The bus journey from Cairns to Airlie was not as painful as the last 12 hour trip I made (Sydney-Melbourne) or maybe I just started the trip with lower expectations.
The coach was a bit warmer, no ridiculous films, I was much more tired when I started and I actually got to spread out across two seats for the whole journey, which meant I got a little bit more sleep and not such a sore neck - it also meant I was not rolling around the floor all night. Greyhound has so far been a success.
The only real shock was when at 3:34am the driver woke us all up and told us to get off the bus because we were not wearing seatbelts and the police were about. So we all got out in the middle of nowhere, still half asleep and stood on the side of the road for about 30 mins while the driver conjured up a cappuccino from nowhere and chatted to these policemen. I honestly thought I had dreamt that bit until I woke up a little later on covered in mosquito bites with very muddy flip-flops. I still can't quite work out why we were standing outside and for so long but I think we were all too tired to think rationally at that point.
We eventually end up in Airlie beach. It is a stunning little beach town on the East Coast. It has one long road running through the centre with nothing but pubs, cafés, shops and cheap clothing outlets. It has a huge marina and a really lovely walkway running around the coast with lots of outdoor lagoons and swimming areas.
I wondered around the town for a bit, checked into my hostel and onto my sailing boat and then walked up and down hills for a few hours checking out some crazy birds, lizards and lots and lots of very expensive looking boats coming in and out of the port. I ate some bread, had an iced tea, finished my book (excellent by the way - 'The Secret Life of Bees') and just spent the afternoon trying to stay up and get a good night's sleep.
A note on hostels - so far Nomads has been fairly good every time. We were in 'Nomads All Nations' in Melbourne (not the best but livable), 'Nomads Cairns' and 'Nomads Airlie Beach'. They just get better and better the further South I go. The hostel in Airlie Beach is a selection of lovely huts, all air conditioned, all with en suite showers and bathrooms and all surrounding a lovely swimming pool. For $15 a night - it is a bargain.
The only slight downside is sharing with 7 18yr olds who are very sweet and excitable. I don't mind really but a lot of the time I am very conscious of the fact that had I been teaching A-level last year I would have been teaching most of them. I still feel like I am to be honest. A guy called Tom who got one A-level in Food Tech was on the bunk below mine and I spent about 20 minutes trying to persuade him that getting a tattoo on his penis would not be the best way to commemorate this trip.
The minute I get my own bed in my own room it is going to be hard to get me out.