Where I am
Airlie Beach, 'the gateway to the Whitsundays' as it is now emblazoned on my brain after reading such on every piece of tourist literature in which it is referenced.I was basically in search of a Byron Bay replacement to make up for the horendousness of Surfer's Paradise. Airlie proved not to really resemble either, having a somewhat older crowd more up for sailing than sitting in trees with ukeleles. That said, after an initial bout of disappointment, I really grew to love the place.
As for the Whitsundays, you'd have to be blind not to appreciate the beauty of the white sands, turquoise seas and deep green bush that comprise the islands. You'd also have to be much richer to get to stay on the ones that really count.
Where I stayed
The cumbersomely titles Backpackers By The Bay. My favourite hostel thus far, it was a tightly run ship presided over by a very friendly patriarch insistent that everyone participate in each evening's dinnertime quiz. While forced group participation is normally the stuff of cringy nightmare to me, this brief interlude ensured that everyone easily got to know one another and no one ate their meal alone.
With comfy beds, clean rooms and powerful showers, not to mention super friendly (and easy on the eye) staff I was very happy to extend my stay here those few more days.
What I read
'Fool's Errand' - Robin Hobb, purchased in Brisbane. I realised halfway through that it is the first in a second trilogy about the same characters. Not impossible to follow, but I sense alot of things would have had more significance if I'd read those ones first!
What I listened to
The Promise Ring, Jimmy Eat World, Hundred Reasons - noughties emo time.
What I ate
Some excellent sandwiches. Quite literally the best wrap I have ever, ever eaten at the Easy Cafe. It was mango chicken, with soft, slippery mangoes, honey-mustard dressing, salad and marinated chicken all toasted and served with homemade tortilla chips. Drooling just remembering it. Nom.
Big, fat toasties and spicy chunky chips at the Sidewalk Cafe. Super friednly service, too.
Lots of ice cream, icluding the New Zealand ice cream factory's new flavour, dark chocolate and orange. Grown up ice cream flavour, but ruined by my love for rainbow sprinkle cones.
What I did
Lazed by the lagoon. Due to the large numbers of box jellyfish that inhabit the sea in these shores, the local council built a gorgeous outside lagoon pool for everyone to swim in during the summer months. It's a great idea and is really well maintained and spacious enough that it never felt really crowded even at the weekend.
Sat on the beach in the evening and practiced my sketching while watching the sunset.
Wandered the Saturday craft market. Bought a new nose stud and was fed chocolate by the lady at the stall for 'having a wonderful laugh'.
Finished making a giant friendship bracelet I started back in New York.
Wandered the amazingly well stocked Book Exchange. Found the next in my trilogy. Score.
Had some beers at Beaches. Fresh Hell.
Hung out with a group of guys currently listing their address as 'the beach' who I met having somehow ended up on Airlie's Reclaim The Night March. I am now an international feminist force.
Took a lazy and lovely cruise round the islands, stopping at Whitehaven beach to lie on the white, white sands and swim in the blue, blue sea.