Part 7: Arlie Beach and Whitsunday Island

Date: 31.12.15. (Day 12)

Destination: Arlie Beach

Accommodation: Campsite “Flametree”

We left our campsite in Pomona at 6.30 am and hit the road as there were 985 km ahead to our next destination – Arlie Beach. We were really  looking forward to getting there because of its closeness to the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands!! Plus, we were going to spend New Year’s Eve there :))

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The Australian government does its best to avoid car accidents. For example, we could see a lot of signs with different questions to answer during our journey. Some kilometres ahead you could find the answers to the questions. In addition, along the road we found some points called “driver reviver” where we could have a coffee, juice, and some cookies for free. I think it’s a great idea to make drivers have a rest and this way prevent  car crashes!!

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Driving on Australian roads is quite simple due to low traffic. My only worry was not to run over an animal as there’re stretches with no fences. I can say my driving in Australia was a success except one bird that hit our car. I hope it survived.

After many kilometres, we finally got to our campsite “Flametree” at about 6 pm. We had booked a bungalow for that night with a private bathroom, so we didn’t have to put up a tent. We went to a supermarket to buy some food to make a special dinner as it was the last day of the year.

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We had some Bowen mangoes for dessert. We still remember its intense flavour incomparable to the mangoes we eat over here.

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Then we drove to Arlie Beach. There, sitting on the sand and wearing a T-shirt and shorts we welcomed 2016. Moreover, we were one of the first to do so as we were in Australia!! It was the first time we spent New Year’s Eve in summer and in a tropical place siting on the beach and watching fireworks. Such an amazing experience!

Date: 01.01.16. (Day 13)

Destination: Arlie Beach

Accommodation: Campsite “Flametree”

We started our day going to the town center to book excursions for the following days: Whitsunday Island and the Great Barrier Reef.

Then we put up our tent on the same campsite for the next few nights.

We spent the afternoon in Arlie Beach.

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It isn’t advisable to go for a swim on this beach as there’re some hazardous jellyfish.

jellyfish.jpg In places like this there’re always artificial lagoons to take a dip safely and it was what we did 🙂

It was a quiet day to relax and recharge our batteries for the next adventures.

Date: 02.01.16. (Day 14)

Destination: Whitsunday Island

Accommodation: Tent on the beach

Early in the morning we drove to the port. A boat, which we had booked before, took us to Whitsunday Island. Together with other 73 paradise islands, it makes up the Whitsunday archipelago. Located in the Coral Sea and next to the Great Barrier Reef, these islands are real gems on the western end of the Pacific Ocean.

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We got to the island at about 9 am. We had the whole day ahead to enjoy the stunning beach called Whitehaven Beach. It is considered to be one of the best beaches in the world. It’s 7 kilometres long and its silica sand is super white and fine. The curious thing about it is that it reflects the sunlight, so you can walk barefoot without getting your feet burned.

Whitehaven Beach

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At the beginning of this beach we put up our tent on its white sand. There’re limited camping spots (it’s said to be the most eco-friendly beach in the world). There’re no buildings on this island, except some toilets. It’s the nature in its pure state. We were very lucky that there were still some spots available for camping when we booked the boat. It was definitely the best place where we have camped so far: the beach with such white sand that it seemed snow, surrounded by the lush tropical vegetation, clear warm  sea and views of other islands. The paradise was found.

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After settling down, we went snorkelling. It was a rehearsal before the Great Barrier Reef. As in Arlie Beach, there’re also hazardous small jellyfish, so they recommend wearing a wetsuit to protect your skin. It isn’t very attractive, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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In the afternoon we crossed the island. As we were walking, we were hearing noises all the time. Lots of lizards live on the island. We saw some big ones on the beach and near our tent. One leaned on the door and was looking at Pau :))

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We arrived at this beach.

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After  that we got back to our Whitehaven Beach. During the day boats bring tourists here, but in the late afternoon and at night, when all the tourists are gone, the whole island is just for you and few people who spend the night here. We enjoyed greatly peace and this beautiful afternoon.

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We made the dinner.

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We shared the dinner with another couple of an English guy and an Italian girl (Ben and Julia). They had brought a mini barbecue grill and we had some Bowen mangoes for dessert. The sky was full of stars. The idyllic night to remember forever.

Sleeping at night in the tent on the sand was very special. I woke up in the middle of the night and heard a lot of noises made by all the animals that were around. I was in touch with the nature in one of the most beautiful corners on Planet Earth.

Date: 03.01.16. (Day 15)

Destination: Whitsunday Island – Arlie Beach

Accommodation: Campsite “Flametree”

We started our day going for a walk along the gorgeous long Whitehaven Beach. When we set off, it was already cloudy and it poured down during our stroll. We didn’t mind that as we were so happy walking along the white beach. I love walking on the beach and this one was out of this world. There was nobody around. Just us and some seagulls. Despite the rain, we got to the end of the beach and there was a small inlet. The landscape was just awesome. We didn’t take our camera with us, so this image will stay engraved in our minds forever.

We got to our campsite completely drenched.

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I dried myself as I could and we were waiting for the rain to stop. Initially the boat was supposed to pick us up that morning, but due to the storm we didn’t know for sure if it was going to arrive. Suddenly we saw the boat, but our tent was still to take down and all the things to pack. It was like when a Formula 1 car makes a pit stop. We threw everything quickly into a suitcase. Everybody was as stressed as we were. But the best was still to come…

The boat couldn’t approach the shore nor lower its ramp because of powerful waves. We had to throw our belongings onto the boat and help each other to get on it in motion. We didn’t care about jellyfish anymore as we had to enter the sea up to our waists. We were risking it all 🙂 I was laughing out loud because all this situation seemed to be taken out of a comedy film. I had just put on some dry clothes and now I had to get wet again. Next to me there was a German guy tripping over when trying to get on the boat and  I just remember seeing his flip flops on his knees. It was a tense moment but absolutely hilarious at the same time. When we were on the boat going to Arlie Beach on the choppy sea, Pau was asking me if we picked up everything, but I didn’t even care if we had forgotten something. I was just happy feeling safe aboard. What a return journey to the mainland!

We said goodbye to Ben and Julia and arrived at our campsite at about 1 pm. We had to do the laundry as everything was full with sand.

We spent the afternoon in Arlie Beach having an ice ream and walking around.

We had a pizza and got ready for the Great Barrier Reef!!

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We were about to live another highlight of the trip.

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In the next post I’ll tell you everything about it. Stay tuned!!

 

 

 

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