Day 18 – Yongala and Barrier Reef diving

Got up early to get to the Alva Beach dive shop for our trip to the Yongala. After been kitted out with wetsuit, BCD, snorkel and fins we got on the boat for our 40 min trip to the Yongala. Weather was fairly benign with light winds.

We got a briefing on the wreck and after 40 mins we got to the site, in the middle of nowhere.
After the boat was tied up on the buoys we went down and the when we got to 20m we saw the bow of the Yongala appear.
While swimming along the wreck we saw: barracudas; manta rays, sting rays, giant trevally, groupers and many small fish. We also saw a very inquisitive turtle.
After about 30 mins the air was running low so had to surface again.
Get our cylinder changed and after an hour it was time for the second dive. This time the current was much less which allowed us to spend more time exploring. We saw more loads more coral, snakes, turtles, trevally and also saw a guitar shark.
And after 35 mins the oxygen was getting low so time to surface again. A good day diving.
We then had the 40 min trip back to Alva beach followed by a BBQ. Got back to Magnetic Island by 5pm.

Day 17 – Markets and shops

The Sunday Market was held at at Horseshoe bay today so Ali and I decided to take the bus there and have a browse. Ron and Alan were setting off  back to the mainland, staying in Ayr, then the next day doing a big dive on the barrier reef. They will be diving down to a wreck called the Yongala.
So we arrived at the market and it was a bit disappointing.  Not many stalls and not very interesting!
So had my usual iced coffee and we went back to base. I did some painting and we swam in the resort pool and generally had a lazy afternoon.The pool at the resort is created in a natural stone rather than the usual turquoise blue.

Day 16 – Boat trip with Adam

We decided to take a boat trip around the whole island and try some snorkelling on the reef today.
Met our skipper called Adam down at the quay. There were only 6 of us so lots of space to see views and move about the boat.  We set off at a fast space and slowed down as we drew closer to shore. Adam knew the coast so well around the island, he very skillfully avoided the rocks and reefs.
Some of the rock formations were amazing.

We all went snorkelling on the reef and saw some amazing coral and fish. It was a bit choppy but  warm in the sea and  better in the water than out.

Day 15 – The Forts and more koalas

Today we set off early at 7.45 am, to do the Forts walk. If we had left it too late the heat would have been unbearable. It was already 27 degrees by 8.30 am. This walk took us to a Forts complex operated during World War II. However the main reason we did the walk was to spot wild Koalas in their natural environment. The area is home to the largest free roaming colony in the world. We were not disappointed and saw three Koalas.

We reached the peak after an hour walking . It was very hot but there was  a fantastic view from the top so worth it. Ali and Prue performing on flat rock.

Day 14 – Magnetic Island – Horseshoe Bay

It is Ali’s birthday today so she invited us around for breakfast (in the bure next door!).

We then also decided to hire a car and explore this island a little. We first drove to Alma bay where we saw more rock wallabies
We then went on to the koala sanctuary where we saw turtles, crocodiles, wombats, snakes, lizards and koalas.
We then continued to the north of the island at Horseshoe bay where we had a swim and lunch.
And then back for dinner at the local Mexican restaurant where we found a local visitor.

Day 13 – Magnetic Island. Our first day here.

Our first morning took us on an exploration walk. We walked along the pier and saw a few very shy rock wallabies.

We walked quite  along way past a couple of long beaches, had a drink and ended up at Alma Bay where Prue took a swim. The sea was very warm with a few waves.

Saw some interesting trees and animals along the way.
As it was getting rather hot, we decided to go back to out place and go for a swim. Had a barbecue in the evening, ozzie style.

Day 12 – Bowen and the trip Magnetic Island

Today was a travelling day. We set off from Airlie Beach up to Bowen. Stopped there to do the Mango photo although we have done it before 9 years ago. Then a drive up Flagstaff  hill only to find the cafe closed on a Tuesday. So we just drove on to Townsville  to catch the ferry to Magnetic Island. Bit of a a long boring drive as scenery was the same for miles and miles.

So finally arrived on Magnetic Island. Found our Bure where we are staying for a week and met up with Ali and Alan. Lovely to reunite with them and catch up on news. Ron has not seen them for over 5 years. So hot here and not even summer yet! Had  a swim in the pool and discussed some ideas for the week.

Day 11 – Airlie Beach, Lagoon and the Duck

After a rainy night we woke up to sunshine and a wonderful view from our rain forest retreat.
breakfast on the terrace overlooking the Whitsunday islands.

An early start and we walked along the path near the beach and had a swim in the blue lagoon.
After quite  a lazy afternoon we took a sunset tour on the duck bus. More like a party bus by the end of the evening. The duck took us straight into the water and toured around the bay until sunset. The guide giving us snippets about millionaires who owned the huge mansions living along the coast. Music and fairy lights when it grew dark and a few jolly trippers who were drinking as we  cruised along. Then we were all encouraged to sing along when the duck drove up the ramp onto the road.
A lot of people waving as we drove past. Don’t think they would do that in the UK.
The duck bus.
One of the millionaire mansions

Day 10 – Waterfall, Airlie Beach, rain and rain forest

Left our lovely apartment in Mackay today but not before we visited the roof terrace and admired the views from the top. They also had a large chess set for customers to play with.

We then drove on to Airlie Beach and on the way stopped at the major tourist attraction at Cedar Creek. The waterfall is supposed to be spectacular but due to the recent draught this had completely disappeared . Not even a trickle..
The little lake at the foot of the waterfall however was very inviting.
We went for a leisurely stroll along one of the foot paths and views of some of the islands were impressive.
We then checked into our “Rainforest Retreat” which was a lovely spacious place with hammocks, Jacuzzi, and spectacular views from the bedrooms and terrace.



Late in the afternoon it started to cloud over and rained in the evening. We now know why it is called the rain forest as it bucketed down, about 20mm in a little over an hour.

It will be lovely weather again tomorrow..

Day 9 – Cows, kangaroos and swimming in Mackay

Early start again as it is a long drive to Mackay today. Went slightly off the beaten track (also known as unsealed roads) and saw loads of Zebu cattle, Kangaroos and other wildlife.

We got to Mackay  by mid afternoon and went for a walk by the river. Interesting sculptures of whale bones.

Went for a swim in the lagoon swimming pool next to the hotel.

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