding and resting places for marine turtles around the islands and shoreline.
Next stop was Cedar Creek Falls, a delightful spot for a cool dip on a hot Queensland day.
On the way out, we crossed a bridge over a little river, a lovely spot for a photo, I thought, until I was warned I was likely to lose a leg. Crocodiles wait in there for unwary tourists doing just that. I stayed in the car.
Lunch was at Northerlies Beach Bar and Grill, on the other side of the bay from Airlie Beach.
Our last stop for the day was my favourite, Shute Harbour, looking across aquamarine water towards the myriad islands of the Whitsundays.
We headed back for a break before dinner at the marina. I pretended I was rich enough to own one of the massive vessels moored there. A lot of money at Airlie Beach.
Later in the week we went exploring again, this time into the countryside, through paddocks and cane fields, around to another delightful spot, Dingo Beach. The Dingo Beach pub has its tables laid out along the grass looking out over the beach and the bay. So relaxing. It also has a few motel rooms and I thought how lovely it would be to walk out of your room in the morning straight into nature. It’s in the back of my mind for the future
We stopped for a drink at various places on the way back. By this stage I had no idea where I was but that was okay. I just allowed myself to be carted along from one stunning spot to another.
We ate at a different place each night (there are endless choices, food-wise), heading back afterwards to watch the football, needless to say. We are Melburnians, after all.
Sunshine and heat are not everyone’s cup of tea, but they are definitely mine. I think I’m probably a Queenslander, that happened to be born in Melbourne. As far as I’m concerned, if there’s a heaven, and if I get there, it will look like Queensland’s Whitsundays.