One of the places we went on our 1000km round trip this weekend was Airlie Beach. It is about a three hour drive south of Townsville.
When I was a teenager Airlie Beach was a hole. Just a hippy town. The place you went to drop out of society. The place you went if you wanted to live in the back of your van. The place you went if you didn’t really want to be an adult.
Then along came the developers. The hills surrounding the beach are now terraced with hundreds of holiday units. Every shop on the main strip is a touristy shop. The vans have gone and the porches have arrived.
This is why:
There isn’t a lot to see or do at Airlie Beach itself, but it is the access point to the Whitsunday Islands on the Great Barrier Reef. Many of the islands have resorts. Lots of people come here to hire a yacht and tour around the islands. It is a beautiful part of the world.
There are huge backpacker hostels at Airlie Beach. You can’t walk down the main street without tripping over other people. Almost every nation is represented in the accents that you hear in the streets. Every night at the pub is happy hour – hour after hour. Once we went to sit on the beach at about five o’clock in the afternoon and found two young people (possible backpackers leaving happy hour) getting very friendly with each other. There are always people just laying about in the sun working on their tans. If people wear shoes at all it is only thongs. If people wear more than swimmers that is surprising. It is a very casual place.
This is the view to the other direction:
See all of that dirt. It used to be the ocean. They are filling in the ocean so that more people can have a water-side living address. That is hundreds and thousands of tonnes of dirt coming from somewhere on the back of trucks to fill in the ocean.
Astounding…I kind of liked it when the hippies were there…