Our charming idea to camp on the beach proved to be a bit dysfunctional, but fun – I mean funny. We arrived in Airlie Beach at 8:30pm or so in complete darkness. The ‘close to town’ Caravan Park that we had reserved in advance turned out to be a 30 minute walk. Not knowing exactly where is was, and hauling our giant roll along luggage and heavy backpacks, we opted for a taxi this round. At this point we were already feeling a bit defeated as the airport security had confiscated our tent stakes and pocket knife (whoops!), but we were still optimistic. After rolling our bags down the pot-hole lined gravel road to what was established as the ‘tent area’, we soon discovered that one of the tent poles had bent into an unusable form. Ugh. You can guess that I was fairly frustrated at this point. Without an alternative, my hero boyfriend jerry-rigged the tent into a semi-functional, semi-suffocating sleeping area. It worked. By morning we decided we would find a hostel.
When we awoke to the sound of monkey’s (which we later learned we just birds) and learned that we were surrounded by a beautiful rainforest environment with rolling green hills AND rumors that kangaroo were known to visit the area at dusk, we decided to stay another night. And then another. Which turned into 4 nights camping in our make-shift tent. We may be crazy, but it grew on us… There was a sense of community here. We met an older Australian guy who had been living in the park for a while and was able to give us some great advice for our sailing trip and we enjoyed the ‘camp homes’ that many live-ins had created. It was inspiring. At night we’d cook our dinners in the camp kitchen and watch Australian Celebrity Splash with a bunch of fellow backpackers from Germany and France… Addiction to reality TV is a common trend in 1st world countries everywhere it seems. The bathrooms where clean, the showers were warm, and we were a stone’s throw from the beach.
More than 4 nights may have been excessive, but for the time we were there our dysfunctional camping experience turned out to be quite charming indeed.