Today is just a full day of driving, as we need to travel about 500 Km’s from Mission Beach to Airlie Beach. Our GPS tell us this is about 6 hours of driving, of which we spend about half in rain and drizzle. After about three hours the skies lifted and with a welcoming committee of just a few White clouds and a very acceptable 30 degrees we arrive in Airlie Beach.
This town lies conveniently close to Whitsunday Islands National Park, which consists of about 74 tropical islands and the sea in between. The Great Barrier Reef is also close, but at about 2,5 hours travelling by boat it is much further away than in Mission Beach, where the reef is only about 40 minutes away.
What is left of the day is spent doing some shopping and planning for the following two full days, as we’ll be here for three nights and two full days. We decide to go all in, and book two different tours! Tomorrow, we will therefore be on a boat, snorkelling and sailing the Coral Sea!
The cloud cover from yesterday has persisted over night, and even culminated into rain: during the night and throughout the morning rain has steadily fallen. Coupled with the strong winds, it means going out to sea is definitely not nice.
Mission Beach is proud to have the shortest commute from land to the Great Barrier Reef, and at about 40 minutes it is less than half of the time needed to travel from Cairns to the Reef. Because of this short commute, this town pretty much revolves around the Coral Sea and the Reef, without many alternatives. And so we decided to sleep in and tour the surrounding area by car this morning. We have searched for the elusive Cassowary, but it didn’t show itself today. We did find a lone male Agile Wallaby in town, who didn’t mind us watching him graze on the grass next to the road.
After lunch, the rains lifted and the cloud cover has become a little less dense. We found ourselves on the Wongaling Beach waterfront, walking the beach itself. Suddenly our eyes spotted some unusually shaped rocks in the sand, and upon further inspection they proved to be dead coral which had washed ashore! That is so weird! The stuff is strangely beautiful, and we created a “collage” on the beach, with the tropical island Dunk Island as its backdrop. We have spent quite some time on the beach, but afterwards decided to sit on our porch back at the resort with a nice cup of tea to get out of the wind.
Tomorrow, we have to drive all the way down to Airlie Beach, which is about 500km. The weather over there should be better, as the forecast in Mission Beach says the same as today for the next week, whereas Airlie Beach will have sun!
The weather today couldn’t be more different than what it was yesterday: it is grey, fully overcast with low hanging clouds and it drizzles continuously. The temperature dropped way down as well, and it now does not get over 18 degrees. With a day of sightseeing in high roads, this does not bode well.
As we only very briefly saw the Platypus we got up early for a rematch, and went back to the location of our first sighting. And, lo and behold, there it was again. This time we followed it quite a large portion of the creek until the rain started to get the better of us and we went back to have our breakfast at the B&B. The Platypus was really photogenic this time, and we have had a lot of fun watching it munching on the food it found under water.
This B&B is the very first one where we have to make our own breakfast, but after that was done we embarked on a journey further down South. This would take us along highway #1 via high roads and lots of waterfalls (Millaa Millaa, Zillie and Ellinjaa to name a few) down to the coast, specifically a town called Mission Beach. This town so happens to be smack dab in the middle of Cassowary country, so we have good faith in seeing one even though they are becoming more and more rare.
All documentation we have found suggests that seeing a Southern Cassowary means you can consider yourself very lucky. I guess we are then, as we spotted a big one just next to the road only a few hundred metres away from the town Mission Beach. What a majestic animal! It has bright blue and red on its neck and head, and on top of its head there is a very large boney crest. It is very much like an Ostrich, but with its war colours on. 🙂 Wow!
The weather has cleared up quite a bit since we have been here, and it even warmed up to about 28 degrees in the afternoon. We hope it stays this way for some time! We will be in a tow next to Mission beach tomorrow, Wongaling Beach as our Resort is located over here. We have nothing planned, so relaxation will be our main occupancy I guess.