It's true that the weather can make a big difference to your first impressions of a new town. We arrived in the much talked-about and highly-rated Airlie Beach at 7am one grey miserable overcast morning. It's true, the lack of sleep from the overnight bus journey probably did not help matters either, but we hated the place from the moment we stepped off the bus.
First impressions: a seaside resort attracting chavs of all nationalities and ages. I thought we had arrived in the TV series 'Benidorm'. There was even a Neptunes...
We checked in at a backpacker hostel and paid for a private double room for ourselves. Not that we were inclined to do so, but the kind lady at reception looked us up and down and told us that we wouldn't survive a night in one of the cheaper mixed dorms. It was that kind of place.
Quickly dumping our bags in our room, we turned around and headed out in search of breakfast. The town was slowly beginning to wake up, but McDonalds was by far the busiest venue at that time of morning. Leaving Mark there to die a slow and painful death on 'maccasfreewifi' whilst backing up our photos, I voluntarily headed off to research a day trip to the Whitsunday Islands which was the main reason we had come to Airlie Beach. By lunchtime I had found the perfect day trip for us at a competitive price and booked us in for the day after next when it was expected for the weather to clear up.
That gave us two days in Airlie Beach to catch up on ourselves, sorting through travel photos, updating our blog and generally taking it easy. Of course in between blogging and eating we saw the sights of Airlie Beach - the beach itself plus the man-made lagoon area complete with sand and lifeguard. And when the sun came back out we began to see the town and beach in a more positive light - but only just.