We finally did it! We finished our 6 month work stint and have now hit the road until end of April 2012!
We left Melbourne on the 18th Jan, and flew up to Hamilton Island via Brisbane. From Hamilton Island, we took a picturesque ferry ride over to Airlie beach on the mainland where we checked into "Backpackers By the Bay" a quirky little joint, with a snoozing dog you have to step over and a salt water pool
Airlie beach is a real backpacker town, surf shops, cafes, internet cafes, hostels and lots of companies offering tours and activities. All the staff look like ageing backpackers themselves. There is a lagoon, marina with amazing boats and of course the beach, which scoops round the bay.
On our second day here we went on a boat trip to the world famous Whitsunday Islands. I cannot stress enough how amazingly beautiful they are (There are 75 in total!). We were taken out about 40kms to a nice spot by a coral reef, and after putting on stinger suits and flippers, we just got in the water for a snorkel. We couldnt believe how many fish were under there! so many different colours and sizes, and the coral reef really is something else. It hurts if you get caught on it! I think there were turtles around, but unfortunately we didnt see any.
We were then taken to Whitehaven Beach for lunch, which is one of the most photgraphed beaches in the world, and you will see in the pics why. It really is the brochure scene- turquoise water and pure white sand that squeaks when you walk on it. The sand also cleans your jewellery up a treat! Something to do with pure sillica..?
We were back in time to come last in our hostel's quiz and drink a bit of boxed red wine under the stars before hitting the sack.
We are going to be going on a 13 hour overnight coach journey tonight down the east coast to Hervey bay to get out to Fraser island, which is going to be somewhat overwhelming, but that is a lot of time to beat Russ at cards :-)
So only two days into our big trip, and we have already been in paradise.