Wednesday 6 April: From Cairns the 9:15am executive-class Tilt Train (85th mode of transport) swiftly swaggers it's way south to Proserpine station in the heart of sugar-cane country where a network of black molasses freight lines criss-cross the roads. This is also the stop for the Sunshine Coast's Whitsunday Islands, it's raining heavily.
Thursday 7: Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsundays where all manner of craft set sail for the islands, from party boats and bouncy ocean rafts to sturdy catamarans and elegant tall ships. I would love to sail the islands on a tall ship but the seas are still too rough to enjoy. Arlie's man-made lagoon and waterside boardwalk are pleasant enough distractions during periods of sunshine but the wind is still high.
Saturday 9: With the sea conditions still rough out on the reef I opt for the reasonably stable fast catamaran ferry (85th mode of transport) Eye Spy out to the pleasant resort of Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays. Two large pools sit above the beach and from One Tree Hill there are good views over the neighbouring islands and the mountainous nature reserve to the south. Sadly, taking the even more stable Fantasea II back to Shute Harbour on the mainland, I realise the Great Barrier experience will have to be savoured on another trip.
Sunday 10: From an insect infested Proserpine station I catch the comfortable overnight Tilt Train south to Brisbane.
Photos of Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays.