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Getting to Know Airlie Beach
Thursday 7th to Friday 8th April 2011 – Airlie Beach, Australia
The next couple of days in Airlie Beach were all about exploring and coming to like this place, for all its flaws. Airlie Beach is a very beautiful place, surrounded by picturesque backdrops and sea views, and I wanted to take it all in.
My only problem with Airlie Beach is with the culture of drinking and partying that spoils the place in my opinion. Once the light fades and the dark draws in, the night delivers a cocktail of noise, lights, clubs and bars. The streets fill with party people, most of whom have already drunk too much. Some people lay on the pavement in their own mess whilst others attempt to perform actions they couldn’t do sober, let alone fully intoxicated. I must sound like an old man, but this place could be anywhere in the world once night falls.
During the day though, it has a real feel of a holiday town, with gift shops and food stalls. The beach offers a retreat for those wanting peace and a chance to further bronze themselves. The streets are busy, but with families and thrill seekers. Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and a place where most one, two or three day boat tours depart from. There are a huge number of tours operating in the area, all offering something a little different from the next. So whether it’s a booze cruise or a gentle sail around the islands, this place has it all.
I spent all my time in Airlie Beach with my friends from home in the UK. We hung out at the lagoon when it wasn’t raining and cooked food on the BBQ in the evening. During the day we walked all along the coastline, seeing many incredible sights whilst dodging the rain showers. It was fun to be out and about, seeing a different side to the place. At night we had a few drinks in one of the many bars before retreating to bed.
It was nice not to have to sleep in the unclean room again, although this room that we were now all in was not a lot better. People slept for most of the day and only emerged at night for food and drink, and lots of it. They tended to come back to the room sometime late morning and commence hibernation once again, so we had to be quiet when coming in and out of the room during the day.
There is a lovely little café in Airlie Beach that sells tasty pancakes and other treats. The café has board games to play whilst eating your food which is a novel idea I thought. I can honestly say that its been a while since I have been allowed to play games whilst eating out, and a game of Jenga whilst diving into a bowl of ice-cream was a great way to spend a morning.
Being low on money again meant I couldn’t join my friends on a tour of the Whitsunday Islands, but I was happy to help them choose a tour for themselves. In fact, whilst they were booking their boat trip, I was booking my onward journey.
I have seen a lot of recognisable faces again here in Airlie, and most notably the Italian girls from Cairns and Magnetic Island. It was good to catch up again, and always a pleasure. They had a lot of stories about their recent Whitsunday tour and I couldn’t help but feel jealous that I wouldn’t be going on one, but with the weather ever-changeable, you are never guaranteed a good trip from what I have heard. I want to come back when I have money to see the Islands for myself, and I just hope I get the opportunity to.
Cooking in the evening in the hostel was a joke, and there was no way anybody could make a decent meal. There were a handful of plates to go around, one or two forks, no knives and not a single dry tea towel. The sink was a mountain of un-cleaned cooking pots and pans, left there by the guests already sat at the table, all of whom were tucking into a bowl of pasta. Indeed pasta is the only thing you can cook here. We went to the hostel next door to see if it was any better, and it was, marginally. The kitchen was small but there was a lot more in the way of cutlery. Needless to say we had pasta, but it was good pasta, and a chance to hang out before the party atmosphere kicked in again.
The main town of Airlie Beach is definitely a young person’s place, but the area as a whole is beautiful and stunning. When I come back I will just stay a little bit more out of town as I am sure there are better places to stay where I can enjoy Airlie much more. I shall check more holiday bargains before coming back again. Tomorrow I would be leaving, and I had a new hat that my friends had bought me for my coming birthday, so I was happy with that. I just had one more night to get through in this hostel.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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