Whitsunday, Monday and Tuesday

Airlie Beach – Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Welcome back to lovely-planet.org. Today we’re going to discuss 4 chapters: underage drunk people, ensuite private bathrooms, roaring jet boat engines and a crazy ex-navy fighter pilot.

Chapter 1. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon in Airlie Beach, described in our lonely planet guide as a laid back village. However, we saw something else: a village packed with 17-year-olds crossing the street (Airlie Beach is - like many Australian villages - only one street large). Dress code for the girls was slutty and for the boys: surf-dudes with tank tops. We only realised what was going on when we checked into the Island Gateway Caravan Park. The nice lady at the reception told us that the flock of 17-year-olds were schoolies, a special species of graduated highschoolers that come out the day their school year finishes and party non-stop for one week.

Which brings us to Chapter 2. The same nice lady at the reception strongly suggested us that it would be wise to take an ensuite camping site, which means we got a private bathroom! Escaping from a shared bathroom with adolescent girls spending 2 hours in front of the mirror and drunk-after-2-beers boys seamed like a good idea. What a revelation that private bathroom turned out to be!

Before heading to Chapter 3 we explored the area around Airlie Beach in our familiar way: walking tracks. We headed over to Conway Range National Park and walked the Coral Beach track up to a beach made out of… Dead Coral. We ended our relaxed day with a big chunk of fresh Salmon on the Barbie, yummie!

Coral Beach

Chapter 3 (and actually also Chapter 4): OCEAN RAFTING! Summarized: roaring jet boat engines & a crazy ass ex-airforce pilot navigator.

Ocean Rafting Boats: Wild Thing, Jammin and Thrillar

Our two captains Will and Jason were two typical enthusiastic Aussies but just that little bit more twisted. Jason told us he was an ex-airforce pilot and that the boat would be flying most of the time so we were in good hands. What a relief :) And man, did we fly! At a speed of 80km/h we raced into three meter high waves: what a ride. The best way to describe it is like being on a roller coaster over and over again. We like! But it wasn’t all speed and thrill. We walked around Whitsunday Island and upto a beautiful lookout over Hill Inlet.

Hill Inlet

Jason and Willace took us to a smooth pure silica sand beach for lunch and 360 sunbathing.

Ocean Lunch

We ended the day with a half hour of snorkeling close to the Great Barrier Reef. We saw nice colorfull coral and Melanie even found Nemo! The real clown fish! We didn’t take any pictures as we looked absolutely ridiculous in Stinger Suits and snorkeling gear. Imagine Mick Jagger in an out of shape cat-woman suit. Luckily everybody was spared from meeting Stingers and Sharks (aka: Sabertooth Dolphins). We had an amazing day on the Ocean Rafting boat and recommend everybody that visits Airlie Beach to take their tour!

Without really noticing it we already started out last week with Fat George.. Hopefully we will make it a spectacular one!