Airlie Beach Part 2

So I’m back on land briefly overnight, in between the boat trip and tomorrow’s all-day kayaking adventure. The hostel accommodation is as basic as ever, but it feels so good to be on dry land again and be able to take a shower! The boat was amazing – and fast – but living with another seventeen people in a small space with only two rather damp and claustrophobic bathrooms the size of an average wardrobe gets to you after a while! Rather reminiscent of my stretch in the lovely Cryfield residences last summer, now I think about it.

This morning I was awake at 6AM, ready to go into the water before eight. No diving today, but I did one yesterday and another the day before so that takes the total so far (both for this trip and for me generally) to four. Tonight I’m meeting a bunch of other people from the boat for a few drinks that the crew have organised, which I hope won’t impede my ability to get down to the pickup point for my kayaking tomorrow morning for 8.30.

On the organisation front I’ve managed to book some accommodation for the next stop at Hervey Bay, only some fourteen hours away from here on the coach! The Rough Guide describes it as “[an] unusual place, with dorms done up in corrugated iron and timber, and hung with Outback iconography”, so I’m hoping for somewhere with slightly more character than the YHA I’m staying in at the moment or the Greyhound bus I’ll be attempting to get some sleep on tomorrow night.

Airlie Beach

Quite a hedonistic tourist type atmosphere going on here, which gets boring after a while. So it’s probably just as well I’m going out to the Whitsunday Islands tomorrow! Today has been fairly chilled, due to there being not a lot to do in this town other than wait around for your boat and get drunk. I went on a bus voyage of discovery to the local just-out-of-town shopping centre, which I can only describe as having the atmosphere of Canon Park, but slightly warmer outside of the air conditioned shops.

Last night I finally bowed to the inevitable and phoned up Quantas to push back my flight out of Sydney by a week. Doing the East Coast in just four weeks is apparently very difficult so I’m hoping five will do me a bit better. I gave myself another couple of days in Bangkok too so I’ll now be arriving back in the UK nine days later than originally planned and fifty pounds poorer, due to the silly administative charge I had to pay to change things around. Grr.

Buying: BI-LO ingredients for fajitas tonight – the budget is starting to bite.
Loving: International texting!

Magnetic Island

Apperently this place is so called bacause Captain Cook’s compass messed up when he sailed past the island on his voyage of 1770. On a related note, there’s a town a little further down the coast from here called ‘1770’, named after that year. These random facts are brought to you by the Rough Guide and the Footprint Guide, my two bibles for this trip.

I didn’t post from my last stop at Mission Beach a little further north, mainly due to it being in the middle of nowhere and thus having no Internet. The town didn’t even have a bank, it was that remote. But it did have beautiful rainforest stretching right down to the sea, which was lined with 14 km of long sandy beaches and smaller bays, separated by outcrops of black basalt rock. There were cassowaries too, which I’d post a photo of if only I could install my camera drivers on one of these damned computers (this time the base unit is locked away in a cupboard so I can’t even get near it…).

I’m here for another day or so here then I’ve got a six hour coach journey down to Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands (another place named by Cook, but no points for guessing why). I’m hoping to do some overnight camps for a change when I get there rather than hostels, which I’m beginning to get a little bored of!


Cairns is a small town up on the coast of Tropical Queensland. It’s a former mining town and now rather dependent on tourism for it’s income, which appears to be doing more for the town than the mining ever did!

The diving out on the reef here is good and there’s some moderately good scenery around Kuranda a short bus ride away up in the hills that we saw yesterday, but other than that I can’t see that Cairns has a lot to offer. So feeling slightly disappointed with the Mediterranean holiday resort-style nightlife and the half an hour trek into town from my modern but rather impersonal hostel (OK, so I could move further in but would I really want to?) I’m moving on to the lovely-sounding Mission Beach a couple of hours down the coast. The hostel and the Greyhound ticket are booked and I even have some ideas about what I’m going to do there.

Now to work out what else I’m going to see on the long trek back down to Sydney! I can’t be expected to plan more than a couple of days in advance, surely?

No more photos this time due to this PC being locked down so I can’t install Canon’s shitty 5MB of drivers that I need to get the pics of fthe camera 🙁