Day 9 – 18th Sept: Day 9 then marked the start of our Whitsundays boat tour which was a 3-day 2-night tour. Although realistically it wasn’t this long as we didn’t leave the harbour until 2 pm on the first day and were back by around mid-day on the final day. So little bit of a con there but regardless we had a great time. As I mentioned Zoe and Jade had joined us again and we would now spend the majority of our time down the east coast with them. The 5 of us basically had our own little cabin on the boat and about another 15 people shared a larger cabin at the back of the boat. There were also 4 crew members who were all top blokes. Day 1 or should I say afternoon 1 of the tour was basically a big piss up. We sailed out and spent all day on the water. The landscape was stunning though, and I can think of worse places to sit enjoying a beer with friends. The boat we were on was called Broomstick and was an old sailing boat which once broke a record for the fasted time sailed between Cape Town and Rio. This meant there was the chance to try your hand at sailing the boat or more specifically hosting the massive sail (not intended as an innuendo). Which was by no means an easy task. Once the sail was up the boat was being powered purely by mother nature and wind. It was so peaceful and tranquil on the water. Later that evening we met up with one of the company’s sister boats called Condor (Connor was there in spirit) and spent the evening making new friends and chilling out on the open ocean.
At one point Ollie and I were just chatting away at the back of the boat and all these big fish were swimming around visible in the spotlight from the boat. We even decided to pull in the small dingy boat which was used as a tender for the main boat. And then jumped into this and drifted out to sea a little just the two of us. Don’t worry we were still attached to the main boat by a rope. The two of us just spent some time reflecting over our experiences the past 10 months or so and reflecting on life, in general.
Day 10 – 19th Sept: Day 2 of the tour was an early start but very peaceful waking up and eating breakfast on the deck of the boat at about 6:30 am. We then made our way to Whitehaven beach which is the iconic beach you see in every photo from the Whitsundays. We came ashore at a very unassuming beach before hiking to a lookout point which overlooked Whitehaven beach, which was utterly stunning.
We then went down to the main beach itself and got to chill out and relax for a few hours. The girls went off to take numerous photos, while Fred Ollie and I kicked a football about and went in search of Sting Rays and Lemon Sharks in the shallow waters of the estuary leading up the beach. The sand at Whitehaven beach is so brilliantly white. But also, so fine that it is unable to retain heat so doesn’t burn your feet when you walk on it. It’s also really good for cleaning jewellery as well so the girls made sure to scrub their necklaces and things before leaving. After spending the morning at the beach, we then went to several different snorkel spots. The snorkelling was nice, but the visibility wasn’t great and the water a little cold even with a stinger suit on. I think after having such amazing snorkelling in Asia and then me scuba diving on top of this, snorkelling just makes me want to go diving instead. Although it was still pleasant to swim around and see all the different fish. That evening we moored up close to a sandbank which we were then ferried across to, to watch the sunset and eat nachos. That evening when not star gazing as the sky. We played silly games with everyone on the boat and many people were made to do the snorkel test. Mine was undoubtedly the harshest. Video evidence is below for the snorkel test, nothing like a snorkel filled with goon. What you luckily don’t see if the aftermath of the video where I then vomit off the side of the boat about 2 minutes later (Sorry Mum).
Day 11 – 20th Sept: Another early start and the long sail back to the mainland. The wind was pretty substantial, so the sail was set up again, courtesy of Ollie, who not for the first time in his life hosted a sail all by himself (innuendo intended). Seeing as the boat was built for speed, we really got up a head of steam on the ride back to Airlie beach. The skipper of the boat explained a little bit about sailing all of which I’ve forgotten, and Ollie and I decided there and then that one day we would buy a sailing boat of our own. The ride home was such good fun though with the boat cutting through the water at a near 90-degree angle. I was able to stand on the mast at one point the boat was tilted that far over. Overall the Whitsundays was certainly a highlight if not the highlight of the whole East Coast trip. That evening on dry land we headed out for a night on the town in Airlie beach and stumbled in the early hours of the morning.
Day 12 – 21st Sept: To be honest today we didn’t really do an awful lot and seeing as I am writing this 2 months ahead of the actual date it happened my memory is a little patchy (my fault for taking so long to write the blog) what we did do though is headed down to Mackay, we travel separately from Zoe and Jade as they were in their car and we were in the van, and just so happened to bump into them without planning at the local open-air swimming pool. Bumping into them would become quite the theme over the next few weeks haha. That night we stayed in some motel car park with us in the van and the 2 girls behind us in the car.
Day 13 – 22nd Sept: In the morning we made the short drive to Cape Hillsborough which is meant to be famous for seeing wallabies on the beach at sunrise. I mean we were way past sunrise by the time we arrived, but there were still a few wallabies kicking around in the car pack. After a stroll on the beach, which would have been perfect for a game of beach cricket and then a stroll along one of the boardwalks (which was rubbish in all honesty) we headed into Mackay to go wakeboarding. Ollie had found the wakeboarding park as the surfer/wakeboard within him was itching to fly around the cable park. Fred and I, on the other hand, weren’t so keen seeing as we had never done it before. In the end, Fred bottled it (as he always does) and I proceeded to spend the next 2 hours of my life faceplanting water hard.
I was determined though that I would make the first bend before calling it a day and after about 15 tries of not making it much further than 10m and barely standing up. I got to the first bend. By which point I had no idea what to do and once again ate water, with the wakeboard smashing very close to parts I’d rather it didn’t smash into. But to be honest I really didn’t care, I’d done it! I actually cleared not only the first corner but also the second as well a few times, although I did nearly smash into one of the ramps which wouldn’t have been fun. But regardless id done it and to be honest would go again it was good fun when I wasn’t swallowing half the lake.
After Wakeboarding we then found a nice little spot for sunset with everyone overlooking the water. Although Fred Ollie and I spent pretty much the whole time skimming stones and chucking stuff into the water!
Day 14 – 23rd Sept: The next morning I woke up feeling like I had just gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. Everything hurt so much, muscles that I didn’t even know existed were aching and would stay aching for the next few days to come. Today was a pretty long day of driving. We made out way through Marlborough and stopped in Rockhampton for a little bit where we visited a free zoo, which wasn’t great, but what do you expect of a free zoo. We then were all going to get Nando’s for lunch but typically the day we were going it was shut for maintenance. After the brief stop on the long drive, we continued onto a place called Agnes Water. That night when chilling out relaxing in the van we were invaded by little black bugs. And by invaded they practically covered the whole ceiling. The only solutions we could come up with was to get everyone out the van, but me. Turn the lights off and then I used the brush to sweep them all off the ceiling. It felt like I was in a bush tucker trial on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. It did seem to work though and when most of the bugs were now on the floor dead, I swept them up and chucked them outside. We did spend most of the night continuing to find more bugs and squishing them, and I did feel sorry for Fred and Lisa who were up top in the van that night and said all night they could feel bugs landing on them haha!
Day 15 – 24th Sept: Agnes water was meant to be a great spot to try surfing, so we booked a lesson. About 10 minutes before it started mind and rushed down to the surf shop. It would be Zoe, Fred and myself partaking in the lesson. Lisa and Jade opted to watch, while Ollie went out on his own board not really needing the basic surf lesson seeing as he has been doing it years. Although busy and a little rushed on time getting to the lesson it was actually alright. Fred and I had a far better time than when we just rented a board and tried it out for ourselves in Bali. I’m pretty sure first time Fred stood up and thereafter was basically like “well I’ve done it now might as well stop”. Zoe and I also managed to get to our feet on several occasions, although Zoe was pretty happy also just staying on her knees haha. Still, we completed the lesson and were all awarded a level 3 surf certificate, which Fred and I ripped into Ollie about for the remainder of the trip as on paper we were technically more qualified than he was. After the lesson, we spent the rest of the day on the beach before catching the sunset and enjoy some beers and card back in the campervan with everyone.
Day 16 – 25th Sept: Today we had another chilled out in day in Agnes Water on the beach. Ollie went surfing again and I went to go watch him from the rocks for about 30 minutes. Where I barely saw him catch one wave, he just seemed to float around not doing much. Clearly intimidated by the level 3 surfer watching him. Although the surfing was good, I think I shall stick to exploring underneath the waves as opposed to on top of them. Come early afternoon we made the drive toward Bundaberg where Lisa had completed her farm work. We were going to attempt the famous backpacker challenge in Bundaberg which is to down a fat lamb (a drink, not an animal) while walking the length of the bridge in Bundaberg. But seeing as it was Wednesday, no one really fancied getting steaming and rocking up to some dead bar, so we gave it a miss and rolled on through Bundaberg to a free campsite for the night. The toilets were absolutely rotten, but this was offset a little bit by the fact the stars were once again stunning.
That concludes week two of the East Coast road trip, once again apologies it took so long to get the second one finished after week 1. I would say next time it won’t be as long, but I’d probably just be lying again. Still, stay tuned as I will finish documenting the East Coast trip even if by the time I’ve finished doing so it’s about 4 months in the past. Just to update everyone further, I am currently living and working in Sydney so aren’t participating in too many adventures at the minute, but I’m sure in the future I will be back on the road exploring again.