My last two days in Cairns were spent hanging out (mostly by the lagoon) with Stine and Bella who had made their way up from Brisbane. Such a nice and relaxed way to end my vacation. But it didn’t really leave me with any time to catch up on blogging, and since I’ve been back in the real world other things have been prioritized.
However my next adventure isn’t exactly right around the corner (wish it was!) so I’m sure I’ll eventually find the time to do the last blogpost!
The day after my visit to Fraser Island I had to drive 740 kilometres north to Mackay. I’m not really a fan of driving THAT much in one day but it was all part of a bigger plan. About an hour north of Mackay lies Cape Hillsborough Beach where wild kangaroos come out to eat and jump around at sunrise which I really wanted to see.
Podcasts, TimTams and a couple of coffee stops along the way made the long drive quite tolerable.
Once in Mackay I joined a Friday night crossfit class at Crossfit Mackay because I needed to feel that the day wasn’t entirely spent on driving.
I was told to come back Saturday morning for the 7 o’clock workout because they usually went out for breakfast together afterwards. After a great workout with a small but very friendly group of people I was seriously doubting whether the kangaroos would be worth skipping workout and breakfast for but decided to stick to my original plan so I left the hotel at 4.40 the next morning to be at the beach half an hour before sunrise.
That meant that the sunrise and kangaroos really had something to live up to and to be honest they disappointed. I’d just read about the whole experience on some blog six months ago and it turned out that in the meantime the ‘roos have become very popular (not because of that blog though). So I’d expected this authentic and serene experience but in reality there were a bunch of people (and obviously no one knew how to be quiet) constantly using flashes on their cameras and the sun didn’t even bother with a beautiful sunrise.
So maybe I’d been better off sleeping a bit more and then joining the workout instead but I guess I would’ve always wondered if I’d missed out on something magical. You win some, you loose some.
When the kangaroos (or actually I think most of them were wallabies) started leaving the beach I made my way back to my car and drove to Airlie Beach for some much needed breakfast.
In the early afternoon I checked in to my luxurious hotel with an infinity pool and a view over the bay from my balcony (that’s what happens when you decide to book a hotel after having a couple of beers – thanks, past me!). Naïvely I thought that a nice hotel like that would be a calm place, in reality two large groups of families checked in that afternoon. There were about a million kids and they were jumping in and out of the pool, splashing, yelling, screaming and genereally just really annoying while the parents did nothing to stop it. Luckily I did have the pool to myself for a couple of hours that afternoon before they invaded the place but it wasn’t entirely the late afternoon and evening I’d imagined when booking the place.
Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and it was also my main reason for staying there for two nights. The next day I was booked on a day trip with the America’s Cup Yacht, Southern Cross.
We left the marina around 8am and set sail towards Tongue Bay. A couple of windy hours later we moored up at Tongue Bay and took the dinghy to the beach. A short but steep walk later we were gazing at the blue and turquoise hues in the water at Hill Inlet Lookout. Afterwards it was time for a closer look at the famous Whitehaven Beach down below but due to a tight schedule we didn’t get to spend much time in the silica sand before we had to head back to the boat.
After lunch on the boat we motored over to Dumbell Island for some snorkeling. However the visibility was so poor you couldn’t see the coral until it was right in front of you and because of the low tide it wasn’t possible to swim on top of the coral so it was a constant battle to stay close enough to see something but not so close that the tide pushed you into the coral. I’ve included a photo to show just how blurry it was. Everybody gave up pretty quickly and then it was time to set sail again and head back to the marina. After an entire day on the water with the sun in my face I’m pretty sure I slept well that night!
The next morning I was up at 6, left the apartment at 7.15, drove to Townsville where I caught the ferry to Magnetic Island at 11.30 for a full afternoon of adventures. Maybe one day I’ll learn to be a bit more realistic about what one actually has time to do in a single day – but there is just so much to see and do in Australia and so little time!
Anyway – when the ferry docked on Magnetic Island I jumped on a bus towards Horseshoe Bay. I got out at the beginning of Forts Walk which is a track leading to a historic World War II fort.
Due to my crazy schedule for the day everything was pretty much done in fast forward. There were a lot more ruins to explore on the walk than I had time to but to be honest my main reason for doing the trail walk was that it’s sometimes possible to spot wild koalas. And I still think they’re the cutest animal alive (well, besides elephants and possibly a few others I can’t think of right now..). Luckily a koala mum and her cub were sleeping in a tree right next to the trail so all the rush of the day weren’t for nothing!
The reason I had to hurry a bit on the walk was that I had an afternoon horseback ride to do. So after the trail walk I made my way to Horseshoe Bay Ranch. We were quite a large group doing the ride but they did a really good job splitting us up a bit so three of us got to do loads of trotting and cantering on the narrow paths through the bushland. We got to the beach at the same time as the rest of the group and then it was time to drop the saddles and change into our swimmers before we mounted the horses again and went into the water.
The water was a bit rough and to my surprise the horses were really affected sideways by the wavs so it was about using those leg muscles to stay on the horse! Despite several crossfit workouts this might have been the hardest workout I did in Australia! But it was so much fun and quite a childhood dream coming true!
I spent the night in Townsville back on the mainland but didn’t really have time to explore it. The next morning I left early to make my way to my last stop on the road trip: Cairns.