Sunday 20 May: Climbing Mount Rooper & our first Queensland snake!

Author: Mrs A

Location: Airlie Beach, Queensland

It feels somewhat strange being in Airlie Beach and remaining land lubbers, no boat trips out to the islands or snorkelling amongst the coral reefs this time. We have been here before and spent a lot of time looking under the water, so have been keen so see a little more from land. So, after a light breakfast we took off back to Conway National Park, just south of Airlie Beach, laced up our hiking boots and tackled Mount Rooper.

Mount Rooper is a high point in the national park, and looks out over the other islands. All the islands were previously hills before the sea levels rose and flooded the area, creating the Whitsundays we know today. The vegetation is very similar to that on the islands, with numerous grass trees amongst wattle, gum and brush box, and many vines and climbers adorning the forest.As the morning warmed up and the sun reached through the trees, flowers began to open, with the native hibiscus looking fabulous. The forest was rich with flowers, fruit and seeds, as well as evidence from Tropical Cyclone Debbie which hit the area last year, causing devastation to much of Airlie Beach and its surrounds. Some businesses have still not recovered.At the peak of Mount Rooper we were rewarded with a fabulous views across the Whitsunday Passage, looking out across all the islands, with Hayman Island, Hamilton Island, Daydream, North and South Molle Islands all clearly seen.We continued the walk around to Swamp Bay, a tree lined beach covered in coral and shells, looking out to the islands.We spotted many skinks, a little frog and our first snake of this trip – a young brown snake – probably only 40cm long and not much thicker than a pencil, but still carrying enough venom to cause some serious issues. Thankfully it was not on the offensive and slithered off through the leaves on its way.Its our last day in Airlie Beach, so after an afternoon of shopping, cleaning and a customary exploration for Miss Tassie, adventure cat extraordinaire, we showered and jumped on our bikes. We rode back to Sorrento’s Bar beside Abell Point Marina for sundowners, enjoying a fabulous sunset over a glass of wine (beer & and a JD for Mr A) before cycling back to make dinner. A fine ending to our visit here.

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