When it comes to being a backpacker, luxury comes in the form of a hostel bed without the threat of bed bugs, toilet paper in the bathroom and pseudo-warm water to shower in. So when I got to Airlie Beach, I wasn’t met with any of these luxuries when we checked into the Beaches Hostel. I can’t stress enough how disgusting our room was. The bathroom was beyond hideous—it clearly hadn’t been cleaned in at least a week. I always shower in flip flops, but the shower was so gross, I was tempted to shower in my cross trainers. To add insult to injury, the shower was more of a hose that maybe some water came out of. We were also using our own toilet paper for the bathroom.
Airlie Beach is very much a backpacker town (read “party town”) and a tourist spot to hit up the Whitsunday’s from. Marjan and I hadn’t really planned out date-by-date- where-we-want-to-be type road trip. We just knew that we wanted to head up the East Coast, hopefully as far as Cairns and then make our way down through Alice Springs and Uluru, before getting Marjan back to Warnambool by June 5th. However, now we were coming into the last couple weeks of our roadtrip and we had to seriously figure out how much time it would take to drive back to Warnambool through the center of the country. We concluded that we wanted at least a week and a half to get from Townsville to Warnambool, which eliminated the possibility of making it to Cairns. We decided that maybe we should spend a few days in Airlie relaxing, before taking on the ridiculous amount of driving through the Outback that we were about to embark on. That opened the door for me hitting up the Whitsunday Islands for a few days.
Kat, a girl that was in our tour on Fraser Island, was looking to find a good boat to enjoy the islands from, so I went with her to find one. We ended up in Backpackers World Travel,
where Michael, the agent, started going through her options. Kat didn’t want a party boat, so he showed her the brochure for the Whitsunday Magic, essentially the nicest boat sailing the islands. It would be 3 days/3 nights of 5-Star accommodation, food and drink. It also included a free introductory scuba dive. It came with a hefty price tag, but Kat wasn’t the only one sold (to be honest though, Michael probably could have sold me the phone book). At this point, Marjan and I hadn’t decided to stick around Airlie for a few days, so I was getting really jealous of Kat going on this boat. In just a few hours though, I would be shelling out the money for some much-needed luxury and setting sail for the Whitsunday’s the next morning.