September 19, 2008 GMT
Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays

I finally tore myself away from Hervey Bay and Fraser Island. I had already changed my vote for “favorite place” from Byron Bay to Hervey Bay so it was very hard to leave but the guide book said that Airlie Beach (500 miles north) had a lot to offer so I rode north a bit reluctantly (you know how wrong guide books can be). There wasn’t a lot to see on the main road except sugar cane harvesting

or maybe a bird hitching a ride

or another “big“.

I resisted the urge to take some of the side roads

down to the beach since I had set my sights on Airlie Beach. I was NOT disappointed. This was my first view of Airlie Beach.

This town is the jumping off point to the Whitsunday Islands off the coast and it is said to be some of the very best “cruising” waters in the world. From the number of boats that were set up and cruising the area, it must be true.

I checked in to my first backpacker hostel (I am DEFINITELY the oldest dude here) and booked a 2 day 1 night sail around some of the islands on an ex-maxi ocean racer (70 feet). It turned out that there weren’t enough people signed up for the cruise so I was “upgraded” to a 3 day 2 night cruise that would have cost more than twice as much. SCORE!!! This is the boat I originally booked,

this is the one I finally sailed on,

and THIS is the one I really wanted to cruise on. :=)

Lots of islands, sailing, snorkeling, relaxing, swimming, and “yes” there were adult beverages available. :=) One of the best places we stopped was Whitehaven Beach.

The claim is that it is one of the best beaches in the world. The sand was fine and white, and the water warm and inviting.

I took advantage.

And just to show Julia that I was thinking of her (even while “frolicking” on the best beach in the world),

I immortalized her name forever in the sand (or until high tide, whichever comes first). :=) The sunsets at the nightly anchorages were spectacular

but then the sunrises were just as good.

This is our course for the three days,

and this is the crew on 1 foot reef (yup, only 1 foot is above water at high tide).

So my vote for favorite place has once again changed, to Airlie Beach. Too bad I have to leave and keep heading north. Townsville and Cairns are next then I turn east toward Darwin (only about another 2000 miles to meet Cory). Many more pictures here if interested.

Posted by Rick McDermed at September 19, 2008 08:20 AM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


Latvia to Australia, an inspirational 5 month journey full of unexpected adventures!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!