Whitsundays, Magnetic Island & Cairns

The last month has been a whirlwind on the road! We left Noosa (engaged!!) after a month of working and headed north to Airlie Beach. Seeing the Whitsundays was one of the biggest items on my Australia bucket list and it did not disapoint!

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We stayed in Airlie Beach, a colourful small town, and set sail from the harbour there.

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We spent three days and two nights on a sailboat touring the islands off of the coast. Screen Shot 2016-12-20 at 11.59.24 AM.png

It was my first time sailing. I was so thankful for calm seas so I did not have to find out if I get sea sick or not! The islands are rocky except for the inlet with the famous Whitehaven Beach. The sand is silica and feels like fine flour. Talk about heaven on earth!

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I don’t know if anything in the world could be more beautiful than this. After taking in the views, we walked down to the beach and swam in crystal clear water with stingrays and small lemon sharks.

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The Whitsunday’s are in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef, so we also got some great snorkelling in from the sailboat. We saw three sea turtles!

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Three days on a boat with 30 people was a bit crammed so it was nice to be off of the boat and in the water! As beautiful as the surroundings were, it was packed below deck. I’m surprised that many people are allowed on a boat that size.

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Do not recommend if you are even the tiniest bit claustrophobic!

Next stop…

Magnetic Island!

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The view right out the front door of our hostel. They strongly advised against swimming as a 5m crocodile had been spotted a couple days before! Plus it is stinger season, so it is recommended to wear a stinger suit if in the water. To summarize: everything in Australia wants to kill you.

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Burnt our feet to get up here but pretty cool views!

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We spent the day on Magnetic Island touring in rented Jeeps checking out the beaches and bays. It was absolutely beautiful! I have more photos but they will not upload with this spotty wifi so those will have to do. After our Magnetic Island stay, it was back on the ferry to Townsville to catch the train to our last stop on our east coast tour, Cairns!

Cairns was a smaller city, with no beach but instead a lagoon downtown, similar to Airlie Beach. Every day at dusk thousands of bats emerge from down town trees. When I say bats, think small pterodactyl because these bats are beastly huge. The downtown was very small, but there were some Night Markets open daily with interesting aboriginal art to check out. The best part of Cairns was exploring the Atherton Tablelands, and spending a day out on the reef.

The tablelands are home to many famous waterfalls and breathtaking jungle views. Our first stop was Josephine Falls, where the cascades make natural waterslides! It was a blast swimming in the crystal clear mountain water.Screen Shot 2016-12-27 at 1.27.54 PM.png

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The landscape was so interesting on the walk in. It felt like Jurassic Park.

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We also explored Milla Milla waterfall, famous for being used in a Herbal Essence commercial. It is mandatory to do the hair flip!Screen Shot 2016-12-27 at 12.28.36 PM.png

After a great day exploring the tablelands, we had time for one last day on the reef before leaving Cairns. We were an hour and a half out, and there were lots of other snorkelers and scuba divers at this location. Screen Shot 2016-12-16 at 9.02.36 PM.png

My goggles weren’t the greatest!

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There was a ton of fish, every colour you can imagine. Of course the GoPro died before we could get some close up video!

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That ended our time in Cairns, and our adventures up the east coast of Australia! I checked everything off of my bucket list so I had to make it longer which is fine by me! We have hung out with kangaroos, fed wallabies, watched salt water crocs leap for food, tried not to panic over a venomous brown snake, swam with sting rays and lemon sharks, visited koala hospitals, and kayaked with too many dolphins and whales to count. We’ve hiked┬áand swam and snorkelled and surfed and made the most of every day away so far. This is definitely the adventure of a lifetime!!

Now we are exploring South East Asia for a month before heading to South Australia, and then New Zealand.

Hope everyone back home had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

PS- a few extra pics I’ve taken along the way.

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