Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Whitsunday Islands + Whitehaven beach + Airlie Beach

Monday Day 1
We set out on our adventure early. We got up about 6am and were planning to leave at 630. As usual everyone dragged a bit so we left about 7. Not too shabby for so many people trying to get organized! My car was Jason, Katja, Leah and Allison. I was driving ;) It is a 11 hour trip without stops. It took us about 13. LONG drive. I didn't think it was too bad though... it is about the same from Nashville home so I am pretty used to it. We got on the road and everyone was in such a great mood. The drive was honestly too fun. We played great music and sang and talked. I couldn't have asked for a better car group! Most of the drive was really pretty until we hit some heavy rain. Note to self: rental car tires are horrible = lots of hydroplaning. Long story shortened we made it to the hostel at Airlie Beach and everyone was had dinner and pretty much passed out... that is a long day of driving!

Tuesday Day 2
This is the view at the hostel. It was actually a pretty nice hostel as far as hostels go. I was happy. We had 2 separate private showers (no giant shared group shower like some hostels) and a private bathroom for our little group of 8. We also had a great group of people in our room: Jason, Allison, Spencer, Leah, Jordan, Britt, and Katja.

We slept in and got breakfast. Then we set out for Dingo Beach. We had to drive there. It is about 30-40 minutes away. It was a really pretty drive. The water was so inviting. Jason was pretty much put of the car before I had it in park! It was hard to not just run and jump in! There was a specific swimming spot that was netted off to keep jellyfish out. We swam there. ;) It was so relaxing we just chilled out and listened to music, played football in the water, and took pictures. Now that is my kind of day! :)

After Dingo Beach we went to Cedar waterfalls. It turned out to be more Cedar rockwalls but it was still really cool. You could hike up and jump off. I hiked up... but I did not jump. There were rocks in the water and the water wasn't clear enough to make me comfortable. Apparently if you jump in the one right spot you should be good. 'Should' is not good enough for me. I am happy to report we had 4 jumpers and no one left dead or mangled so it was a win!

After The falls we went back to the hostel and I had the best veggie burger ever!!!! I want another one like right now!! :( We went out to the bar that night and it was really fun. Then off to bed! Big days to come!

Wednesday Day 3
We woke up and it was off to Whitsunday Islands!!! We got some brekkie and did a little shopping and laying around at Airlie bay then we headed to the bus. We thought we were catching the Catamaran there... nope. No worries though eventually we found the bus and got on. It took us to another port. There, we boarded the catamaran and headed to our private island. Yup! PRIVATE ISLAND! I was so pumped. There were 2 catamarans with 50 people each. It was perfect our whole group of 23 was together.

The ride to the island was about 45 minutes. It was nice little welcome to being on a boat get your sealegs trip.

We got our itinerary for the week and checked into our rooms. This time it was only 4 per room: Jason, Katja, Lisa, and I. Another good group! :)

That night we had dinner provided for us and we explored a little. It was so beautiful. Flowers, palm trees, coconuts, beach... perfect.

We even went out to the very end of the dock after it got dark and watched the stars. It was so perfect. Katja and I layed there and just stared for so long! I really wish I could show you! There are more stars here in the southern hemisphere and we were in such a remote location it was just phenomenal! We could see soooooooooooooo many stars including the Milkyway! We watched it move across the sky. It was just too wonderful.

Thursday Day 4
I woke up for the sunrise and grabbed brekkie.

Then we went on the most incredible trip ever!

First we drove for about an hour and a half to a snorkel spot. The waves we so massive! We were supposed to go to a bay first, but the waves were too big so we changed our plan a bit. We saw the Great Barrier Reef.  They provided snorkels and jellyfish suits. Jellyfish suits are full body suits to make the jellyfish stings either not noticeable or not deadly depending on the jellyfish... I am happy with that. They are a little weird. I felt like a superhero! :) Haha They are kind of awkward to swim in but so worth it. I actually did not even see any jellyfish, but I am still glad I had the suit on! There were fish playing and we even saw a sea turtle! The Reef is dying and it is so sad. You could still see some colors like some yellow and purple but it is so sad how much reef death there is. I was surprised to see the extent of it.

We snorkeled around for an hour or so then off to Whitehaven Beach! It is apparently the 2nd best beach in the world... although I have no idea how they would rank that. All I know is it is incredible! The sand consists of 98% pure silica which gives it a bright white color. Also It is illegal to take the sand from the beach. The only agency allowed to do so is NASA. They use it to make the glass on telescopes. Specifically the Hubble telescope lens was made using this sand! Crazy right!!! Unlike regular sand, the sand on Whitehaven Beach does not retain heat making it comfortable to walk barefoot on a hot day. I literally rolled around like a little kid. The catamaran anchored pretty far out. They gave us the option to swim or take the little boat. We dove off the boat (in our jellyfish suits of course) and swam to the beach. :) Of course.

The water was so clear and wonderful! AND THE SAND! It is so soft. It is supposed to be the best exfoliant you can get so we exfoliated... we even washed our hair and brushed our teeth with the sand. Weird yes... but when in Rome right?!?!

We ended up stuck on the island for a little while. By a stroke of luck the little boat broke down. We ended up on the island for an extra hour or so! It was so incredible! I found some shells... I am not entirely sure that I was allowed to take them... but I have them... so... yeah. Also I sang in the ocean. It was so cool Leah, Allison, and I were just wading around and I was like 'I want to sing' So I did. I can't explain how cool it was. I felt like I was in the most amazing music video ever!

On the ride home we got to watch the sun set right from the front of the boat! Again thank God the boat broke down! The timing was just too perfect!

AND!!!!! We had about 20 minutes on the boat in the dark which was just the most incredible part. We were just out in the ocean on a catamaran looking at the most incredible stars. How did I get so lucky?!

After that we had dinner and went to the tribal karaoke party! We painted faces and had so much fun!

OH! and I sang :) Of course!!!! It was so much fun I loved every minute of it! The song list was sooooo limited but I sang 2 songs with tracks then they let me close it down with one of my songs acapella. I sang Crystal Clear. It was soooooo cool. Everyone gathered  around and sat on the floor around me and clapped along for the chorus. That was just too perfect for me :) I miss performing so much. I needed that!

Then off to bed. It was a wicked long day!

Friday Day 5
I woke up and grabbed a quick piece of toast and had brekkie in the prettiest breakfast spot ever!

Then I went on the coolest hike! It is on National Geographic's list of best bush walks! :) I was so beat from the day before I almost didn't go... but I am so glad I forced my old butt out of bed!

Oh and there was a butterfly heaven. I LOVE butterflies! It was so incredible!!!! They were so pretty. I have never seen so many butterflies! It was honestly unbelievable! The guide said they are only out for a few weeks so our timing was perfect! How lucky!!!!!

After all that we went back and fed some fish. There were a bunch of big fish it was pretty cool! :) Unfortunately, it was time to board the catamaran one last time :( We drove back to the port, got on the bus and went back to Airlie beach. The last ride on the boat was so perfect though. The waves and the sun... it was the perfect end. :)

We got back and checked back into the hostel. We had the same people in our hostel room again which was great. Jason, Leah, Jordan and I decided to take a little walk before dinner. Of course Jordan found a ukulele and he played and I sang... it was fun :) and OF COURSE there were selfies in hats! ;)

Then we went to dinner with a huge group and had a few drinks at the bar. We didn't stay out late. We were so tired and we were planning on leaving early in the morning to drive back to the Sunny Coast.

Saturday Day 6
We decided to leave at 8am... obviously that meant we left at 845. Welcome to Australia. This time Jason drove. The girls let me sit up front because I am the really tall one... so that was pretty awesome of them I thought :) The weather was so perfect.

We had another great trip filled with singing and talking and pretty scenery! 

There may have also been some sleeping...

But mostly singing ;) Only the classics though... Journey, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi, John Mayer, Backstreet Boys, S Club 7... ;) Jason was not as tickled with the boy bands but he sucked it up.

Even though it didn't rain... of course we saw a rainbow...

No no .... a double rainbow!!!!!

Then another unbelievable sunset!

We even stopped on the side of the road to look at stars for about 20 minutes in the middle of nowhere. It was just too amazing. I have run out of words to describe how insanely wonderful it was!

After we got home Katja and I went to pick up our packages. She had been waiting on hers for about a month. The post office has been so annoying to deal with. Her parents sent it for her birthday. Mine was from my parents for Easter :) We had a big package opening thing. It was fun. We had so much candy! It was ridiculous! No worries though luckily Raph is here to help eat it. :)

And there ends the Whitsundays adventure! It was quite possibly the best money I have ever spent. I just can't believe this is real life! Someone pinch me. No... don't pinch me I want to stay here forever!

**  Tomorrow I will catch up on Jason's last 2 days here surfing, volleyball, shopping, birthday, koalas, kangaroos, snakes, and Brisbane. Also my day today in Brissy with Kim... but for now back to the books ;)

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