Week 20 - July 30, 2018 - August 05, 2018

   Cinderoo - officially in Queensland

We left Cape Tribulation and pointed Cinderoo south along the Coral Sea, weaving and bobbing between beautiful ocean views and stunning rolling hills.  We stopped here and there for this and that and just had a pleasant drive to Airlie Beach.

  A couple of ferry hitchhikers                     Stunning coast views                   Lots of sugar cane burning

   Just some random rock-stacking that created an artful display               Bridge for tree critters

   Lunch at the port in Townsville                                                   Another beautiful view              

Airlie Beach was our jumping off point for the Whitsunday Islands, a stunning 74-island archipelago sheltered by the Great Barrier Reef.  Only five of the islands have resorts with the remainder being virtually uninhabited and the pristine white-sand beaches were plentiful.  As the best way to see the islands is by boat, we opted for a tour package that included a cruise through several of the islands with a stop on Whitehaven Beach and then a jaunt through and around some of the islands via personal watercraft (sit-down jet ski).

   Shute Harbor                       Leaving Airlie Beach                     No time wasted relaxing on the cruise

   Various beautiful islands                           Hamilton Island                 Humpback whale having fun

Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island is considered by many people to be the most beautiful beach in the world and with its fine white, silica sand flowing into the turquoise water, I would agree it is amongst the world's best.  We had a couple of hours to enjoy this paradise and all we did was walk along the shore, wade into the refreshing water and take a nap on the beach.  It was perfect!

   Waiting for the shuttle boat - Whitehaven Beach                           Got in trouble for feeding the birds, but it was worth it

   Whitehaven Beach lives up to its name                       Just some of the locals swimming around

  Now, that is how you travel the islands            Each of us enjoying our view             Easy to smile in this beautiful place

   A bit of paradise                                              Whitsunday Island - Whitehaven Beach

We cruised back through the archipelago with a short stop on Hamilton Island to catch our transfer boat back to Airlie Beach.  Hamilton Island is one of the habited islands, still recovering from cyclone damage from a couple of years ago.  For us, the cool thing about the island was the small airport that had airplanes landing just a few meters from the ocean and almost right on top of where we were waiting for our boat. 

The cruise back was as nice as the journey out and we spied even more humpback whales playing in the ocean.  As soon as we landed, it was a fast walk across the harbor, a quick lunch and readied ourselves for a wet afternoon riding jet skis.

   Hamilton Island's cool clubhouse                Airport was rather close  

    More humpback whales breaching                          Hamilton Island

The jet ski tour tested our endurance as we traveled along several of the islands for over two hours.  We passed beautiful beaches, soaring cliffs, small islands, large islands, forested shorelines, whales, sail boats, etc. and just loved being out on the water in this spectacular place.  When we returned to Airlie Beach, we were happily exhausted.

   Some jet ski fun           Cool schooner            Our jet ski group            Having fun with the Clown Fish in a tank

We got back to Cinderoo with just enough time for a hot shower, a warm meal and a cozy bed as the next day, we were off to yet another terrific place, Cape Hillsborough National Park.  Fortunately, the drive was not far and as soon as we got Cinderoo settled in, we were off to explore.

Cape Hillsborough National Park is nestled between rough cliffs, broad beaches, rocky headlands, sand dunes and rainforest.  The area is filled with trails to take you to your preferred terrain and ours led us to a breathtaking walk along the cliffs with overlooking views to the ocean.  With low tide in process, we were able to cross an exposed land-bridge to a small island and take advantage of the views back to the shore. 

   Cape Hillsborough National Park trailhead                    Enjoying the hike to the cliff overlook

   The views of the park's bay                    Stepping out across the exposed land-bridge

   Love this tree                                  Beautiful boulder

Inasmuch as we enjoyed our afternoon foray along the beach cliffs and onto the 'island', our purpose to be here was not for the landscape but rather, the fauna.  According to rumors heard on the road, sunrise on the Park's beach would bring out the natives, specifically, wallabies and kangaroos, that like to munch on the exposed vegetation at the lower tide.  And, we can attest that they were not mere rumors, but in fact, truth as we had quite a bit of fun frolicking with the friendly locals.  We also found out that the Park's Rangers do set out small plates of special food pellets to encourage the visits; however, our enthusiasm was not reduced in the least.

    Curious Kangaroo - look at her claws             Wallabies - a mum and her Joey!

   Me and my new KFF

Oh, and a fun thing, while we were watching the wallabies/kangaroos, our Spanish dive-boat friends, Jon and Gorka, also showed up as they are traveling south from Cairns as well.  We had a bit of a chat comparing notes and sharing laughs and alas, again parted ways.

For us, it was a bit of a drive south to Agnes Water and the town of 1770.  This area has historical significance as Captain Cook landed near this area in, wait for it, the year of 1770.  In addition to the historical reference, the area was just another beautiful spot for us to stop and appreciate. 

   Agnes Waters' beach               The river and ocean meeting at 1770               Lookout near 1770  

After Agnes Waters, it was off to a place called Rainbow Beach, with a fun stop off at our favourite soda manufacturer.  Australia, specifically the town of Bundaberg, is the producer of some of the best soda drinks we have ever tasted.  We wanted to take the factory tour but alas, the tour was closed because of renovations to the factory so we had to settle for tasting the few sodas we had not experienced and loading up Cinderoo with our favourites: passionfruit, blood orange, ginger beer, guava, lemonade, lemon/lime bitters, pink grapefruit, sarsapiralla, and apple cider.  Seeing as there are about 14 flavours in total, I think we could confess to liking just about all of them.
   Gerson  happily posed in front of the Bundaberg wall                     Loved these postcards - they help describe Australia

A nice week to be certain, and looked forward to the following week that will include a visit with good friends.


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