Saturday, January 2, 2010

Lifestyles of the rich and famous

After Boxing Day festivities we were ready to see a very different part of Australia wrought with many deadly creatures both in the land and in the sea. Fortunately we did not encounter any of these creatures at all, so I will return to you all in one piece.

What we did see were some awesome sights up at the beginning end of the Great Barrier Reef. Some friends and I booked a pretty fabulous apartment not too far from the marina for 3 nights for some R&R. Getting there was a bit tricky though. In an effort to save some money, we flew into Macay (pronounced Mah- Coy) and were picked up by our farmer friend Sam. His family owns one of the largest cattle farming/ranches in all of Australia. He is the guy who brought us the Waygu beef a few nights ago.

Anyway, he acted as our shuttle to Airley Beach where we were meant to take a ferry over to Hamilton Island. Before we got to the ferry, we found an abandoned resort that people were still playing golf on. Everything was overgrown, and I was waiting for some kind of creature to jump out and attack. None did, but there was a big black bird that kept squawking at me.

On to Airley Beach for a lovely pizza and a ferry to the island. The ferry ride was really great because the water was so blue and we got to pass lots of other islands on the way. When we reached our destination, we were welcomed by a man holding a sign with Steve's name on it and we jumped into an oversized golf cart and away we went. Now that's service. Other people had to wait around for a bus. Not us, we travel in style!

The apartment was amazing. We had 2 balconies, and the whole place was in different levels starting with the kitchen, then down a couple steps to the living room, then around the corner and down some steps to bedroom 1, and finally down a couple more steps to master bathroom with extra large tub with jets. It felt like lifestyles of the rich and famous. We even got our own golf cart to drive around while we were there.

Throughout the next couple days we spent time relaxing on the beach, visiting some pools, and going on an excursion to a beach with some of the finest sand in the world. I believe it is made from silicate. The beach is called Whitehaven Beach. Before we went though we had to take a very bumpy and rain-drenched boat ride out to the island. The nice people taking us gave us ponchos and a mint to help us cope. Once we got there though, the weather cleared up. Upon arrival to this location, we saw some sort of yellow spotted monitor lizard wandering around in the woods. Apparently they are harmless, but I wasn't taking any chances. The beach is a national park, so there was all sorts of wildlife hanging around including some really large ants and other prehistoric looking bugs. We decided to pass on the swimming because we weren't really excited about donning the stinger suits with the hood and mittens, but we enjoyed the sand.

Sadly, after that trip, it was time to leave the island. Fortunately we were flying out of Hamilton, so we had some awesome views from the airplane of the reef.  Even though we didn't do any snorkeling trips it was great to just be near such an amazing part of nature.