So after much hesitation, I decided to go all the way up to the Whitsunday Islands and head back to Brisbane afterwards. When booking at the travel agency, I was proposed a cheap flight to the Whitsundays. “Well that’s great but what about the bus?”, I asked. “The bus?! Well it’s going to be 18 hours for the one-way journey and it will 3 times the price”. Ouch, sticking to my rule is definitely not easy… “I’ll take he bus then thanks.” The travel agent couldn’t believe it!
The bus wasn’t as bad as I feared it luckily and the journey went rather fast. One day later I was boarding on the S.V. Whitehaven in the port of Airlie Beach. I was off for a two days, two nights trip in these magnificent Islands. We stopped several times for some snorkeling and to visit the amazing white sand beach of Whitehaven. At night the skipper gave us a lesson on stars and showed us the different constellations and galaxies. I love the stars in the Southern hemisphere and had missed them a lot since the 6 months I spent in South Africa.
After my boat trip I had planned to stay a couple of days in Airlie beach, the city from which most boats leave. But I really didn’t enjoy the atmosphere there: all hostels are noisy and dirty with huge bars that look a lot like (very) cheap English clubs. To be honnest this is not really an exception and most very touristic cities on the East coast look like that. Probably the biggest plague I found when visiting Australia. So I decided to leave quickly and to head to 1770, halfway between Airlie Beach and Brisbane.
1770 has a great vibe, the locals are really friendly and the hostels are the best I’ve experienced on the East Coast. I had a great time in my hostel, called Cool Bananas. I ended up staying there for 5 nights! During that time I mainly relaxed, went to the beach, cruised around the town on a chopper to find kangaroos and wallabies, and finally learnt to surf! I absolutely loved it and it made it harder to leave Australia as I would have been glad to stay longer to become a bit better at it. However it wasn’t as though as I thought, I already managed to stand up several times and catch some good waves during the first lesson! I might make a little detour to Indonesia to practice some more!
I would have been stuck in Airlie Beach if I had booked flights and I would not have been able to discover 1770! So I’m very happy to have stuck to my rule so far! But the biggest challenge is still ahead of me: my 13 days on the cargo ship are approaching fast!