AUSSIE TOUR: Twenty-two-year-old Marlena Leppanen from Finland has just arrived in Airlie Beach .
AUSSIE TOUR: Twenty-two-year-old Marlena Leppanen from Finland has just arrived in Airlie Beach . Peter Carruthers

Finnish friends take in Whitehaven

ARRIVING in Australia from Bali, our young Scandinavian traveller this week had an earthquake to contend with in Lombok and was happy to leave the destruction behind and touch down in Cairns.

In Bali, Marlena swapped her snowboard for a surfboard and did her best to get barrelled at one of the world's premier wave riding destinations.

The Whitsunday Times caught up with Marlena at the Airlie Beach foreshore while she was practising English by immersing herself in some risqué reading offered by E.L James.

After taking in her first scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef off Cairns, Marlena made a bee-line for our bluewater paradise where she plans to roll out a towel on the silica white sands of one of Australia's favourite beaches, Whitehaven.

A sailing tour of the Whitsunday Islands is also planned for our European globetrotter.

Travelling with her Finnish friend, Marlena only has three weeks to take in all Queensland has to offer before she returns to the other side of the world to take up a training speech therapy course.

Originally planning an extended stay as an exchange student, the former nursing student will wrap up her Indo/Australian experience in six weeks by stopping off to visit Fraser Island and Hervey Bay before travelling south to Brisbane and flying back to Helsinki.

What is your favourite Queensland destination?

The Great Barrier Reef in Cairns.

What is the weirdest thing about Australian culture?

People are more happy and friendly.

How has travel changed you?

I have been forced to do things I don't do at home. I have learnt a lot about the world and myself. The language barrier has been a bit hard but my English is getting better.

What is your top Queensland travel tip?

Spend more time, there is so much to see. I am here for only a short time and wish we had more time.


'Madame Butterfly' drops in for Hamilton Island Triathlon

'Madame Butterfly' drops in for Hamilton Island Triathlon

'Madame Butterfly' drops in for Hamilton Island Triathlon

We pause to remember

We pause to remember

A crowd of about 300 attended Cannonvale's Remembrance Day service.

TIME TO WET THE LINE

TIME TO WET THE LINE

The Australian Fishing Championships start later this week.

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