Monday, July 27, 2009

Last day in Airlie

So today is the last day in Airlie Beach. Which is sad, because we've grown quite fond of the place. It's clearly a tourist town and there appears to be only two kinds of accommodations - either backpacker hostels or holiday apartments. We're staying in the later and Cathy is deeply sad to be leaving it. The price is insanely reasonable, we have a balcony and a view. I think Cathy is wondering if we can attach it to the back of the car and drag it off with us when we leave tomorrow.

Ah yes, tomorrow. Probably going to be my least favourite day of the vacation. Tomorrow is nothing but a run and gun down the coast of Australia. In other words, hundreds of more kilometres of sugar cane. We're trying to make it to Hervey Bay, the launch point to go and see Fraser Island. Alas, it's about an 11 hour drive away and I don't think we can get there in one day. I figure we can get about eight hours of daylight driving in tomorrow and that's it. And I simply don't want to chance driving at night in Australia. Yes, there's the matter of driving on the left hand side of the road at night, although I've gotten pretty decent at it by now. I no longer live in fear of roundabouts and yesterday I accomplished the small matter of parallel parking for the first time.

No, the problem are the kangaroos.

It seems right around sunset, and even after dark, the kangaroos comes out in force. This is not Australian joke. Several people have told me this, and they were dead serious. Kangaroo/car collisions are no laughing matter in these parts and we've seen numerous instances of kangaroo road kill (along with birds enjoying the road kill) littered on the side of the road. And the 'roos can do some serious damage to cars, so I've been told.

Australians are very serious on this point, you can tell. I think all the joking about the things that can kill you around here tends to mean that when they tell you about something that can actually happen to you, people brush it off as another Aussie joke. One guy on our tour yesterday joked there were no sharks in the waters where we were snorkeling because all the saltwater crocs ate them. The number of people that began paddling back to the boat because they missed the would not believe.

But no, I can understand things leaping out of nowhere and hitting your car. I grew up in Newfoundland. I've been lucky enough to not hit a moose, but I've seen my share on the side of the road and known people who haven't been so lucky as to miss them. All of which is a long way of saying we'll be finding a motel somewhere tomorrow night.

Still, if tomorrow is the worst day we have on vacation, then I can't complain too much. So far, it's been a blast.

Now if you excuse me, I need to go didgeridoo shopping. After consulting some oracles (ie friends on Facebook), I've decided that a high quality didgeridoo with free shipping back to Canada is better use of my money than jumping out of an airplane.


Ang said...

Hi there!

I've been following your blog for a few weeks now. Most recently, it's been interesting to follow your trip in Australia. I'm on the Gold Coast, about a 15 hour drive south of Airlie Beach (and I used to live in Townsville). It's really interesting to see an outsider's perspective on my little (sugar cane-filled) corner of the world.

I'm not sure if you'll read this before heading off in the morning, but I have a bit of a local tip for you as someone who's made the trip down the coast many a time.

The best place to stop based on your time frame is Rockhampton or Gladstone. Anywhere else and you run the risk of dinky one motel towns. Rockhampton in particular is a decent-sized town with plenty of places to stay and eat.

It's about another 5 hours to Hervey Bay from there. Good luck on your trip!

towniebastard said...

Thanks Ang. We were debating on what to do with regards to hotels tomorrow, and that's good advice. We got caught running around trying to find a place in Townsville, and ended up overpaying for a room. So settling in at Rockhampton for the evening sounds like a plan.

Glad you like my observations. You're lucky to live here. Want to adopt us?

Ang said...

Consider yourselves adopted! Actually, I was thinking the same question of you guys! I have my sights set on a place in Nunavut one day - Ontario in the next few years. Perfect example of "the grass is always greener" if there ever was one :)

If you're down Brisbane way and in need of local tips, I'm only too happy to oblige, so please don't hesitate to ask anything that comes to mind.

Adam Snider said...

Shipping the didgeridoo back to Canada, rather than taking it on the plane, is probably a good idea. My cousin brought one back from her Australia trip and was detained in LAX (or perhaps Vancouver, I can't remember) because they decided that the giant cardboard tube it was in contained a rifle, and that she didn't have the proper permits to transport a gun on a commercial airline.

Luckily, this was pre-9/11, so she managed to convince them of the truth pretty quickly and still managed to make her connecting flight.