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Coffee Travel / Australia Travel / Queensland Travel / Whitsunday Islands / Photo Gallery / → All Tags
Tucked away in the heart of sugar cane fields on a tropical island is a little gem for those preferring a jolt in the morning or a little buzz throughout the day. Yes, friendsit is coffee, and the place is called Whitsunday Gold Coffee Plantation.
The plantation, one of the largest down under, is located in a small rural town of Proserpine in north Queensland. While the majority of the land here is devoted to sugar cane fields, the founder of the plantation took a chance to grow coffee bushes and got lucky that the climate and soil was just right. The region is not best known for fields and fields of green leafy plants; it is considered the start of the Whitsunday Region which is the southern most point of the Great Barrier Reef. So, naturally, it's far better known for its ocean than its land.
Train Travel / Australia Travel / Queensland Travel / Queensland Rail / Hamilton Island / Great Barrier Reef / Whitsunday Islands / Island Travel / Beach Travel / Photo Gallery / → All Tags
Sunset from Yacht Club
We have told you about the unique travel experiences that Queensland Rail offers to travelers, and even invited you in to have a look at the rail cars themselves. Now it's time to talk destinations, and this one's a doozy.
Boarding The Sunlander train in the Aussie city of Brisbane, the one-night rail journey was chockablock with wining and dining. After aperitifs, we retired to our berth to find it was magically made up into a single bed (You have to love top-notch customer service). When we awoke, we were just approaching the inland town of Proserpine, Queensland. Showering and breakfasting while whizzing past sugar cane fields is just one of those treasured, "only on a train" moments.
Wish You Were Here / Travel Snapshot / Australia Travel / Great Barrier Reef / Whitsunday Islands / Beach Travel / Island Travel / The Best Job in the World / Queensland Rail / Hamilton Island / → All Tags
There are very few things that can beat a tropical island. Today we came to you from a tropical island in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. More specifically, a group of islands called the Whitsundays. The exact island name is Hamilton Island, also known as the home of the Best Job in the World.
The group of islands were discovered by Captain Cook right after he "found" Australia. The infamous explorer's detour around the giant barrier reef led him smack dab into the middle of these palm-covered volcanic islands. The primitivity of the Whitsundays has long since disappeared, replaced by a whole crop of tasteful luxury resorts, but it's still very much paradise.
Australia Travel / Whitsunday Islands / Queensland Travel / Active Travel / Photography / → All Tags
Although V Australia still hasn't started service from the United States, it's never too early to start planning what to do when you finally arrive Down Under. In fact, you can continue the full Richard Branson experience by using Virgin Blue to fly to Hamilton Island from cities across the nation. The island destination is the largest inhabited island of the Whitsunday Islands off the eastern coast of Queensland.
Visitors can also get there by ferry. Upon arrival there's no need to swing by the car rental counter and decline the damage waiver, since mainland vehicles aren't allowed on the island. Golf carts, or buggies, are going to be your best bet.
At first you might've thought it a really good idea, sailing Australia's beautiful Whitsunday Islands on a schooner named "Romance" during Valentine's. But that feeling probably changed when the Romance ran aground on rocks earlier this week.
The yacht had 37 people on board, most of them backpackers enjoying a sail combined with some snorkeling and diving around the Great Barrier Reef. But stormy weather made the trip turn quite unromantic and everybody had to be winched off the boat.
The nice thing is that although the backpackers ended up at Airlie Beach, many of them without money or passports, the local Queenslanders rallied round and provided them with accommodation and meals. And to make sure they go home with good memories of cruising the Whitsundays, local operators have offered them all another cruise, for free. Presumably, after the storms have passed.
It's Summer Somewhere / It's-Summer-Somewhere / Australia Travel / Queensland Travel / Whitsunday Islands / → All Tags
That first magical dusting of snow was fine in November, but now the road salt is ruining your shoes and you lost your best gloves. Time to head for warmer climes... and we'll help you look with our It's Summer Somewhere series.
Make this the year you visit the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world's greatest natural wonders. Staying in Australia's Whitsunday Islands, the reef is just a day cruise away in a glass-bottomed boat or with a snorkel instructor. Captain Cook was the first tourist to visit the islands back in 1770, and ever since these 74 atolls have been drawing beach lovers.
Obviously, kicking it on the sand is a great option. Lodgings like the Hayman Island Resort even offer their own private beaches from which to enjoy the warm Pacific currents. If you want to get active, the Whitsunday Great Walk is a 30 km (19 mile) trail, though you can hike just a portion of it.
Check out the Queensland Tourist Bureau's Whitsunday deals to plan your reef getaway.
For the next couple of days we are doing a quick fly-over of the world's most dangerous airports. And by dangerous we mean formidable, adventurous, and fear inspiring. Know a stomach dropping, palm sweat inducing airport we should check out? Send it along.
Minimum runway length for jets is ~5,000 feet, while HTI clocks in at 5,591 feet, or just a bit over one mile long. Want more? There are hills on both sides of the runway and water at both ends. To line up for the approach, even the most experienced pilots fly straight past the landing strip, then turn back at a fourty-five degree angle.
What is your reward for this harrowing air experience?
Your luggage on arrival is collected by the island taxi/bus service and taken directly to your room in the hotel. Unfortunately you have to carry it to the bus on the return journey and check it in yourself.
S'alright mate. After all, you are spending time in Oz, so it is best you calibrate yourself to the Australian attitude of let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may as soon as you arrive, literally.
YouTube video of takeoff from HTI is after the jump, but it doesn't do the experience justice.