Shake, Rattle and Roll: Sailing the Whitsunday’s

With a glimmer of hope on the job horizon and a whole bank holiday weekend ahead (not that it matters much to the unemployed) it was time to take a holiday from the holiday and head up the East Coast.

Excited to see friends I’d not seen in years, Gen and I escaped the Melbourne drizzle full of promise of sun, sailing and beach side bliss. The trip would begin in Brisbane heading down to Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast before a mammoth drive up to Airly beach, jumping off point for the Whitsunday islands. From there we would take a three day cruise round the islands, sunbathe and snorkel to our hearts content before heading back down with a stop off at Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. It all sounded perfect, Gen had three new bikinis and we were very excited.

A bloody big country

It seemed like we had been on the plane two minutes yet when we stepped off we could have been in another country. Brisbane was hot hot hot! All perfect and shiny, a world away from the grey skies we had left behind, even the Boris bikes here were sunny yellow making the streets look all jolly. I also had it on good knowledge from a Brisbonian that it rarely gets below 20 degrees and ‘when it does people seriously start to have breakdowns’.

Wow. It made me think someone messed up and built Melbourne in the wrong place.

Can someone bring Melbourne up here please?


Reunited with Rachel and Dixon who now live in New Zealand, we hung out in their plush rented apartment ready to head out to Surfers Paradise the next day.

Well, that was the plan, until we realised we had booked accommodation for the following weekend. Still it was a happy mistake as we ended up staying in Coolangatta, which is just the place you picture when someone says they are moving down under to live the good life. The beaches were beautiful the streets immaculate and everyone was tanned fit and gorgeous.


Equally as picture perfect was Surfers Paradise. Stretching along the Gold Coast next to an impressive skyline the sand was white and the waves rolling, good news for Dixon who got to surf and escape us girls talking about what we ate yesterday.

Fitting in




We grew in size with the addition of Spacey (yes it’s kind of his real name, even his mum uses it), also living in New Zealand, and set off the following morning for an epic road trip. When I told some Australian friends we were planning on doing the drive from Brisbane to Airly in a day they looked at me blankly with a ‘are you serious’ face. But we chose to rely on google maps over local knowledge which told us it was a mere 12 hours.


A few hours in it was time to obey the Queensland road signs which advised us to ‘keep playing trivia! – it may save your life!’ and ‘arrive alive’. By the end of a few games of ‘I went to the supermarket and I bought…’ and ‘my vagina is’ our alphabet skills were second to none, certainly keeping Dixon on his toes as main driver.


In fact it’s amazing how we all kept each other amused for the 16 HOURS it took to get there, stopping off only a few times in small towns that looked like something out of a wild Wild West film. Still, we had arrived in one piece and were ready to meet the rest of the gang the next day.

South Hemisphere Crew!


As we bordered the boat taking up almost half of the space we were all in good spirits, even though the sky was grey and I was starting to regret my packing choices.

And my fears were not unfounded. As we got going with a briefing that included ‘make sure you locate your life jacket because this thing can sink faster than shit through a goose’ we started to rock, and roll and uuuggghhhh..

No sooner than half an hour in and Rachel had turned green, I was soaked, Gen wanted to get off and Tom was counting down the days till he could go back to Sydney pay people their superannuation

The boys on the other hand didn’t seem phased by the waves, multitasking beautifully singing and drinking beer whilst holding on. And given that 60% of the boat were already drunk and none of us had located our nearest life jacket I worried it’s was only a matter of time before someone (probably Baz) ended up in the sea.

But after a rough start, girls slightly smug that we had slept whilst the boys looked like they needed to swim off that hangover ASAP we donned up our blue morph suits, dived in and gawped at the scenes below. Which was about the time I started to really appreciate where we were, even if I was cold wet and wanted to vomit 80% of the time, you don’t get a turtle with your breakfast back on dry land do you.

And so as we sailed back on day three, the sun finally making an appearance we laughed that whilst we certainly didn’t wear any of those new bikinis the whole thing had defiantly been an experience…

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