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Hard to say when that day started, since for me, it was a sleepless night! But in the early morning, I drove to Rainbow Beach on the Fraser Coast. The sands are supposed to be of different colours, creating like a rainbow. Well, you need some imagination …
We then headed to the Tin Can Bay where everyday at 8am, dolphins come to be fed by tourists! Mai Anh could get to hand-feed a dolphin, and was very happy about it!
After so much driving, I was quite hungry, so I ate a complete breakfast, and we started driving again. We stopped in Nambur to take a picture with the Big Pineapple.
We drove all the way to Brisbane to discover the city in about an hour time! I drove in the CBD while Mai Anh took pictures though the car window! We stopped near the Story Bridge to take a few more ‘still’ pictures.
Then we went to the airport, direction Sydney. Once arrived in Sydney, Mai Anh rushed to the bus to get to her classes, while I took care of the luggage!
And that was the end of another of our crazy journeys!
We got up early to pack everything in the car, and get ready for the bus pick-up to the Marina where our boat was waiting for us. We bought Tim Tams at the reception of the caravan park, and ate them while waiting.
The boat was much smaller than the one in Cape Tribulation, and more crowded also, but that day was not about the boat, it was about the Whitsundays, these beautiful islands near Airlie Beach!
The boat left the Marina passing many sailboats on the way. Depending on the tide, it would go first to the snorkelling location, and then to Whitehaven Beach, a beautiful white sand beach, or the other way around. We had been advised most often, the snorkelling was first … nevertheless, we took white and pink clothes to take pictures on Whitehaven Beach. And we got very lucky! Whitehaven Beach came first that day!!
But just before Whitehaven Beach was the Hill Inlet Lookout, providing a magnificent and constantly changing view on the white beaches and the turquoise blue ocean below.
Once down on the beach, we took many pictures on the white sand. We wanted to get some sand back home, 90something% pure silica, but the fine was discouraging ($40,000 as they told us …). We got some on our clothes though, as this sand was as fine as salt!
The boat took us next to a snorkelling site, and Mai Anh and I spent about two hours marvelling at the fauna and flora underwater. We saw lots of fishes virtually coming to see us rather than the opposite! We got really surrounded by them! We stayed in the water longer than all the other tourists, and got back to the boat only when our sugar level started to be low!!
The boat brought us back to the shore where we could see a beautiful sunset over the Marina.
But the day was far from over … after a quick shower at the caravan park, we hit the road. As a matter of fact, while preparing the trip (at the last minute …) I underestimated the distance between Airlie Beach and Brisbane … about 1200km! and our flight was the next day at 3:20pm … so I started driving at 7pm in the evening, and would only stop at Brisbane airport! No sleep … lots of coffee!!
We woke up early in the morning and went to the beach to watch the sunrise and take a few pictures on border of the rainforest.
When our bellies started to groan we headed to a café to have breakfast. Then we walked to the market nearby and spent some time there.
Before starting driving, we stopped in front of the Visitor Centre to take a picture with a Cassowary!
On the road, we made our fist stop in Cadwell, mainly to get maps at the Visitor Centre. But we could also catch a few good pictures of the Welcome Swallow birds and the Purple Climber Crab on the jetty.
We continued driving to Townsville where there was a regional fair on the Strand. We entered and watch traditional dances from many countries while eating good food including churros with chocolate dip!
We took a few pictures on the Strand, and continued driving.
We wanted to get to Bowen early enough to book our tour in the Whitsunday Islands for the next day. We arrived in time, booked everything, including a cabin at a caravan park for the night! Wow luxury!!!
Before going to Airlie Beach which is very famous for … not having any beach (!!!), we stopped at Dingo Beach for the sunset. While this beach is supposed to have white sand though, it does not nearly compare to Western Australian beaches …
We continued driving to Airlie Beach and had seafood dinner at a food court in the center before falling asleep in our cabin.
We got up with a lot of condensation on the windows of the car! The night has been chilly! We went to the campground to refresh a bit, and ate the Tim Tams and doughnuts we had bought the previous day for breakfast near the beach. We went on the beach to take a few pictures under the colors of sunrise.
Around 8:30am, we boarded the Rum Runner, a trimaran with a fantastic crew that took us to the reef in just about 45 minutes. I talked to Mai Anh about diving, and after some hesitation, I could convince her to try it! We went 10m underwater with an instructor, and approached the corals from closer than ever! We touched a sea cucumber, so soft!! And while diving, we were lucky enough to spot a shark, just a few meters in front of us!!
We went back on the boat, took a few pictures and had lunch.
Then we went back for some snorkeling, and took with us the camera in the plastic pouch that we bought to take pictures of the amazing underwater fauna and flora!
When the pool closed, we returned to the shore and got a complimentary glass of wine and fruits. On the way spotted humpback whales, and a pink dolphin!
The coastline was beautiful, the rainforest ending on the beach in front of the turquoise sea!
We returned to the campground to take a shower and starting driving back to Cairns to save time. Over the car ferry were flying dozens of welcome swallow birds! We made our way to Cairns through the fields of sugar cane. Sugar cane is everywhere in Queensland, and they even made railways just for transporting the sugar cane.
In Cairns, we ate at the same food court, and then walked on the Esplanade near a man-made lagoon. We ate some green tea ice cream crepes and left the city. We drove about two hours to Mission Beach where, too tired, we fell asleep in the car.