From Atherton Tablelands, it took us 2 days to reach out next destination. Leaving Yungaburra, we drove along Curtain Fig Tree Road and got onto the Atherton Malanda Road which would take us down off the High Country and back to the East Coast bringing us out at Innisfail.
Below is a photograph of the Curtain Fig Tree found in the Curtain Fig Tree National Park. The large fig tree is unique because the extensive aerial roots, that drop 15m to the forest floor, have formed a ‘curtain’.
We now followed the coast line south on Bruce Highway A1, spending the night at Mission Beach. Once we had set up camp we went for a drive to get a feel for the place. I thought before arriving we may perhaps stay a few nights but I just wasn’t getting that vibe, so we left early in the morning.
We arrive at Stop 6 late afternoon. Welcome to Pioneer Bay, launching pad to the Whitsunday Islands. The 74 Whitsunday Islands lie between the northeast coast of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. Most of the islands are uninhabited. (Picture courtesy of Google Maps)
We based ourselves at the Seabreeze Caravan Park in Cannonvale, walking distance to the harbour and Airlie Beach town centre. Initially booking in for 3 days, we kept finding things to do and extended our booking every few days. We ending up staying a week.
Click on photographs below to enlarge.
A highlight of our stay was spending a day sailing with Airlie Beach Day Sailing. The charter is quite exclusive, accommodating for a maximum of 8 (Adults Only) guests. We were really spoilt as there was only one other guest this day.
The food is prepared by a local French Chef, Alain Antonius. Morning Tea, a Gourmet Lunch and Chocolate Gateaux on the sail home. Coffee, water, fruit juices and a selection of teas are offered constantly through the day. You can BYO alcohol.
The weather determines where the Skipper sails the boat but usually the guest can expect 3 stops incorporating swimming, snorkeling, beach bumming. This day the wind gusts were over 40 kts. Not good weather for any of the above but bloody fantastic for some serious sailing. So sailing we did and I was delighted.
We did throw ourselves in the water to do a bit of lazy reef snorkeling. The skipper jumped in the tender and threw out some ropes then drove slowly over the top of the reef that was about 3 mtrs below us. Talk about making it easy. Visibility was quite poor due to the weather but he had tucked us in behind an island and the water was very calm in this cove. Nothing worse than snorkeling in a washing machine.
The region was smashed by Cyclone Debbie in 2017 and is still recovering. Some of the resorts are still closed. Others are open for day visitors only whilst infrastructure is being repaired. The reef system was damaged but recovering quickly. Perhaps partly due to the tight regulations imposed on tourism operators which minimises stress on the reef.
We could have just kept on travelling but time has run out and our next stop is home which will take us 2 days driving to reach.