Our next stop after Fraser Island was Airlie Beach. This was a mammoth 12 hour drive (including stops for food and the toilet). Luckily me and Stew could share the driving but it was still a very tiring day. Because my visa ran out on 10th January and we wanted to stay in Sydney for New Year we were on very tight schedule. Obviously this wasn’t ideal and I wouldn’t advise any of you to travel the east coast of Australia in just a week! But how many people can say they’ve seen the Sydney New Years Eve fireworks? No one I know anyway and it was definitely worth it 🙂
Anyway back to Airlie Beach. This is the closest resort to take a boat trip to the Whitsunday islands. Unfortunately the forecast for our visit was torrential rain and thunderstorms so we put off booking anything until the last minute. This meant that all the boat trips sold out as we forgot it’s currently still school holidays in Australia. It was really gutting to know that we wouldn’t get to visit Whitsunday Island or Whitehaven Beach, however we were determined to make the most of our time in Airlie Beach.
Our very lovely campsite receptionist equipped us with a map and lots of destinations to visit. First up we visited Shute Harbour and did a 2 hour trek up Mount Rooper which offered stunning views across the bay of the Whitsunday islands. This was fantastic! Although the walk said it was moderate and I would definitely say it was harder than that. Maybe it was because it was so humid but I don’t think it gets much cooler in Queensland! We also saw a few creepy crawlies on the way including two spiders which we both screamed at and ran quickly away from haha!
After this we drove back to Airlie Beach and took a dip in the lagoon there. This was beautiful! Like a giant swimming pool with a beach and grass. Blissful! We then grabbed some lunch and embarked on another journey out towards Conway Beach where we stopped at Cedar Creek Falls. Here is a natural spring and huge waterfall that you can swim in and around. It was freezing when we first got in but so relaxing and beautiful when you get over that bit.
After a quick shower and actually putting on some make up for the first time in days we headed to Cape Gloucester to watch the sun set and have dinner. Here we strolled along the beach at Hideaway Bay which was simply stunning. I felt like we were in the Caribbean with a long white sanded beach, still turquoise waters with a back drop of rainforest mountains. It’s so remote here too that it meant we were almost the only ones on the beach. Having dinner with a view like that was magical!
Unfortunately not everything can go to plan when you travel and although we missed out on Whitehaven Beach I’m still so happy with our day of exploring and we figure we can always come back one day in the future 🙂