After catching up with the family in South East Queensland and exploring the magnificent Fraser Island, we still had a few weeks until we wanted to be home. Given our nomadic lifestyle over the previous five months we were getting itchy feet being in the one place for too long so we decided to drive up to The Whitsundays for a couple of weeks and check out what was on offer. Our decision was also based on what much of our decision making has been based on – the iPhone weather forecast!
From Mum and Dad’s farm in Wamuran to Airlie Beach is about 1100kms and we quickly figured out there’s not a whole lot of stuff to see along the way (other than Sugar Cane farms!). Not that we minded as we’d clocked up enough kilometres of driving by this stage that we were pretty comfortable being in The Prado.
Because we weren’t originally going to head up to the Whitsunday’s we hadn’t really done any research so weren’t sure what to expect. We discovered that Airlie Beach is the mainland hub of the Whitsunday’s and is a backpackers tourist town and while beautiful, it doesn’t have any white sandy beaches with camp grounds nearby. All of the camping around the National Parks of the Whitsunday’s is by boat transfer to an island and you take your esky and tent with you. This didn’t really work for us given everything we have is attached to the car (i.e. rooftop tent and car fridge) so we checked into a caravan park on the mainland at Airlie Beach and booked ourselves into an Ocean Rafting tour. We figured this was a good option as it was cheap and fast and meant we got to see a lot in one day.
The boat picked us up from the Coral Sea Resort and took us out for a look at some of the islands such as Daydream Island, Hamilton Island etc. and then we stopped for a snorkel on one of the many great coves available to check out the coral and underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef.
We then went to the shifting white sands of Whitehaven Beach and did a bush walk up Hill Inlet lookout to get some seriously nice photos of the white sands and turquoise waters from an aerial view.
We spent the remainder of the week up at the Whitsunday’s in Airlie Beach testing out the restaurants, markets and hanging by the Lagoon Pool.
Leaving Airlie Beach (and the Whitsunday’s) we slowly made our way South again stopping at a few nice places along the way to check out some more beaches and fishing spots before spending a few more nights with my family on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.
We had a rendezvous organised for an extended weekend in Byron Bay to meet up with our friends Pat, Jules & Gabi and their little guy Jack. Pat met up with us a little earlier than the others so we went out to Bundjalung National Park and did some camping by the beach and spent some time fishing and beaching around Ballina before heading back up to Byron Bay to check into the house that Jules and Gabi had organised.
The house gave us plenty of time for chatting around the BBQ and many stories of our travels were discussed with Jules and Gab, remembering of course that their year long journey from London to Sydney in a Land Cruiser was the inspiration for our trip! It was great to be able to discuss with like minded friends some of the special things we’d all seen.
From Byron Bay, Tee and I took another week to slowly work our way back down into the reality of Sydney which after 172 nights on the road, 4000 litres of diesel and almost 28000 kilometres marked the end of our Journey!!
Hopefully our pictures and brief words on the blog have given you a small insight into our truly amazing trip of a lifetime to drive around Australia. If you were to take one piece of advice from us, it’s get out there and do it yourself!!! Australia has SO MUCH to offer that we didn’t even know existed and the best time to see it is right now before you’re too old to climb down into the gorges!
More photos of the final leg of the trip are here
Stay tuned for the next blog, I think I’m going to collate some of our favourite photos from the trip into a single slideshow