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trekkerman Airlie Beach - A travel report by trekkerman
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Airlie Beach,  Australia - flag Australia -  Queensland
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trekkerman's travel reports

Whitsunday Islands, Airlie Beach.

  9 votes
as part of a package of adventure trips down the east coast of Australia, sailing round the Whitsunday Islands was next on our itinerary. as we pulled into this colourful colonial styled town, we were glad to get to our accomodation after a 250km drive.

Rrrrrrr, aboard the Pegasus.
Rrrrrrr, aboard the Pegasus.
Airlie Beach seemed to be quite busy with people on the main drag. we found our accomodation easily and parked opposite. it was close to dark and the place was lit up like a christmas tree, the vibrant energy of this little party town was evident, you could hear music coming from a few bars including our lively hostel. we stayed at Magnums backpackers, as it was a part of a package which included 2 nights free accomodation, hostel info:
the town has several sporty orientated shops for you to get all your summer gear & accessories, plus casual/ summer clothing stores to get last minute bargain t-shirts before you head off sailing.
you could feel the great atmosphere of this place, and i felt excited to be in town. Airlie Beach is only a small place, but has a number of restaurants & bars to socialise and meet fellow travellers, i do remember seeing a classy looking restaurant but cant remember its name.
the town is mainly used as a stop over for either the Whitsundays sailings, or a welcome driving break between Townsville & Mackay.

Favourite spots:
the good ship Pegasus. (pic courtesy of oz magic).
the good ship Pegasus. (pic courtesy of oz magic).
Im not going to follow the usual headings on this report, as this trip was unique, not a city trip etc, so this'll be more like a diary piece etc, just go with it..
anyway, the following day we got everything ready for our 3 day sailing adventure, i couldnt wait til early evening when we would set off. unfortunately the harbour bottle shop ('off license' to the british) was closed, so no beer for us ! the skipper & crew gave us a briefing and then we all boarded the Pegasus Yacht. more info:
wow !! great big 75 footer, just as the tour operator said it was, i was impressed. below deck the skipper sat us down and went through some safety briefs, talked to us about the 3 day itinerary, what to expect, and the do's & dont's. we had booked a double cabin, which had just enough room for a double bed and a small cupboard. the shower/ toilet were shared etc. we sailed out of harbour just after 7pm, and kept sailing til around 2am, then dropped anchor.

What's really great:
sun setting over the Whitsunday islands.
sun setting over the Whitsunday islands.
the first night we had a few drinks & got to know other people, i was able to buy beers onboard - yeaaah ! we headed to bed early as i felt pretty tired, felt a bit delicate, wasnt sick though, and i eventually slept. following day woke up feeling great, popped up on deck to be greeted by a beautiful sunny day, calm blue waters, and the smell of brekky ! within a couple of hours it was time for a little snorkeling, on with the stinger suit and into the water. saw some great sea life, cooled off a little in the heat and reboarded the boat to head for one of the other islands. bbq lunch followed by a few hours of sunbathing on deck, a bit of music, and our bearded skipper reeling off a few funny gags. arrived at the island, we were sent ashore in a motor boat to a pebble beach, for more sunbathing and fun.

i was glad we had booked this sailing trip, as when you're on land you always seem to be around a lot of people, with the hustle and bustle of traffic and tourism in general.
but out here you feel a sense of freedom, so much space, you feel insignificant. being on deck in the pitch black of night on the ocean is quite liberating.

that evening we watched the sun go down, the silohette of an island was an amazing sight, at night we partied a little, the cooks served a nice dinner followed by desert and more drinking, music and lots of fun.
there was about 20 of us approx, so conversation was always fresh.
following day woke up a little light headed, but ok, scuba diving was on the agenda today, unfortunately i had already tried twice before and couldnt get comfortable with it, so while most everyone went diving, i chilled out on deck listening to my music and read a paulo coelho novel.
late morning we headed over to another island beach for more snorkeling near the shallow, as i stepped out of the motor boat onto a large smooth rock jutting out of the sea, i slipped forward and came crashing down on my face, i hit the smooth rock face so hard my bottom lip had split almost right through, i sat up in the water waist height, shocked, shaking a little and wondering if everything was ok. i went back to the

Whithaven beach up close, and that beautiful water.
Whithaven beach up close, and that beautiful water.
back on board the skipper first aided me, i drank a little whiskey to clean the wound, my teeth ached a little, but i recovered pretty quickly. i felt ok to carry on with my trip, im sure the crew were watching me though, checking i was ok.
after lunch the skipper sailed over to a what looked like a huge sand bank jutting out of the water, it looked an amazing sight, where the water shallowed the sea was a beautiful jade colour. we were shipped ashore and strolled up and down this beautiful natural phenomenon, found a place to sit and gazed in awe at the wonderous sight around us.

Whitehaven beach sand kissing the blueberry swirl !
Whitehaven beach sand kissing the blueberry swirl !
around late afternoon we headed back to Pegasus and i showered, checked the deep wound inside my mouth, it felt bad, but i felt ok, i tried to relax on deck enjoying the fresh air and the calm motion of the yacht in the ocean. i found myself in a reflexive state of mind as i sipped another whiskey, thinking about my trip to Oz so far, and how lucky i was to be here, and how lucky i was not to have a mouth full of smashed teeth lol !!
i took a couple of pics as the sun was disappearing over the horizon and went below deck for dinner. roast beef and all the trimmings, yummy !!
i ate gingerly !!
shame the cook poured the terrible lumpy gravy over the dinner ! lol.
more drinking and fun ensued, we all had a late night as we reflected on the sailing trip so far.

Whitehaven beach in all its glory, from vantage point.
Whitehaven beach in all its glory, from vantage point.
on our last day we were to be treated to some of the most natural beautiful sights on our planet.
we headed for a well know island called WhiteHaven, as sailed there the skipper related stories about the Whitsundays, and told us we were in for a real treat. and how right he was ( see pics).
as we landed on the island, we trekked through a wooded area for about 10 minutes, we came out to a small pathway that lead up to a vantage point, from there we could see WhiteHaven beach - WOW !! stunningly beautiful would be an understatement.
from a distance the sand looks like cream kissing a blueberry swirl !
as we got down to the beach we could see that the sand was so white, pure like, and incredibly soft to walk on, i looked up at the sea and just stood shaking my head slowly, this is paradise surely, i said to myself !
we spent a couple of hours in that gorgeous warm sea, the beach wasnt crowded at all, what a place.

Other recommendations:
this sailing adventure was part of a package of 5 different trips we booked with a tour operator in Cairns. we did this because the whole cost was much lower than paying for individual trips, or paying online before we got to Australia.
so i recommend to anyone interested in doing any of the trips i have mentioned throughout all my Australia reports to do similar.
if you book in advance before arriving in Oz, you'll kick yourself for doing so, the prices online are higher !
with regard to this sailing trip, take along with you a couple a hundred of aussie dollars, as you'll want to pay for a few extras, and beer if you dont get any before you sail.
some of the crew are qualified divers, and at least one them is a dive master, all equipment is provided.
apart from the cost of the sailing trip which includes cabin and all meals, you'll pay just a few dollars extra for stinger suit & eco tax etc, also if you want additional dives, that will cost extra too.
a well worth trip !!

Published on Wednesday February 28th, 2007

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Mon, Aug 20 2007 - 11:32 AM rating by maehof

thank you, it's great report , BECOUSE it's your personal experience, you didn't get trapped into a 'guide ' cold (museum) style , lucky you still have your teeth :) it makes me want to go there again , this time i'll get on the boat for sure, (last time i drove towards magnetic island, couldn't stay in airle beach long enough... )

Wed, Feb 28 2007 - 08:44 PM rating by rangutan

A great snorkeling and scuba diving tip and what a wet "booze cruise". Adventurous experience well described!

Wed, Feb 28 2007 - 02:09 PM rating by travler

This sound like a great place to go sailing. Can you dive there as well?

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