We arrived in Airlie Beach and decided to try the caravan park next to the airport which had been recommended by Wikicamps. The park is outside town in a lovely forested area so we checked in for three nights and setup the caravan. We went back to reception to see what activities were on offer in Airlie Beach. Now, this is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands so there is a lot on offer! We ended up booking on a 2-day and 2-night sailing cruise around the islands. The only problem was we had to wait until Friday to go, today being Saturday, BUT we did get a 33% discount because of the last minute booking! To make things even sweeter, because we booked through the caravan park we were able to leave our caravan on site for NO charge while we were away - now that is what we call service.
Next morning we went into town to have breakfast out as a treat. We had a few days to kill so took the opportunity to get some chores done including shopping, washing and some things around the van. We bumped into a couple we were camped next to in Townsville and after chatting about what we had planned, they went off to see if there were any places available on our cruise. The cruise we selected takes a maximum of 4 couples in private ensuite cabins. Well, Rob and Val got the last cabin so we were all set for Friday.
After looking at pictures of the reef and the beaches on the islands we decided it would be lovely to do a sightseeing flight over the islands and the reef, so back to reception to book a flight for Tuesday, our anniversary. Well, this was really worth doing as we flew over the Whitsunday Islands and twice along Whitehaven Beach which is considered one of the best beaches in Australia. After the islands we headed to the outer reef and the Heart Reef in particular. The Great Barrier Reef from the air is spectacular and we had perfect weather for it. It was awesome to do this flight and a bonus to see the iconic Heart Reef on our anniversary.
After hearing about our flight, Rob and Val promptly booked the same flight for Thursday! We saw them off and had drinks that evening to compare notes and discuss the cruise the next day starting at 3 PM.
Friday arrived and we spent the morning packing and preparing for our adventure on the high seas - OK, island sailing then! As we booked through the caravan park they provided a lift to the jetty free of charge too!
|One of the many Kookaburras that visited us|
|Ready to take off on our flight over the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef|
|Our lady pilot at the controls|
|Whitehaven Beach and the Inlet|
|The outer reef|
|Unusual coral formations|
|More reef formations|
|One of the smaller islands with a sand Spit with fringing coral reef|
|After the flight with the plane we flew in|
|The card Vlasta made for me|