Whitsunday Islands here we come!
All of us were up nice and early, after breakfast Daphne suddenly decided to pack herself a bag and come along too, we just threw our luggage in the boot along with the chillybin and were off. Erle driving, Daphne was very quiet in the back, she didn’t like being forced to go on holiday, but about an hour into the trip she had thought of how this short break with family, was a real treat not a punishment, and so she started to cheer up and enjoy the trip. The drive was just over 3 hours long and we keep moving fast all the way so as to be able to acquire good accommodation in Airley Beach at a Camping ground, as we wanted a 2 room cabin we thought we had better get there early before all were let out.
As we drove, there was a huge storm brewing layer after layer of big black clouds raced past or did we race under them? Maybe a bit of both, some rain did fall but nothing too much.
There was a nice fruit stall near Bowen selling Mango Melons, a large smooth skin bright yellow fruit that is very juicy and yellow fleshed, we just couldn’t resist the delicious taste of mangoes, so I bought a large Melon to go with all the other fruit and some passionfruit as well, it will be fruit salads for breakfast each day! If you ever get the chance to try a Yellow Mango Melon do so they are the most superior melons there are I think they might only grow around this area.
By time we got to Airley Beach the sun had broken through and it was a lovely sunny day.
As we drove into Airely Beach we saw that a Market day was in progress, so we stopped and had a wander around, tasting wine at one stall and sweets at another and buying some Lady Finger Bananas, the best there are., then we came to the man selling hot spit-roasted beef sandwiches which we all decided would be just perfect for lunch. We took our sandwiches and sat on the edge of the beach to gobble them all up.
I could hardly believe my eyes when a string of Camels all dressed with saddles and passengers, ambled past us. I love to ride Camels, so I just had to jump up and take a photo of them, I wished to have a ride too but we really need to find our accommodation for the night so I let the moment pass.
It took 2 attempts to find a 2 room cabin but we ended up at Island Gateway camp and we couldn’t have found a better place, they make a feature of the local birds and attract them by having feeding stations around the camp, I saw hundred of Lorikeets being fed, very noisy and a bit messy but it looked wonderful as the birds are so colourful. Palm trees and many amenities, like a pool and tennis courts, surrounded our cabin in a real nature wonder land. We broke out the duty free rum to toast such a great place to stay.
As there was an electric frying pan and a microwave in the cabin it was decided we would cook for ourselves tonight. A small shopping centre was just down the road so we set out on a buying expedition to get dinner supplies, beef rissoles, mushrooms, sweet potatoes (kumaras) and a big bag of salad greens and tomatoes. Plus we decided a bottle of wine to celebrate being away together; all of this came out of $15 so a great dinner cost only $5 a head with wine! Prices are quite reasonable in Australia; it would cost more in New Zealand I felt. Tasted wonderful and Daphne who thought she couldn’t eat anything found that she managed to eat as much as we did and enjoy every mouthful, she is so much better and happier already. Postcard of Airlie Beach township, and hillside buildings.
We decided to have a rest day in Airley Beach tomorrow and to book a full day boat trip out to the Islands for the following day, a good scheme, it gave us a chance to explore the small town and have a good look around while still taking it all easy.
We have booked to go out in the Reef Jet to three different Islands tomorrow, its going to be so great, the weather is expected to be fine and sunny and calm; good one. Not particularly cheap but with dinner and snacks all day its should be good value’ and we get the Seniors discount!
More wine was purchased for tonight plus a big pack of pork chops for dinner with all the rest of our vegetables, was extra good. Once again we got dinner for $5 a head!
We noticed with surprise that the local taxis all had advertisements painted on their sides, not something we are used to.
I went out after dinner to have a little flutter at the poker machines in the local hotel, and won a small jackpot, it made my lovely day even better, to come home with more cash than I went out with.