First off, I took a 12 hour bus from Cairns to Airlie Beach on the 9th. Airlie beach was actually an incredibly beautiful town, although it was a huge touristy/spring breaky type of place. I stayed at this hostel called 'Beaches'... which apparantly was just one huge never-ending party hostel. I of course don't mind partying myself every once in a while, I'm not that old yet, but I am also trying to keep my partying to a minumum. I'd much rather spend my money on things like kayaking with the dolphins than drinking beer every night, and anyway, Airlie Beach was only a stopover before my next 12 hour bus ride the following evening. But wow... the incredible noise until all hours of the night (on a WEDNESDAY!) at Airlie Beach is definitely the loudest that I have ever heard in any of the hostels I have stayed in since I have been in Australia. So, if anyone were ever to ask me to recommend a place to stay whilst in Airlie Beach, I would have to tell them NOT to stay at Beaches... unless they are actually going there just to party, and in that case it would be quite convenient! Get drunk 10 seconds away from where you are sleeping... then stumble home at 4 in the morning, easy!
I did manage to sleep through the noise though... I've become pretty good at that from living in multiple hostels every night for the last 3 months... plus I was very tired from the long bus ride. The next morning when I woke up, I had until 8:00 PM to explore before my bus left, so I decided to check out the town.
As you can see by these pictures, it is a gorgeous beach town...
unfortunately, there really wasn't much to do during the day, it was a fairly small town. It is actually just the home base for those who want to do the Whitsundays, an extremely popular destination for backpackers. Basically it is all about sailing, scuba diving/snorkeling, swimming, and partying all night for a 3-5 day boat trip. I decided against doing the Whitsundays for a few reasons.... 1) It didn't seem like all that much fun to me, despite the fact that it has incredibly good reviews. I've just never been that excited about long boat rides, as my family knows from my hesitation to go on any 'family cruises'. 2) I was trying to save money for my last couple weeks in Australia... This trip has been more expensive than I had originally anticipated... Australia is a very expensive country! 3) I just got sea sick from a short boat ride... do I really want to chance that being my fate for 5 days in a row?
So, I skipped Whitsundays, but stopped at Airlie Beach anyway so I didn't have to be on the bus for 24 hours at once!
But anyway, the interesting things that happened in Airlie Beach... first, I saw one of the girls from my Heading Bush group! Sandra, my yodel instructor, was just walking by as I was eating lunch. What are the chances? Australia is a huge place, and after Alice Springs, we all went on our seperate ways to different parts of the country... it seems like such an incredible coincidence that we saw each other.
And now, interesting thing number two - later on in the same day, I saw two of the girls that were in my Surf Camp group! Now THIS was a huge coincidence! Unfortunately, I was a little embarrassed because when I was talking to them, I knew their faces, but I couldn't remember their names, (I am terrible with names anyway) and I couldn't remember where I knew them from. So I was trying to hold a conversation with them while mentally ticking off the places that I didn't know them from (they kept asking me questions about what I have been up to, so I was worried about talking about something that I actually did with them). I think I pulled it off, and I did figure out it was surf camp after they left. I felt bad that I didn't remember their names though, because they did remember mine.
AND the final interesting thing... look at the store they have here in Airlie...
And when I went inside, it was just like Coldstone in the states... where they mix up the ice cream in front of you. I hope they are made by the same company, cause otherwise, RIP OFF! But the worker inside had never heard of Coldstone... I do think that the 'Cold Rock' with a picture of Uluru is pretty clever though...
So, now I am in Hervey Bay, (after the overnight bus ride) which is the stop-off point to get to Frasier Island, my next destination. This is a quaint little town as well, bigger, but not NEARLY as party-orientated. Its beach is not as pretty as Airlie Beach, but it is still nice (and doesn't have all the signs warning about the deadly jellyfish! I got in at about 9:30 in the morning, and wandered around town a little... I noticed a good deal on a haircut with free eyebrow waxing, and since I needed both, I took them up on it. I figured I should get my hair done in Australia rather than when I get home since you aren't supposed to tip people in Australia, so I'd save money... at least I HOPE we weren't supposed to tip. Otherwise I stiffed the poor woman. Then, after lunch, I practically had to drag myself to my room, and I took a short nap. I was dead tired... the bus ride was overnight and it is SO hard to sleep on a bus... I got maybe 3 hours of sleep, and it wasn't good sleep.
I woke up after a couple of hours (I made myself... otherwise there is no way I'd sleep tonight!) and I wandered around town a bit more. There isn't really much to do here either... these beach towns are pretty boring during the day, unless you want to go to the beach!
Tomorrow I am off to Frasier Island, which is supposed to be a beautiful place, with crystal clear water and beautiful foliage and wildlife everywhere. You will learn all about it when I get back on Sunday! But for now, I'd better go and pack.
Live long and prosper!