Well haven’t we been having fun this past week! 🙂 Taking a little holiday break from our Campervan, we have just completed doing two of the most popular spots on the East Coast: The Whitsunday Islands and Magnetic Island. They were magical.
For Whitsundays our journey began at Airlie Beach. We found Airlie to be quite a booming little seaside town. As a stepping stone to the Whitsundays, its harbour is full of amazing boats and its town full of backpackers.
We found a spot for our camper at Base Hostel, which lets you park up for the duration of your trip (2 nights) for $12. The night before we set sail we checked out a few of the bars, including Magnum which was lively, where we watched a bit of UFC and had a cider.
The next day we went to meet our crew and group to board our boat named The Condor. The Condor was a racing sailing boat and it great condition.
There was lots of sunbathing space on the top deck:
On the botton there were a variety of double/single bunk style beds and the kitchen and crew area.
Because the boat wasn’t full though and we were a couple….we even got treated to our own private cabin! 🙂
And then we all helped put the sail up (Mark did the hardest bit with his big biceps) and went sailing! Mooring up just in time to see this lovely sight:
The first night then consisted of chilling, getting to know our group, eating some Emu (kind of like chicken) and staring at the stars. After getting used to the swaying, we had a good nights sleep in our cabin and woke up to the clattering sound of breakfast being served up outside (bread, fruit and cereals).
Then it was onwards to our first stop at Whitehaven Beach!
Now this beach….imagine paradise and then times it by saaaaay a million? So the boat actually drops you on the opposite side to the beach. You then walk through idyllic forest, up a pathway, getting teasing glimps of water through the trees, until you reach the Lookout and see this….
(Photos taken with Muvi sports camera)
There is a reason why this is classed as one of the top beaches in the world.
The white sand is baby soft, the sea turquoise and clear. Heaven.
We got to spend a glorious 3 hours here. Needless to say we were excited:
Stinger suits were a must (hence the Catwoman look) for going into the water as it was Jelly Fish season. We didn’t see any Jellies, or sharks, but we saw loads of sting rays scurrying about the sand!
Then we got a bit posy:
And before we knew it, it was time to head back to the boat.
After a some sandwiches we set of for our next destination: Butterfly Bay. Putting on our catsuits…I mean Stinger suits again, we prepared for some snorkelling!
This involved playing with a makeshift swing from the boat to start with, flying into the water, which was so much fun! My attempt at a flip failed miraculously.
The snorkelling was amazing, we saw such an array of fish anf coral and the water was so clear. My Muvi stopped working, so unfortunately I didn’t capture any underwater shots, just a video. Will just have to go again what a shame!
The last night on the boat as the sun started to set, something pretty funny happened. We suddenly heard a yell and looked over to find the Americans on our boat pointing at a crisp packet that had flown off and was drifting away on the waves. Now this is a big no no, The Whitsundays is part of the Greay Barrier Reef and very protected, no littering! So the next thing we know Ericca (crazy Hawaiin), had dived into the sea and was swimming full pelt after the crisp packet. Then we all started cheering her on (if you’ve seen the Inbetweeners film imagine when Simon jumped off the boat but without the drowning), until eventually, she made it!! The Captain then picked her up on the boat and we all cheered. Reef successfully saved.
After that exciting event we had a boat party, got rather merry, ate some questionable meat, had a laugh and went to bed. The next morning we cured any hangovers with another snorkel in fresh waters and set off for mainland.
We stayed one more night at Airlie Beach after our trip to recover. To our suprise that night we discovered that my old housemate from Uni and one of our closest friends Faye just happened to be staying in a hostel a few buildings down from us! So after an amazing and surreal time catching up with her, giving her the grand tour of our camper, we caught up on some much needed sleep.
Next heading was Townsville, the gateway this time to Magnetic Island and a 3 and half hour drive north. Townsville was a big city…that seemed to have no people in it. We did arrive on a Sunday so maybe it does liven up, but the place seemed eerily quiet.
We parked up at another hostel where we could leave our campervan and took a walk to the beach. There were some hip looking restaurants and bars on the way to the beach, but all looked closed.
Along the seafront it was a lot more lively, with families cooking bbqs and joggers heading down the beach path. We found a lovely memorial park and waterfall in the area.
The next morning we went on a short walk to the ferry port, ready for another island trip! This time it was to Magnetic, or ‘Maggie’ as it is more locally known.
Once at Maggie we hopped on a bus to our stay for the night: YHA Bungalow Bay Koala Village. We have such a live for YHA hostels now, they have never failed us to be charming, stunning and friendly. This place was the best yet.
This was our home for the night:
As much as we love our campervan…it was so nice to have a big comfy bed for a night!
Our YHA resort was located on the north side of the Island at Horseshoe Bay. There were some lovely cafés here and of course a gorgeous beach:
We found this sign rather amusing:
Luckily for us our Hostel was part of one of highlights of the Island: The Koala Sanctuary. Here they look after sick and orphaned Koalas and other animals and we were more than happy to pay for a tour to see inside.
Our guide was amazing, very informative and so knowledgeable about all the animals. Myslef and Mark have a massive love and interest in animals and bombarded her pretty well with questions!
The tour was also very interactive, we got to hold the animals yay! So of course we took loads of photos:
First of all we met Mr Fresh Water Turtle:
Then we had a kiss with very friendly Red Tailed Black Cockertoo, held a little crocodile and met some cool lizards:
Then it was Koala time:
Yep…that is a baby Koala. Perhaps the cutest thing we have ever seen in our lives, ever. Just look at him! Aaaaaaaw.
And then we got to have a picture with Thor!
He was a bit smelly, but so cuddly. I didn’t want to say goodbye, maybe you can tell?
Next up, the not so cuddly carpet python!
His name was Derek, he was awesome.
At the end of the guide we headed back through to our bungalow and began to hear an ear piercing screeching noise from above. Looking up we discovered hundreds of parrots sitting on the trees towering over the path. The next thing we knew the tour guide was running through our midst chucking bread crumbs into our hands…and the birds came swooping down:
Yes this is me running away because of course, it being me, I got pooped on. Mark got a nice bite on the finger too!
They do look slightly evil:
So after our amazing animal encounters, the next day we went on a hunt to find wild ones! This took is to the Forts walk which had been recommended for Koala sightings.
It was a very very hot day. We went at midday. We hardly had any water left. Bad move. 10 minutes into the walk and we were ready to head back, the heat really does exhaust you!
But we persevered and we were in luck, because just around a corner we found this guy:
Just chilling up a tree! I think we must have stayed there for about half an hour just staring at him. Very cool.
So after our mission was complete we headed back to catch the bus to the ferry, back to Townsville and back to our lonely campervan!
Can easily say two of the best trips we have done and will probably ever do. Magical moments, stunning scenery and wonderful wildlife. Good times!
Taking it easy,
Jess and Mark