We didn't have a whole lot planned for our time in Airlie Beach. Jacob would only be with us for a few short days and his biggest request was a beach to lie on. Airlie Beach is the gateway town to one of the world's prettiest group of islands, The Whitsundays. Originally, we wanted to spend our last three days doing a two-day, one-night sailing tour of the Whitsundays. But by the time we arrived we realized A) the tours started around $300, B) Jacob and I didn't have a great track record with boats, and C) Jacob really just wanted to lay on a beach.
Great Downtown Shopping
I will say, Airlie Beach is severely underrated. So far, it has one the award for best coastal town in my book. The town was very relaxed. There was plenty to do but no hurry or excitement to do any of it. Most of our time was spent wandering in and out of shops in between our short walks to the beach.
On day one we had lunch at a cool outdoor bar and grill. We also found a few shops with great prices and awesome clothes, this caught Patricia and I's eye. After an hour or so of browsing we looked up and realized Matthew and Jacob had disappeared. Fortunately, we found them just a few shops away watching American football at a sports bar. It was rare to see American football on TV and they had been excited to sit and watch for a bit.
Beautiful, Uncrowded Beach
It wasn't until late in the afternoon when we finally made it to the beach. The water was beautiful and the beach was anything but crowded. Sometimes the nicest afternoons include a whole bunch of nothing. We all laid around until I yelled “uncle.” My skin couldn't take any more sun and neither could Patricia's.
That evening we preparing the typical Aussie barbecue meal. We had sausages and veggies and while cooking dinner we made friends with a guy named Heizen from China. He gave us tips on which beach to stop at next on our roadtrip. He also let us try a golden kiwi, which was really quite tasty.
The next day began quite like the first. We all slept in—well, we slept in compared to usual, which meant we were all up by eight o'clock. After some lounging and laundry we decided to explore a waterfall we had heard about. It was about a thirty minute drive from town but hey, we had a car!
Cedar Creek Falls
Cedar Creek Falls also wins an award in my book. Out of all the waterfalls, this one was definitely the coolest.
What I loved most about this waterfall was that instead of hiking down to it, you could hike up it. In all the waterfalls we'd seen on this trip, we had yet to find one we could hike on. Jacob fearlessly lead the way as we went up and up and around the beautiful waters. From the top the view was amazing. I think the waterfall was even prettier from the other side.
We spent several hours admiring Cedar Creek Falls. Finally we decided it was time to check out Dingo Beach.
Dingo Beach would have been an amazing beach which views of the Whitsundays peaking into the distance, except it was low tide and that made a HUGE difference. The first one hundred meters off the beach was full of warm, moist sand and small pools of ocean water. The place smelt like it looked and it wasn't fit for laying out in. Patricia and Matthew did enjoy finding crabs and starfish and other sea life in the shallow waters but Jacob and I were more keen on grabbing a beer at the nearby bar.
The barkeep explained that the beach was very tide-dependent and that it was a whole different view during high tide. I wished we had time to stick around for the change but there just wasn't enough time in the day. Instead, we decided to drive back to Airlie and lay on the beach we had visited the day before. It was quite and calm and sunny.
That evening we celebrated. It was Jacob's last night and the day before Matthew's birthday. Tomorrow Jacob would go to the airport and the rest of us would continue our journey down the coast. We had all just united and now it was already our last night. So far we had gone to bed before ten every night and we were up before eight every morning. With this one last night we decided to do some celebrating.
So we cooked tacos for Matthew's birthday and surprised him with a cake and a card. It was a great meal and we all enjoyed the surprise. Afterwards we all put on our best outfits and made our way up the street in search of music and fun. What we found was a nice bar with cheap drinks called Down Under. The music was loud and young so when the drink prices went up we decided to switch locations. Our second stop was an Irish Pub with live music. Paddy Shenanigan's was fun but not too wild. The best part was watching other people dance crazily to the music.
We ended the night at 2:30 a.m. All of us were pleased with our ability to stay up past ten o'clock.