FEB 21 // DAY 23

We had a long day of driving in front of us and left Parnella Park early. Our stop for lunch in Townsville was enjoyable. We considered spending more time there, but opted instead to book it to the Whitsundays. I heard the national park was a must-do and boy am I glad we gave those islands enough time.

After checking into our hostel, our first stop was a tour company office, “just to look and see what’s available.” Within ten minutes of speaking with the owner, Keith, I was slated to help sail a trimaran in the weekly race on the next day and we were booked for a tour on The Bullet–a giant speedboat that visits multiple areas around the islands–for the following day. Keith was a character: thick Australian accent, contagious zeal for sailing and pride in his fleet. Our chance meeting made our time in the Whitsundays absolutely unforgettable.

Our hostel, Airlie Beach YHA, was one of our favorites in Australia. After dinner, we chatted with new Swedish friends Andrea and Mickela and did some serious damage on the bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label we procured at the bottleoo across the street. I was surprised we managed to stay awake so long, after the harrowing night before. We thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and cooler night air, until we couldn’t keep our eyes open and headed up to our air-conditioned room.