For all my avid readers who are wondering what I’m currently up to (aka mom & dad) (but they already know from FaceTiming), I’m currently working in Airlie Beach in Queensland. After my trip out west and in the red centre in May and June, my bank account balance was rapidly declining, so I decided I needed to find a job.
While in Northern Territory I applied to a couple different jobs throughout the country but decided I needed to commit to one location and just go look for jobs there. I decided to try my luck in Airlie Beach because it was somewhere I had thought about working before I came to Australia. I had visited briefly in April with my parents and liked it. And to be honest, I wanted to come back to see Hill Inlet since we hadn’t gone there during our visit, and do an overnight sailing trip (I have now done both!).
Airlie is a really small town of around 8,000 inhabitants. It’s known as the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands, a collection of 74 islands off mainland Australia on the Great Barrier Reef. People love to describe it as a “transient” town; most people that work here are backpackers that stay for two or three months. Those coming to visit usually stay only one or two nights before heading out on a boat trip or to one of the islands.
Initially I wanted to find work on one of the island resorts, but when I stupidly mentioned I only had two months left on my visa, that quickly got me dropped from the hiring pool. It felt like ages before I was able to find work, but in reality it was only five days. It had been a while since I’d had to go around handing out resumes, and let me tell you it’s not very fun. In the end I found a couple different options for work: I worked a couple days at a restaurant, I did work for accommodation at a bar and found work cleaning boats. After a quick jaunt down to Byron Bay, when I returned I quit the restaurant and bar and found work at the hostel I initially stayed at, Backpackers by the Bay, where I get free accommodation and pay. It’s pretty cruisy. The days are long but we get a lot of down time. My workmates and I live in a separate part of the hostel with our own room, bathroom, kitchen and living room with a couch AND a TV — these are luxuries for backpackers.
For the first month I was working every single day between my job at the hostel and doing boat cleaning on the side. So while my Facebook and Instagram may make it look like I’m off playing and snorkeling around the islands every other day, my day-to-day is much more boring. But not that boring. I live in a tropical area where winter temperatures hover around 70 degrees F. I can see the water from the backyard of the hostel. My second job is at a marina where I work outside and stare at fancy boats all day. And while I work 12 hour days at the hostel, I will still go out sometimes until 3 or 4 am on work nights. (Just kidding mom & dad…) Hey it’s called working holiday.
In the past couple weeks I’ve taken more of a break. On my days off I’ve gone down to the lagoon, gone for walks or runs, or simply just chilled. I’ve been out on one or two day trips around the islands, and just recently went out on a 3 day 2 night live aboard trip with my friend Natasha who came to visit. And let’s not forget about when I spent the 4th of July on a super yacht, playing on jet skis and drinking champagne in a jacuzzi on the bow of the boat. Just an average day in the Whitsundays.
Although Airlie is small, it’s not a bad place to spend a couple months. There are definitely worse places to stay for a couple of months while you save up money. My time here (and in Australia) is quickly coming to an end. I have just a couple more days of work before I leave and go up to Magnetic Island off of Townsville. I’ll stay there for five days while I get my open-water scuba certification. Then back down to Sydney for two days before I catch my flight back home!