5 – Airlie Beach

Airle Lagoon at sunset

While checking out, noticed a couple of Dutch girls also checking out who had been nice. Said hello. Asked if they were taking the ferry. They said they were. They were also taking the same bus as I toward Airlie Beach. We traveled together on the bus and then the ferry. At the station we had a couple of hours to kill. Asked a local guy about shops in the neighborhood. Ten minute walk away. Off we went with our gear. Found an ice cream shop. Hot day. Had the gellato. Mmmmm. Hit the spot. Trekked back and got on the bus south. A couple hours later they got off before me so we said our farewells.

Good times at the bus station with my Dutch friends

It was dark when we arrived in Airlie Beach. Driver pointed us in the right direction. Bit of a labyrinth through a hotel and various streets to get to the Base Backpackers hostel. About a ten minute walk. Wheels on the rolling bag were a blessing. Long line at the check in with only a couple a girls working. When they got to me she couldn’t find my reservation. This one was supposed to have been arranged and paid for as a promo from booking the bus trip with the Sydney base hostel. Eventually she found it and said that I was in a 6 bunk hostel with a separate bath. Apologized because I would be the only one in it! YES! Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord. Still trying to get over the cough. Doctor appointment tomorrow. Had quite enough of all this coughing and my ear is still a little clogged from the dive.

Airlie Beach is a gateway to the 72 islands in the Whitsunday chain. There are many vendors along the main street willing to sign you up for a varity of tours and multi day sailing adventures.

The Base hostel in Airlie beach is HUGE. It is a listed as a resort. It does have a pool. There are many cottages, town house type dwellings, Also a lot of “caravans” or RV’s which people pay to park there almost as much as a room. Large kitchen which is an absolute madhouse at dinner time. Hundreds of people stay there, many cook. A bar on property called “Boatys”. It it currently a town devoted to tourism. Lots of good bars and restaurants. Tourist agency’s galore. Island cruises are prominently displayed as a mainstay. You can also sky dive, snorkel go ocean rafting and many other aquatic pursuits. Great lagoon for swimming. Known as a party destination.

So the room was large. Tile floors, air conditioning. A converted efficiency with a separate bathroom. Big floor to ceiling sliding glass doors overlooking the volley ball court…which never saw a game during the stay. Full room darkening curtain. Took the bottom bunk in the corner and did the load in. Made a comfy crib. One of the best things about the room was the L shaped counter At one time they had a kitchen there, now only the counter remained and it was perfect for laying out one’s gear and poking through it with no one around. Not to mention the hot water coil, french press and some new organic dark roast coffee made it seem like a homie, deluxe place,

Didn’t really want to go sailing or do the island sunshine thing. Live in Florida after all. Got to choose your battles, or in this case you excursions, carefully. Save it for the chopper ride and surfboard rental in Agnes Waters. Actually that was only $85 compared to $400 – $600 for a few days of sailing around the admittedly beautiful Whitsunday islands. Perhaps with a significant other it would be worth considering someday. We’ll see.

Going out to eat was a no brainier as the kitchen was chaos. Had some very interesting calamari at a place call “The Beaches”. Here it was served in ¼ inch thick 2” wide strips which had been breaded and lightly fried. Add chips, a beer with a good salad for about $12 US and you’ve a good deal meal for sure. Very tasty.

Found one good walk…Cedar Falls…but could not find an easy way to get there. Instead, enjoyed the down time immensely. When you’re traveling for months on end it is really important to NOT try to do anything for a day or two and enjoy just being you. Reading a book, playing the video game, taking care of one’s health and catching up on the journal are all things which need to be done once in a while. Laundry is in there as well as food shopping and reservation making. Got to check the email. This can be especially bothersome when the wi-fi is slow. To get the good speed of the wi-fi one must pay a premium here. While one wants to be certain that one has tasted all the fruits of a particular place and engaged in all the worthwhile pursuits, you can’t stuff the 10 lbs of stuff into the 5 lb sack.

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