Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tassie to the Tropics: Whitsunday Islands

After a long journey traveling from Hobart to Brisbane to Proserpine to the islands via airplanes, shuttle buses, ferries and finally a golf cart, we arrived at Long Island, the first of two islands we'd be visiting in the Whitsundays.

We quickly settled in to the laid back atmosphere of the Break Free Resort and since it was low season, we weren't surrounded by crowds and could enjoy hammocks, pools, mini golf and a playground mostly to ourselves.

Our accommodation was nothing fancy but entirely adequate and reasonably priced thanks to a Groupon.

Brian and Ari relax in a seaside hammock. Or more accurately, Brain tries to relax in a seaside hammock with Ari!

Local resident, a bush turkey.

Agile wallaby and Bush stone-curlew

The resort provides pureed applesauce with honey so that guests can hand feed the rainbow lorikeets at a specified time of day.

The kids thought this was pretty awesome.

As did we all, though the birds have pretty sharp claws making this scene mighty uncomfortable!

A lovely view from one of Brian's morning runs.

Heather and Porter get an early morning snuggle in the hammock.

A sting ray in the shallows.

We decided to take turns doing water sports while in the Whitsundays so that each family could get some kid free time.  Brian, Jan and I went out ocean rafting and got to go snorkeling in two spots, Butterfly Bay and Manta Ray Bay.

Yellowtail fusiliers

I hadn't been in the water long when I decided to swim off to the far end of the bay and who did I find already snorkeling there but Grammy Jan!  Usually somewhat apprehensive in the water, Jan finally sorted out gear that she felt comfortable with and became a much more confident snorkeler on this trip.

At one point I found myself completely encircled by masses of these tiny fish. As I moved so did the whole school. So unbelievably surreal!

Parrot fish, a common but always stunning coral reef resident. While snorkeling you can hear the parrot fish munching loudly on the coral.

Giant clam

Bat fish

Our next stop was Whitehaven Beach which is said to the be the most photographed beach in Australia. Stunning.

I spotted this monitor lizard while walking back to the beach from the viewpoint.

Brian and I were fascinated by thousands of these tiny blue Soldier crabs that moved like an army and could, with the slightest disturbance, sink themselves into the sand and disappear.

Arriving back at Long Island, we were greeted with this scene and I thought about how conducive this place would be to going into the postcard printing business.

After three nights on Long Island, we took the ferry to Hamilton Island to spend three nights on the more developed island of the Whitsundays.

The boys survey the Hamilton Island marina from our balcony.

Grammy Jan and Porter

Riker uses his red spectacles as binoculars.

A neighborly sulphur crested cockatoo

One of many great views and sunsets

Family dinner.

Brian, Jan and I then spent a day looking after the five kiddos so that Heather, Aaron and Carl could go out on a snorkeling and sailing adventure to Whitehaven Beach and beyond.

Ari and Porter

Ari and Riker share Bananas in Pyjamas with Teagan and Cael and I'm pleased to get all four faces in one frame!

Another sunset for my postcard business.

The next day we took the entire crew out on a cruise to the Great Barrier Reef. The final destination was a floating platform with viewing areas that made it easier for the kids to experience the reef.

Riker explores the guide to fish on our submersible journey.

Teagan and Aaron snorkeling.

Another beautiful parrot fish.

Two tired mamas and two worn out boys on the boat back to the island.

The view from the highest point on Hamilton Island.

A panoramic image of Hamilton Island.

What a great week in one of Queensland's most well known tropical paradises! Next we were off to Byron Bay for the only week of the journey spent on mainland Australia!

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