I’ve spent the last week in Airlie Beach doing, well…not a lot really.
Besides a few bars and what seems like the obligatory man-made lagoon, there’s really not much to do in Airlie Beach, and you know what? I’ve loved it.
Apart from my first night, when I went down to Magnums (the self-proclaimed #1 party bar in Airlie) and watched a 47 (forty-seven) year old grandmother win a wet t-shirt competition, I was in bed for 10pm most nights and up for 8am. Rock and roll.
I’m yet to figure out whether the wet t-shirt competition had anything to do with my reluctance to go out, but if truth be told I think I needed a week off going out and getting boozed up. Whisper it quietly, but the novelty of getting hammered on a nightly basis may be wearing off. Either that or I’ve realised I’ll be home in a month if I carry on spending like a dickhead.
The highlight of my stay in Airlie (and the reason 99% of tourists go there) was, of course, my tour of the Whitsunday Islands. I opted for a two night tour on the Habibi boat, which cost $340 and was sold to me as a “party boat”. I realise this totally contradicts the paragraph above, but anything that allows you to bring your own booze has my business. I’m more than happy to be called a hypocrite for consuming a box of goon.
For those who don’t know much/anything about the Whitsundays (I didn’t), they are a collection of 74 tropical islands just off the east coast of Australia. Only seven of them have resorts built on them, and Whitehaven Beach is a humongous eco-beach that has apparently been voted the 2nd best beach in the world. Or something.
The first night was pretty uneventful. We sailed for about five hours and had a decent BBQ with a few drinks. No complaints there. I did, however, forget just how difficult it is to sleep in a cabin after a few drinks. It’s bad enough when you’re at home and you get the feeling that the room is spinning, but when the room actually is spinning, that’s a whole new world. The fact that we were apparently sleeping in the engine room didn’t make things too comfortable either.
The next day was, comfortably, the best day I have had since I left England. When we had our wake up call at 6am, I definitely didn’t expect to be saying that.
After a quick breakfast (where I discovered that Vegemite is vile) we were taken out in a speedboat to Whitehaven Beach. I, for once, was lost for words. I honestly can not remember being in a more beautiful place. It was stunning, even more so during sunrise. The sand is so fine that you can apparently clean jewellery, exfoliate your skin and clean your teeth with it. I have no idea whether this is true, but I’m not ashamed to say me and a few other passengers attempted the last two.
I don’t think my words can do it justice, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
We spent the rest of the day snorkelling round different points of the reef which was also amazing. I’ve never really understood snorkelling. For example, when I see people with snorkels on the Costa Del Sol, I can’t help wondering what the point is. Seaweed looks the same everywhere.
This, however, was a totally different entity. The Great Barrier Reef has to be seen to be believed and I’m still fuming that I don’t have an underwater camera. The amount of weird and wonderful looking fish, as well as a concerning amount of shark-looking creatures was also mind blowing. I must say however, that I wasn’t too fond of the jellyfish swimming past my face.
The only disappointment, in what seems to be a developing trend on this trip, was that I was one of the very few people out of the 26 on board to not see a turtle whilst snorkelling. Typical. I guess I can add turtles to the list of animals who hate me as well as koalas.
As the sun started to set, we parked up (do boats park?) for the night, had some food and consumed copious amounts of goon whilst watching the most picturesque sunset I have ever seen. It was here that I picked up a tiny bit of signal on my phone and found out that Keith Hill had signed a three year deal to carry on as Rochdale manager. A great end to a great day.
The third day consisted of a bit more snorkelling before setting off back to Airlie, where we arrived at midday. As we were leaving the boat we were told about the after party that night, where we would be given free beer and pizza. Not bad, eh?
Coincidentally, the after party was at Magnums which meant I ended the week where I started it, minus a 47 year old’s breasts. Happy days.
Where’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?