AIRLIE BEACH 2009
Airlie Beach - September 2009
We had booked to stay at Airlie Beach at the BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Caravan Park since about April. We were very excited. It was a resort for caravans, camper trailers and tents! We booked site 8, which was a large site and backed on to a common grassed area. It was also very close to the pool. We booked for 8 nights this time (plus one on the way up, and one on the way home). Amber joined us again for this trip.
Our adventure started early in the morning, up and on the road about 4am - we stopped to have some breakfast around Miriam Vale. Packet cereal and Up & Go doing the job. The drive was going quite smoothly. Shell had a go at driving the camper trailer from Miriam Vale to just before Rockhampton.
We made it to Mackay, where we had a cabin booked for the one night. Upon entry and as soon as we parked beside our cabin it was apparent we were in a very dodgy caravan park, full of live-ins who all seemed to come out and check out the newbies. The cabin was quite grotty and very old. But it was only one night. We had a quick look at the Mackay beaches, they were mostly sandflats and the tide was out. While back at the park, Shell and Amber took Loz for a quick walk to see a playground, as they returned Loz tripped on the gravel road, while running, and scraped half of her face (her forehead, nose and chin - it was a pretty bad fall). We treated it the best we could - although the scrapes were very large, they did need the air to dry them out, so we thought there'd be no need to go to hospital - we felt for the poor thing though. Not the way to start an awesome holiday. She was also developing quite a bad chest cough too, something passed around via daycare no doubt.
We left early the next morning and arrived at Airlie Beach early. We checked in and started setting up camp. It was a magnificent day - the sun was out and there wasn't too much breeze. As we got into the unpacking this made for some sweaty conditions! We set our camper up so that it sat on the grass and we had half cement slab and half gravel for our annexe flooring. We used rubber mats and a tarp over the gravel. Due to this being a longer trip, we seemed to have everything a long for the trip - so unpacking took a couple of hours. Actually, it was quite hard work setting the camper up and holding poles/canvas awkwardly - my back spasms came and my back locked up. I had to go to a local pharmacy and buy a back support to take some pressure away (I needed to wear this for a few days, when the spasms ceased).
One of our days was spent doing a reef snorkelling trip. We departed from Shute Harbour and headed out on one of the Fantasy boats to an outer reef. Amber and Shell paid for an instructed snorkelling lesson, while Loz and I watched from the deck. They seemed to have the hang of it. Everyone had to wear stinger suits, in case of an irukandji or box jellyfish sting. When they came up, Shell and I headed out into the roped off area to have a play. It was pretty amazing - there were reef fish, parrot fish and it was all very calm and clear. On board the floating deck that the boat dropped us off at, there was an underwater viewing deck - this was cool. We got to see more fish and the coral, although the coral was quite colourless.
We enjoyed the features of the caravan park, making the most of the playground (for Loz - and Amber!), the pool, the jumping pillow, putt-putt and the go-karts. It really was a well set up caravan resort - with very positive and helpful staff. We relaxed and chilled out at the camper trailer a bit and gave Loz her morning rests, although mostly, she slept in the car between short trips out. We had a small portable DVD player which she enjoyed - I think the most common DVD played was The Wiggles. I was Wiggled out!
On the Sunday we ventured to Airlie Beach markets. These were quite a busy market. There were probably hundreds of stalls, thousands of people. There was a large variety of crafts on offer, as well as specialised foods/drinks. Shell shouted herself a camel ride - something she said she had wanted to do for a long time. She was part of a convoy of roped camels who strolled along the beach, enjoying the view from a higher vantage point. While Shell was on the camels, Amber had a braid put in her hair - she was stoked too.Afterwards, we shared a couple of coconut drinks - even Loz got in on it!
That afternoon, we hired a go-kart at the caravan park. They were about $10 for an hour and had two seats. We took turns driving and sitting in the passenger seat. Amber is quite a wild driver! Loz loved it and it was heaps of fun cruising around the little streets on it.
It was pretty hard to keep us out of the pool. The weather was perfect every day and the pool temperature was refreshing without being freezing. We frequented the pool EVERY day. Loz would often just start walking from the campsite towards it - she couldn't get enough.
Airlie Beach has a pretty awesome public lagoon along the foreshore. We managed to get a carpark reasonably close and made use of it for a morning. Again, Loz was proving that she is a water baby - as she just loved it. Amber soaked up some rays. It was also Shell's birthday, so we had lunch at Hog's Breath - very yum.
We planned a big day during the middle of the week - an island hop to two islands. We chose to visit Daydream Island for the morning and Long Island for the afternoon. Shell and I had been there a few years earlier (2006) for our honeymoon. Daydream Island hadn't changed too much. After checking out the artificial reef which was home to stingrays, clown fish and other reef fish we walked to the northern end where the Bullivants owned. Here we relaxed for a while, using and enjoying the pool and the views from it. After this we headed to the tourist end of the island where we played on the toy boat, ventured out to the three mermaids on the rocks, and again, enjoyed the large resort pool. Loz was tuckered out about here, and had a good snooze on a sun lounge.
We boarded our next Fantasy boat and set off for Long Island. We caught the train off the jetty to the resort (which followed the coastline - actually overhung the coastline). The resort had changed owners since Shell and I were here three years ago. It seemed a little less vibrant, however we enjoyed a cocktail each, except Amber and Loz who enjoyed a mocka-cocktail. I borrowed one of the kayaks and had a paddle around - felt like Trevor Hendy! Then we boarded our next boat and headed for camp. We were buggered after this!
Shell's uncle, Ken, and his daughter visited from Townsville one day around mid-morning to lunch. Loz spent most of the time asleep, and when she woke she wasn't a happy camper.
We all went to the outdoor movie night, which started with the caravan park providing pizza (pre-booked and paid). We enjoyed this, and it gave Loz a chance to muck around on the playground. I can't recall the movie - it was a G rated kids movie.
The camper trailer proved quite comfortable. The mattress was a little hard, but that's camping - I was probably more conscious of it due to my back spasms. Amber and Loz slept well, and we had a fan to help keep a bit cooler. Although we had no rain (you beauty) we did get hit with a pretty full-on dust storm which covered everything, and I mean everything in red dust. It lasted a whole day and covered all of Airlie Beach, in fact I think it covered most of Queensland.
The afternoon before departure we decided to pack up most of the camping gear to help us get away early the next morning. It was a big effort and took a few hours - sorting out containers and double handling lots of things. We bought take-away for this meal - pretty much every other night was meat and vegetables. We got an early night and awoke for an early leave. It took a bit of man-handling (I had the back support on this time) and we eventually got it all packed up and hitched up. We were on the road again. It had been a great camp - even though Loz had a bad cough, scraped face and I had back spasms.
We arrived at Rockhampton and checked in to a cabin for the night - our last night on the road. This was a much more pleasant place than Mackay's park. It was predominately cabins, and it was much more new. Loz said hello to Grandma on the phone, she was such a dag on the phone. We used the pool there - a bit colder than Airlie's. but still refreshing.
We left early the next morning for our final stint back home. We were home just after lunch and started the unpacking of the trailer. It was another awesome trip - but with news of our work relocation transfer to Emerald, we would look at selling the camper trailer and upgrading to a caravan. My back just can't handle the load. The following day Amber left for Brisbane on the tilt train.
Two weeks later we sold the camper trailer for $4500, which was about $1500 less than we paid (which equals K'Rudd's stimulus package!).