The east coast of Australia showcases crystal clear water, glowing white sand, quirky beach side towns, and an array of wildlife. The month I spent travelling took me on adventures to the great barrier reef, through mangrove forests, around magnetic island, to the Whitsundays, Fraser island and many amazing beaches.
My Journey starts in Cairns, where the rainforest meets the reef. Cairns city is small by english standards, but it is laid back and simple. With a huge outdoor lagoon just by the water (because you can’t swim in the sea!) and a board walk and esplanade so you can walk along the coastline. Exploring the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest is a must while your here.
Even in the wet weather the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest were equally amazing. The reef is dotted with colourful coral and and different species of marine life appeared in every blink. A turtle swam by and its elegance in the water was beautiful.
In the Daintree Rainforest, although misty and being hit by torrential rain, we were lucky enough to see a cassowary, the Boyd’s Forest Dragon, and 3 crocodiles on the mangrove tour. The Daintree Rainforest is the oldest surviving rain forest on earth, and it is captivating. The views are amazing and the history of Captain Cook in this area adds to its mystery and your imagination runs wild.
Next stop – Mission Beach
Mission Beach is made up of four villages all connected by a huge stretch of coast line. Its the meeting point of two world heritage areas, the great barrier reef and the wet tropics rainforest, which creates the most wonderful environment.
It is also a great place to hire a car and take a road trip to see the amazing waterfalls in the surrounding area. Babinda Boulders offers a relaxing fresh water swimming hole enclosed by dense forest. But just a 5 minute walk and you can see the water as it rushes over and around huge boulders. Millaa Millaa falls (where the herbal essence advert is filmed) is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Australia. The water falls almost perfectly in line and the pool at the bottom is great for a quick dip.
Next stop – Townsville and Magnetic Island
Townsville is a small town and is well known for its army links. We did not spend much time here and instead got on a small ferry across to Magnetic Island.
Magnetic Island is a small yet beautiful place. The facilities on the island are minimal but the abundance of nature ensures their is lots to do. A morning hike to the east of the island takes you through the home of wild koalas which can be spotted sleeping in the tress.
The beaches are quiet and the perfect place to rest in the humidity. The most secluded one on the island can be found on the east of the island and is only accessible by 4×4. Or if driving isn’t your thing, from the main beach on the north of the island you can hire a kayak to take you through the stunning blue waters to a small beach only accessible by the water.
Having a car on the island also means you can take a trip to the western point. The beach here stretches as far as the eye can see, and you can see the sun set over the water.
Next stop – Airlie beach and the Whitsundays
Airlie beach is one of the more touristy spots, with chain clothing stores and your typical fast food restaurants. Just a 5 minute walk away from the centre will bring you to the sea front and wonderful views, with the Whitsundays in the distance.
A boat tour around the Whitsundays is a must for anyone travelling the East Coast. The Whitsundays are a collection of 74 stunning islands right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. You sail on the jewel blue water, jump off to snorkel with the local marine life and hop onto the Whitsunday Islands to see the glowing sands of Whitehaven Beach.
Whitehaven beach is a natural wonder that no photo can fully capture. As the water retreats it uncovers the pure white sand creating this wonderfully magical scene.
Phone service is minimal in this area but don’t let this put you off. Having a break from your phone and social media is one of the best feelings and gives you more time to socialise with fellow travellers on your boat. The days were mainly spent sailing around and snorkelling and the nights were spent casually. Once bed time came around we would fall asleep on the boat deck under the stars. It was truly amazing.
P.s. Don’t forget to catch the sunset!