While in Arlie Ken had received his Drifta Field Oven and pizza stone to go with the fire pit and was keen to try it out. So he found a free camp, stocked up on fire wood and went on a mission for us to have our homemade bush wood fired pizza’s for dinner.
The camp was only 120 clicks up the road so the drive was pretty leisurely. Stopping off at the big mango for the obligatory photo and to learn the history of the delicious mangos arrival to our shores. Here we also had a chat with a young couple we had seen riding up the Bruce Hwy. I think we had also seen them on another stretch of road some weeks back. From Chillea and riding from Brisbane to Cairns. Better them than me but alway admire their adventurous spirit.
The first free camp was a bit exposed (and I got the creeps from the bearded fisherman already on site), so we went a little further up the road and pull into a popular and busy camp ground. It was set back from the beach but protected from the wind. I have to confess I was not really into it tonight. There is always something to be doing washing, cleaning, cooking, blogging, schooling, researching where we are sleeping tomorrow or the next night and playing and looking after Llewella etc etc etc. But I think I was also just so tormented by the itching and scatching, I was too scared to go outside for fear of acquiring any more bites.
Anyway I prepped inside and Ken cooked outside. It was a pretty successful first run but its going to take a bit to learn how to get the coals just right and enough coals on top of the oven to brown the top but not burn the bottom. Yum Yum though.
Just stopping that one night here and on to Mission Beach tomorrow.
A travel day and tour day all in one today. We were keen to visit Bredl’s Wildlife Farm and with the only vacancies on the day we were traveling to Airlie Beach how fortunate it was pretty much on the way.
The Bredl Family has been working with animals and playing with crocs for 3 generation and their knowledge and perspective of the animals is largely based on their own experience and observation. Some of what they presented to us seemed in contrast with what you might hear from other conservationist and wildlife management folk. At first I wasn’t sure how this sat with me but in the end we had a wonderful day and leant loads. It was clear the brothers and family genuinly cared for the welfare and conservation of all animals and their perspective was interesting and thought provoking.
The whole day (four hours) was up close interactions with all the animals, cassowaries, kangaroos, koala’s, lizards, snakes, turtles and croc’s. It really was fantastic and we all came away feeling a lot more knowledgeable about crocs in particular and that has helped relieve the worries of traveling through croc country.
As we approach Arlie Beach it was with an air of excitement. The gateway to the Whitsunday Island, a destination that boast of such beauty and seems such an exoctic location to visit, I guess I just never imagined I would actually be here. That, and we were expecting a few parcel deliveries here.
The first thing that strikes you as you drive in is the colour of the water. Is it aqua? Is it turquoise? Hard to say but it’s definately memorable and beautiful and you cant help but release a long slow breath and just wind down a gear or two.
After exploring the Airlie foreshore and lagoon we paid a visit to the information Centre and booked ourselves a couple of really special tours. A day sailing, snorkeling and lazing aboard the Derwent Hunter and another taking to the air in a seaplane to explore the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven Beach and Whitsunday Islands. Both were spectacular the, but the flight just an amazing experience. One of the coolest things Ken and I have done, ever!
Our day on the Derwent Hunter sailing ship was excellent and educational. The staff were so knowledgeable sharing with us the history of the ship which was built in 1946 by Walter Wilson. He came out of retirement to build her and she was to be his legacy. Built in Tassie of the finest material she has weathered some serious storms and the fact she is still sailing the sea’s today is testimony to the craftmanship. Along with this fascinating story we were delivered a fabulous talk about the reef, the islands and the sea life that live here. All beautifully connecting to our investigation into bio diversity.
The snorkeling was enjoyable but the water was a little cold. Even with wet suits it just needed to be a touch warmer and we could have stayed out there all day, but we have to remind ourselves this is winter. We were fortunate though to see both a massive manta ray and whales. It’s just coming into the season, so that was an added bonus.
The day of the flight was an early start arriving at the airport in the dark to check in and getting fitted out with wetsuits. After a briefings form the pilot we took off not long after sunrise and flew to the outer reef, where the pilot landed in a lagoon and pulled up to a waiting boat. He then took us a little closer to the edge of the reef before we had an hour to do some snorkeling. Unfortunately the wind had got up and still being so early it was pretty cold. But who cares the whole things was totally amazing.
After refreshments we returned to the plane and took off heading back to the islands before landing again at Whitehaven Beach (apparently the best beach in the world). Powdery white sand and crystal clear waters. Apparently we have a lot of parrot fish to thank for this amazing beach. The parrot fish clean the corals on the reef by eating the algae attached to them, but it seems they like to have a wee munch on the coral while they are at it. They then poop it out in the form of the fine white powder that makes up amazing beach that is so fine you can clean your jewellery with it and not scratch it. Spectacular and being a sheltered from the wind we enjoyed a magical swim here.
Our final day here in Arlie beach we drove up the coast a bit to explore other beaches and found ourselves at Hideaway Bay. Unbeknownst to us there is a bar and resort out here so seemed only right to stop and have lunch while taking in the beauty of that touquise water again and build a couple of sand castles.
During our stay here the family we had met and befriend in Haliday Bay arrived and we enjoyed a couple of night socializing. The girls concocted a plan to cook dinner for both families and they did a splendid job. Working in the camp kitchen and impressing all with their Mexican themed night. Mint and watermelon coolie to drink, guacamole with corn chips, nachos, and mini pav’s with cream and fresh fruit! Totally awesome effort, bringing the two families together. Super proud of Charlotte and Willow. I didn’t even mind having to re wash all the dishes till 11pm. 😉🤪.
Arlie beach done and loved it! The only thing to put a dampener on things was being eaten alive by sandflies and or midges, who knows, but feels like I am going completely coo coo by the insecent itching and scratching! On the upside for Ken, while the mossies love him, the midges or sandflies have not pallet for his exotic blood, instead wishing to only feast on me. Great news for the rest of the family! #takingthisonefortheteam, #youcan’twinthemall.