Beginning my East Coast trip in freezing cold temperatures and pouring rain, on a 30 minute late, 4 hour long Greyhound Bus from Townsville to Airlie Beach. It hasn’t really lived up to it’s promise of paradise. The weather brought everyone inside, wrapped up in cosy oversized hoodies avoiding the miserable weather outside as much as possible. I’ve never seen so many people wearing cosy winter clothing in Australia.
I’m a Scottish girl. A lover of the colder weather, getting wrapped up in scarves and jackets and throwing on some warm boots and braving the cold. I live for rainy do-nothing-days where you wake up and look out the window and instantly know it’s either a movie day or a “coffee shop day.” However, I didn’t pack for this type of weather and haven’t got around to buying many winter clothes. I don’t even own a rain jacket, and it’s been raining 100% for the past 2 days. I feel quite ashamed of myself that I didn’t come prepared. I’m the girl who carries anything and everything in her handbag ‘just in case.’ And I can’t buy any winter clothes seeing as I have a trip to Malaysia planned at the start of August. So I was left to brave the cold, miserable days with only my leather jacket and umbrella in hand.
I have very mixed views on Airlie Beach, the weather being a huge factor. I can picture hot sunshine beaming down onto the beautiful blue sea, with people swimming and eating ice cream along the beach front. Kids splashing around in the lagoon, parents not far away topping up their tans. In reality all I got to witness was low fog covering the scenic (I can imagine) mountain views; a deserted pool with hopes of becoming a lagoon adding a dash of sunshine; and myself stepping in way too many puddles whilst embracing the drowned rat look (so much for the umbrella).
The town itself has potential. I enjoyed the layout of everything, and the variety of pubs and restaurants for all budgets (AUD$9.90 for a chicken parmie and a schooner, YES PLEASE!) That’s the good thing about backpacking – it does have it’s perks: cheap meals, cheap accommodation and more importantly, happy hour prices every hour. Staying in a hostel? There’s always going to be somewhere for an almost free feed, and drinks for only a few dollars.
Airlie Beach is very much a tourist destination with the most popular attraction being the Whitsunday Islands. Without the Whitsundays there isn’t very much to do on the mainland, especially when the weather isn’t in your favour: unless you have your own form of transport and want to venture out into the national parks to have your daily dose of nature. But I did enjoy the little time I had here in Airlie Beach. Even if the majority of my time was spent wrapped up in a hoody, playing card games in my dorm room and drinking tea out of a travel mug. Anyway, It can only get better… right?