We are having the most incredible time in Australia.
It truly is a magnificent country and I had forgotten how I feel about it, having not been back here for six years.
Australia is one of those rare places on Earth where you get everything – the sun, magnificent landscapes, fantastic sea views, mountains, good food. Anything and everything can be found here!
Earlier this week we headed to The Whitsunday's for a four day stay and it hasn’t disappointed. We first stayed at the Cape Gloucester Resort, which is just past Hydeaway Bay. As its name suggests is this sleepy town about a 45-minute drive from Airlie Beach.
The resort was lovely and we stayed in a very spacious one-bedroom eco cabin, which not only looked out to the ocean, but had a direct walkway from the garden to the beach. What I liked most about this place was the vibe – so laid back, so relaxed it’s perfect for those wanting a bit of privacy and downtime. Our stay was short – just one night and unfortunately we didn’t get to “Fire up the Barbie”, but those who fancy a self-catering option, you should definitely check this out.
Day two in the region we headed straight out on a tour, organised by the fabulous Whitsunday Tourist Board. We drove a short distance to participate in a Crocodile Safari around the Proserpine River area, which started with a fabulous BBQ and salad lunch upon arrival.
We spent the first half of the day on-board a truck wagon, which took us on an hour-and-a-half’s drive through lush and diverse landscapes. According to our tour guide, there are four different ecosystems in this small part of the safari area alone.
Our guide also taught us about the different plants and wildlife living in the area, before returning to camp for a “Billy Tea” – tea made in a tin over a campfire – and “Damper”, a type of bread also made on a camp fire, which really was lovely.
Refreshed, we hopped onto the boat for our two-hour cruise along the Proserpine River. Steven, our very knowledgeable guide, pointed out wildlife, plants and even the odd eagle. It’s not the ideal time for crocodile spotting as the weather is so warm, but we still managed to see five crocs, including three tiny ones. It was a fantastic day and I’d thoroughly recommend it.
From here we checked in at the Pinnacles Resort and Spa. We’ve stayed in some of the best hotels in the world for 4xfour and Pinnacles Resort is up there with the best of them. We were had an amazing two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, overlooking Airlie Beach with a hot tub on the balcony. I was very tempted to put my house in the UK up for sale and move in permanently.
The Pinnacles Resort is situated high up on a cliff face and the views are spectacular. There is an infinity pool overlooking the ocean and we had the most marvellous two-night stay there.
During this time we went on a tour with Tall Ship Adventures aboard a fantastic tall ship, cruising The Whitsunday Islands. We’ve enjoyed many boat trips during our adventures, but this has to be one of the best.
There were so many wonderful aspects to the trip, not least the fact that the vessel was an elegant tall ship. It provided a buffet lunch and the crew were really passionate and energetic. It felt like they were experiencing it for the first time, just like us. The day was made complete by a snorkelling experience where we saw not only an array of fish and brightly coloured coral, but turtles too.
Also, I’m prone to seasickness, but this trip was so relaxed and calm that I didn’t feel nauseous at all – always helps.
And then there was the Eco Jet Safari the best tour I’ve done on this trip so far. It’s a tour so action packed with adventure and adrenaline that for me, it tips the scale. Perhaps what I loved the most about this one is that it’s interactive – we were physically involved, rather than being passive participants.
Previous Jet Ski trips I’ve done have either been short 15 minute bursts or a one hour trip. This one lasted well over two hours, and took us from the beautiful beach of Hydeaway Bay to mangroves where we went crocodile spotting. The change in the eco-system from the vast openness of the deep blue ocean to the dark greens and browns of the mangroves was breathtaking.
And now as I write this, we’ve checked in to Shingley Beach Resort – again, overlooking the sea… perhaps there’s a running theme here – everything overlooks the sea. Perhaps that’s why I love it so much? Maybe it’s the crystal clear, blue sky? Possibly it’s the extremely friendly and kind people who greet us with a “G’day”. Or perhaps it's because at heart, I’m a true Aussie and really feel at home here.
I don’t know what the answer is, but I know I’m loving every second of it.
Until next time…