I continued making may way down the East Coast with the Greyhound bus, travelling from Townsville to Airlie Beach - Party town and gateway to the famously beautiful Whitsundays.
As usual, I pre-booked my hostel using Hostel World and upon arrival had to make my way to the hostel on foot. The distance from the bus station to the hostel isn't bad in itself, but when you have been travelling on a bus for hours and when you are carrying the weight of 7 baby hippos in your backpack, it feels like the torturous trek will never end.
I eventually arrived at Base hostel, my home for the evening. First of all, it is right at the end of the main street which runs through Airlie Beach, thus meaning it is the further hostel from the bus station - not great. This was also not helped by the fact that on arrival I had to queue up for 15 minutes and then walk to my room (which was another 5 minutes away from reception) to find that the electronic key to the room wasn't working. I am a fairly patient person, but at this point I was ready to throw a real tantrum. When I eventually got into the room, I passed out from sheer exhaustion, thankfully I had another day in Airlie to sort myself out before starting the sailing trip.
I spent the next day exploring Airlie Beach. It is a pretty lively place, mainly composed of a highstreet lined with shops, bars and restaurants running parallel to the beach. I also bought things I needed for the sailing trip i.e. a soft canvas bag (because backpacks and bags with zips are not allowed on the boats) and alcohol (because what could be better than having a cold beverage after a hot day in paradise? p.s. glass bottles are not allowed on the boat). It was a lazy day and just what I needed before my next adventure.
The following day I was up bright and early to get myself down to the marina. After signing paperwork and meeting the group of people that would accompany me on this adventure, we walked down to our boat. There, nestled between the funky party boats and luxury yachts was an old and shabby looking vessel - APOLLO the sailing boat...our sailing boat to be exact. First impressions were not the best, we all looked at each other with a mixture of confusion and disappointment as we hopped on board. First impressions are not always right and it didn't take the group long to warm to our little boat especially as soon as the sails went up.
The three days on the boat were unforgettable. Our days were spent sailing between different islands, snorkelling, laughing, diving and just enjoying the heavenly views of one of the most stunning locations in the world. The evenings were reserved for watching the sunset, fishing, drinking on the top deck and star gazing.
The way back to land was what really made our boat better than all the others, with the wind behind us we sailed the entire way home. Our feet dangling from the side of the boat, touching the waves as we glided through the water.
On the last night, once back in Airlie the entire group met up for dinner and drinks to celebrate the end of an amazing trip and say goodbye.
I can't recommend a similar trip enough, this part of the world really is an absolute gem and a must do when travelling Australia.
Next on the itinerary some beach driving on Frazer Island!