The thing about Airlie Beach is that not much happens there.
I suppose the question to follow would be, then why on earth would you make it a destination? Well the thing is, Airlie Beach acts as your ticket to the 74 glorious Whitsunday Islands and of course the Great Barrier Reef, which are all just a short boat trip away. And so, I, along with thousands of my fellow backpackers flocked to a land named after a beach that you can’t actually get into to cool off, because it is stinger season, baby.
After arriving in a town where I had absolutely nothing planned, other than the hostel I was booked into for one night, I was a bit wary as to how I would spend my four or five days in Airlie. After getting a standby rate for a three night sailing trip which I talk about here, I was beginning to come to terms that my days sandwiching this trip, would be spent on the very very quiet side.
Au contraire, my friend! I was headed to Bowen. What is in Bowen, you may ask? Well I didn’t even know the answer to that myself, and I was already a good hour and a half into my Journey with my new hostel pals. Looking back, I can now tell you that the Big Mango and ‘Bowenwood’ sign are in Bowen, of course! What else would you expect, silly?!
Similarly, my trip to Cairns, days later was allotted the same amount of preparation. I had one night in a hostel booked, and my flight to Melbourne was in three days. What I was going to do in the meantime was anybody’s guess. I had debated about if I even wanted to go as far north to Cairns in the first place, but as the flights out were significantly cheaper than Airlie, my decision was made for me.
I find it important to note that my adventures to Airlie Beach and Cairns marked a new type of travel, as I transitioned from staying at various work exchange hosts to hostel bouncing up Queensland. Though good fun, it certainly isn’t the cheapest way to travel and so I was queen of budgeting during these two weeks. And with Cairns a central tourism destination, things weren’t cheap! As much as I would have loved to explore the Daintree Rainforest, I just couldn’t justify spending $100 plus just to walk around when I could go to the free botanic gardens with a new mate. And so, my compromise was a waterfall tour through the Atherton Tablelands.
Since the temperatures were closer to 100 degrees in the heart of Cairns, spending the day splashing around at four different waterfalls and sliding down the natural slide at Josephine Falls was definitely the right choice.
Looking back, I’d say that my non existent plans ended up turning out pretty cool. Literally. (haha sorry for that!)