A little late.. almost a week late in fact.
Does anyone know how come the sea is iridescent in colour around the Whitsunday ? Is it because the sand is so White ? I’m not sure but that’s the first we noticed when we drove into Airlie Beach. How could you not, it’s the brightest clearest blue I’ve ever seen and something I couldn’t stop looking at. So far on our travels, the beaches haven’t even come close to our magnificent WA beaches, but the blue/aqua coral sea is something that I’ll remember that’s for sure.
We checked in at the ever faithful BIG 4 caravan park, with playgrounds/swimming pools and jumping pillows galore and set off to see what Airlie Beach was about. In a word – BACKPACKERS and lots of them ! Driving around Airlie and it’s surrounds we decided very quickly that YES we could live here also. High on a hill, surrounded by tress overlooking the coral sea. Sounds good to me !
We had 4 days to spend in Airlie Beach and we pretty much just swam, relaxed, shopped a little and spent a lot of time down at the Airlie Lagoon. unfortunately we didn’t get over to any of the Islands. We were debating whether to go to Hamilton or Daydream but on the days that we could the weather was really windy. After having just spent a full day at Green Island and noticing how it is a little (just a little) hard on Frankie we decided to give it a miss. Regret ? Possibly.. but can’t do everything and I think I’ll put HAYMAN ISLAND on my wish list for Wayne and I later !
Wayne once again spent a lot time taking pictures, he was in his element. Every corner he was presented with another photo opportunity. As always he promised himself that he would get up at 5am (best light to take pictures) so he could capture the beauty of it all, but alas the alarm only woke ME up. He did manage to get out during acid hour though and take some amazing pictures as sunset was approaching.. (also the best light to take pictures). Airlie Beach was beautiful and here are some pictures to prove it.
Honestly, after Airlie Beach I wasn’t that keen to hit Mackay but we had to go via there anyway so we decided to stop at a ‘free camp’ for a night or 2. We haven’t done nearly as much free camping as we (Wayne) had hoped, in fact the free camps book that we purchased still hasn’t paid for itself in that regard 🙂 .
Wayne had researched a bit where the best place was but as we were getting closer we realised that we hadn’t really driven a long enough distance and we could probably keep going another hour or 2. We should have just stopped and stayed where we had planned because for the next 4 hours we basically drove around in circles, trying to find a place that we could fit the van in. There was 1 place that I refused to stay in, another place that I was OK with, I just wouldn’t go to the toilet for 2 days and then the 3rd place we actually went to set up but we couldn’t get the van in the tiny space we were given. After all this mucking about we ended up in a caravan park in downtown Mackay ! It was a long and tiring day..
The next morning we decided NOT to go to the Marina Village, but instead we would make Wayne’s dreams come true and visit a sugar mill. Since we first arrived in Port Douglas Wayne has been interested (I say obsessed) with Sugar Cane Farming. In fact we (he) spends a lot of time talking about it, asking himself questions such as ‘I wonder how hard it is to run a cane farm’ ? ‘How hard can it be’ ? ‘How much money would they earn’ ? It’s endless (relentless) and I was keen to let him learn and find out all about CANE and then move on with our lives.
We arrived at the Sarina Sugar Shed and a lovely man named Neville was our tour guide. We were lucky (and a little unlucky) as we were the only ones on the tour which meant he had more time to talk.. about an extra 45 mins to be exact. The mill is set up for tourists and it’s basically a MINI sugar mill. They do everything the big mills do but obviously on a much smaller scale. The gift shop there stocks everything they make, such as chutney, schnapps, and salad dressings. Wayne was enjoying it. At one point he even felt the need to weigh in on time management issues with the farmers, to which Neville politely responded with ‘sounds good, but that’s impossible’. Just for the record, Wayne has NO sugar cane farming experience whatsoever !
The girls weren’t that impressed, until we got to the end of the tour and 2 things happened. We finally were able to see real cane get fed through the machine and out popped sugar juice (sweet but nice) and then Neville took the girls out to the fairy floss machine (where dreams are made of) and they were able to choose their flavor. I wanted a stick of floss as well, but had to be an adult and got stuck tasting bbq sauce and the like.. until Neville took pity on me and let me have some too 🙂
After this experience we checked out the local arts and craft village and then went onto the Coal docks. The woman in the information bay had told Wayne earlier that he MUST take the girls out to see the COAL being loaded up onto the ships. Frankie by this stage had fallen asleep so I had to take one for the team and stay in the car with her. Next time..
A quick visit into Mackay itself, where we hit the shops and then it was back to the caravan park to load up the van and get ready for our next stop – Rockhampton.
Rocky (Causeway Lake)
Instead of staying in Rockhampton we chose a caravan park that was pretty basic but was right on the lake where Wayne could Kayak and of course take more pictures ! He did just that. He even managed to get up this time before 5am and take the kayak out. I didn’t even realise he had gone so it must have been early. We stayed here for 3 nights and spent time in Yeppoon and also Rockhampton itself. More on that next week (I’m days behind with this blog – sorry).
It’s taken me a few tries to get this blog up and running. 1st draft wasn’t saved and then we’ve had trouble with our wi-fi. Finally back on track, but really I just want to be watching the end of Sons of Anarchy !! God love Apple TV!!
Finally I’d like to dedicate this blog entry to our gorgeous daughter Sarah.. Thanks to some woman who told her that she was the ‘odd one out in our family’ and ‘the different one’ because she has brown hair and doesn’t look like Lulu or Frankie. For a 6-year-old to be told that she’s different from her family from a perfect stranger is wrong and it made me very angry and hurt. Sarah is the glue that holds this family together most days, with her constant helping out, cleaning up and making lunches for us all.Her laugh is infectious and we all love her so much !
Until next time & yes, Wayne is itching to write next weeks blog.. The Morrells x