Airlie Beach – YHA

We arrived at Airlie Beach in the early hours of the morning. We’d originally intended to visit Mackay for half of the time we eventually booked to Airlie, but there seemed to only be one hostel in the entire town and it didn’t allow check-ins after 10pm. As the only Greyhound with a sensible transit time arrived in the middle of the night, we decided to just go straight up to Airlie. It was not a decision we would regret.

On our first morning we look a look around the YHA to get familiar with our surroundings. The hostel was putting on pancakes this evening, at $10 a head. Sign me the heck up for that! Then we got to know the vicinity of Airlie Beach by walking in the direction of the supermarket, Coles; which ended up being an afternoon adventure across mountains, rivers and beaches (apart from there were no rivers and not really any mountains either) in the oppressive midday heat of mid-Queensland. By the time we’d picked up the shopping, the sky was threatening downpour. We had no idea when or where the rumoured bus to Coles and back could be caught from and were lumbered with heavy shopping. There was that unspoken notion again that, y’know, maybe we could walk this. I then pointed out that we should have learned our lesson by now and suggested a taxi. Lucy agreed and we took a ride from the rank outside back to the hostel. No sooner had we got in and unpacked, a heavy thunderstorm exploded above, raindrops hammering every horizontal surface. We also noted a couple of guys outside that had decided to enjoy the storm in the superconductive vat of the hostel swimming pool. They are probably mental, I thought. As it turns out, I didn’t know the half of it! Continue reading

Agnes Water – Southern Cross Backpackers

It was teeming rain when Carolyn drove us to the transit station on our last day in Noosa. Both Lucy and I were excited and slightly anxious at the change ahead. The continuation of our adventures up the coast was an intriguing unknown. And since our arrival we’d been staying in motels, friend’s houses and with relatives; the Southern Cross Backpackers in Agnes Water would be our first ‘dormitory’ accomodation. We arrived at 18:10 to a waiting minibus, that took us swiftly to the hostel. The greyhound journey had been a fairly tiring 9 hours, so we were looking forward to the usual crash-out on a comfy bed and I must admit I hadn’t really thought about the fact it would be a dorm of six. The three dutch lads that greeted us asked us where we were from, but the conversation pretty much ended at that.

The atmosphere immediately following our arrival was uncertain, though not unpleasant. We both agreed that what we needed, were some people to strike off a good conversation with. As there was a barbeque about to light up, the opportunity arose to do just that. All we needed was to buy a drink and we got a hot dog. We sat down with it and got talking to Irish couple Owen and Tia. They had been making their way down the coast from Cairns; working in many hostels although in this one they were taking a break and just paying to sit back and relax. They were also just one of many people we would meet that were headed for Sydney for New Years.

The following day we had a leisurely start, as we’d booked the Scooteroo Tour which starts in the mid afternoon and is pretty much the main reason that many backpackers make a stop of Agnes Water. At the hostel office, we had been warned the previous four or five days had been solid rain and the forecast was grim, but the new day brought with it some stunning sunshine and at 14:30 we were picked up (speaking Rural Aussie Time; at two thirty we were waiting for the bus, at two fifty-five it actually turned up). The tour basically involves riding 125cc chopper motorbikes through quiet rural roads in search of kangaroos. In addition they cheese it up with a complementary flame-decal helmet, matching leather jacket and free temporary tatoo. I passed on the tatoo, but the rest was safety equipment which meant I was supposed to wear it. So I fed it to a passing platypus then resumed looking awesome.

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