Having parked up last night in what we thought was a dedicated rest stop - as advertised online - we are pretty miffed to discover a parking ticket for $225 on our windscreen - gutted in fact. We take pictures of the signs saying RV parking etc. and decide not to let it ruin the day - well email later to see if we can appeal. Trust us! Shame as we drove 30 mins out of Airlee to park here thinking we were doing it above board and all that ...
We make tracks for Airlee port and board our catamaran to tour the Whitsunday islands. The weather hasn't been great of late, lots of showers so were relieved when we set sail and the sun breaks, the captain tells us Whitehaven beach is looking good also.
The views are stunning, loads of emerald green islands, 74 in total 3 of which are privately owned, one by a rich farmer who sells meat to McDonald's, 10 islands have resorts but only 5 of these are currently active.
We sail into Hamilton island harbour spying all the fancy boats (big money) and then head for Whitehaven beach. The waves are really choppy but thankfully we travel well, the boat itself is really spacious and clean. Whitehaven beach is on the actual Whitsunday island, it's the most photographed beach in the group commonly used on postcards etc. it's sand is the finest and whitest you can find made of silica, it's apparently also a great exfoliant. So of course Matt bags some up - won't look suspicious at all at the airport!
Matt has for a snooze on the beach while Jacq chats to some German tourists. We are thrilled the weather is holding. Everyone is given a sting suit as the jelly fish are out in force and really dangerous - that warning is enough to put us off getting in the sea but we get wet regardless as a torrential shower turns up to quite literally rain on our parade.
Luckily, it's around the time we are due to leave and it doesn't last long at all. The boat serves muffins and tea and we sail to Daydream island. This is one of the privately-owned islands and it's home to a fantastic hotel and spa resort which has an amazing man made lagoon wrapped around the hotel full of stingrays (poor Steve Irwin), black tipped reef sharks, sickle fin lemon shark, a large barramundi and finally we get to see Nemos mates - they have clownfish!!!!
It's class - everyone is really friendly and Jacq chats away to a couple from the Gold Coast who love her accent - happens quite a bit!
We are permitted to use the pool on site also so Matt's in heaven - he soaks up the sun, we get a glass of wine from the pool bar and the views of the islands and sea wrapped around us, it is beautiful - not a bad valentine's day!!!
We grab the later boat back and head to Woolworths (remember that?!) for some grocery shopping - so much cheaper!!!! Unlike the old UK Woolworths this is a food store much like an Asda, we also grab more repellent and vitamin b complex to ward off those dreaded Mosquitos!
We take advantage of our 10% discount at the big 4 campsites and Check into Airlee coves site for $29 finally getting a huge load of washing done and all our sheets. Matt cooks up the sausages we bought at the Port Douglas butchers - the chicken one is not so impressive but we are loving the chorizo sausage and he makes garlic potatoes with spinach - tasty but we are so sick of the flies buzzing around every time we eat.
Early to bed, FaceTime the families and pass out for the night.