We drove for the best part of a day down to Home Hill for a stop off on our way to the Whitsundays. It’s a tiny town on the side of the highway but a lovely campsite for our stop.
The second day we made the last few hours of our journey down to Airlie Beach, the main destination for tourists wishing to venture to the Whitsundays. The highstreet was full of restaurants and bars – although there were plenty of resorts about, this was definitely a backpacker destination.
Due to cyclone damage, most companies were no longer offering diving in the area, as was our original plan. The coral here had taken winds of over 230km, so was mostly colourless and covered in debris. We were told, however, that it takes 2-3 months and the coral will be back to its old self. We opted, then, for a sailing trip on the beautiful Providence. The day was fantastic; we started by hoisting the sails and sailing for two hours to Whitehaven Beach.
After about an hour of paddling in the shallows and feeling the sand between our toes, we boarded the boat and made our way to do a spot of snorkeling. The effects of the cyclone were easy to see, but luckily some spots of coral had bounced back already meaning we got to see a great array of colours in the coral as well as clams and fish.
We boarded the boat once again, making our way back to the marina. This time though, the wind was behind us, so we sailed without the aid of the motor for a full two hours. There’s something beautifully peaceful about making your way across the waves with no motor to push you along.
We got back to the marina at 4.30pm, but this was not the end of our day! We had also booked the sunset tour on this boat, and we are so glad we did. We boarded the boat once again at 5pm and were handed champagne this time, and a seat on the port side to get the best view of the setting sun. Once again the sails were hoisted, and for two hours we drifted around the bay with cheese and wine and a fantastic sunset over the Whitsundays.
Once the sun had set, the view was even more spectacular, for the stars shone like I’ve never seen before. It was a truly spectacular day. The next day we had a rest and sorted ourselves out for the next few days ahead, having made a change in our plans and needing to do some more research on where we could dive the GBR!