Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Qld.

The Big Mango at Bowen has fabulous mango sorbet, made locally.

At Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays, we stayed at the Island Gateway Holiday Park where we had stayed on our previous visit to Airlie Beach. It’s lovely and green, lots of trees, very quiet, large sites, and lots and lots of birds,

For the past 20 years they have feed the birds each afternoon at 4pm.

The weather wasn’t particularly good for a day out on the water – overcast, rain and strong winds – so we opted for a sunset cruise, which was excellent. The Providence V is a 30 year old, mono-hull sail boat.

 Providence V is a replica of the Grand Banks fishing boats that plied the waters around Newfoundland. A classic gaff-rigged schooner, she has the shape of a Bluenose on the back of the Canadian dime. She is unique as although her plans came from the Mystic River Museum at Seaport, Connecticut, she is built out of all North Queensland timber.

In 1992, she starred in the movie “Survive the Savage Sea” based on the true story of the Robinson family who sailed around the world. Their boat was sunk by killer whales and they survived in a life raft for 38 days before they were picked up by a Japanese freighter near the Doldrums.

We seemed to have got caught up in the Wednesday night yacht races. Our skipper seemed to know them all very well and there was a fair bit of heckling going back and forward.

Because of the crocodiles (yes, they have them here too) there is a wonderful big lagoon on the beach in town. It’s free to enter and there are lifeguards. Every mango tree we saw was heavy with fruit – but not yet ripe, sadly.

This is a fabulous seafood shop.

The Book Boutique is our favourite shop, a must visit. They sell mostly second hand books.

Heading south, cheers til next time. Helen and Tim