Airlie Beach is another tiny town on the coast which doesn't have much to it except the activities it gives you access to. Our Ozbus driver insisted on calling it "scary beach" as well, which was hilarious on every single one of the 375 occasions he did it in the space of a few hours. The town itself was a nice place that primarily catered for tourists and our room at the hostel was more like a 1970s house, complete with a kitchen that was completely empty. On that first night I found out first hand how devious and determined Australian ants are: I carelessly left a bag of rice on one of the beds, went out and upon my return found a swarm of them on the bed and in a line to the door. I cannot even begin to guess how many ants were slaughtered during the ensuing thirty minutes of antocide.
The next day was occupied by our trip to the Whitsunday Islands, but we found that the first two we went to didn't really have, well, anything of interest on them at all really. The first one was called Daydream Island and consisted of one resort that wasn't even open when we arrived, and the second (Hamilton Island) had a nice seaside town and marina but was meant more for yacht owners or people wanting to stay there. None of that mattered though, as the main reason we went on this trip was to see Whitehaven beach, which was our third, last and longest stop of the day. We were there for three hours and, for the first two when it was sunny, it was amazing. The sand there is incredible (99% silica, whatever that means... something about each grain being round and smooth rather than rough) and makes this weird squeaking sound when you walk on it. So we stayed there for a while taking in the view, I buried Jacqui in the sand and ran off, and after a while the weather became more overcast.
It was an early check out as we had to get our oz bus at 7am, we were apparently heading to the "outback" to a place called Kroombit for a unique over night experience...Australians haven't even heard of it. We were going to be spending the night at Lochenbar cattle station. Paul and I were a little apprehensive but it turned out to be a lot of fun. Dinner was included with the accommodation and we had a nice roast meal which Paul was content with...My veggie option was a bit dodgy, god knows what it was. Before dinner the people that worked a the station tried to get us to eat this disgusting looking meat, I think I was the only person to refuse as I didn't know what it was so I wasn't going to be trying it. It turned out to be goats meat so i don't think I missed out. After dinner we were taught how to crack a whip. We all had to stand on a little tool and wear protective goggles, I was pretty rubbish at it but I managed to do it a couple of times. Paul was much better and managed to crack it a few more times and got the hang of it. I stupidly put my name down to do the bucking bronco and was called up to do it first infront of everyone, I flatly refused but had a go after a couple of others had done it. I lasted roughly 0.5 seconds and was traumatised for life, it was one of the scariest things I have ever done and I will not be partaking in that kind of activity ever again. To be fair all the girls lasted a similar amount of time so compared to everyone else I wasn't too rubbish. After that we all got a drink from the bar and played silly observation games around the camp fire with the other guests and the crazy staff that worked there, it was fun at first but got a little boring and repetitive so we swiftly went to bed after a while.
The next morning we woke up to the sounds of a screeching peacock sitting outside our door. After breakfast it was time for the days activities to start. Firstly we watched another girl do some clay pigeon shooting (you had to pay extra to do most things). The main event was creating our own goat rodeo, we had to get into pairs and learn how to use a lasoo, I was awful at it so Paul took on the role of the lasooer. We then had to take turns in our pairs to catch a goat in a pen by using a lasoo and then pretending to brand it...we were timed doing so. Like I said Paul was the lasooer but if he didn't manage to catch it with that I had the job of chasing the goat around the pen grabbing it, picking it up, putting it on its back and holding it whilst Paul grabbed the brander. Unfortunately Paul didn't get the goat with the lasoo so it was up to me to grab it by its horns...however I wasn't very keen on this idea and instead I stood there shouting "ahhhh Paul you get it I don't know what to do" so Paul saved the day and grabbed the poor thing by its horns and dragged it over to me and then I picked it up and held it down while Paul got the branding thing. I think we came 4th out of 5 which I was actually quite pleased with as it was quite a traumatic experience. Then as a group the crazy cowboy man that worked there made us all hold hands and put an electric current through the circle..which was quite unpleasant. After all that excitement Paul and I had opted to pay extra to go horse riding around the surrounding area, rounding up the goats and moving them to another pen to eat. We went up and down some pretty steep hills and had to hold on really tight so it was a bit nerve racking at times. I really enjoyed it though, as I really wanted to do some horse riding whilst I was away, I think Paul liked it too, we a couple of nice horses, they misbehaved quite a lot though as they kept stopping to eat and drink and refusing to move. Paul's horse was called Dozer and mine was named Bob, towards the end of the ride though they got a bit nasty with each other and refused to walk with each other. After the horse riding we went back to our oz bus and started the long journey to Hervey Bay.