Airlie Beach and a poker tournament

We arrived about 8 am on the Greyhound bus.   It’s worth mentioning that the Greyhound bus in Australia is a lot different then America.  The buses were brand new and it was mainly younger travelers on gap year who were working their way down the coast just like us.   The buses were actually pretty comfortable too.

Once we arrived Ashley and I were pretty tired but also excited to check our Airlee beach.   Instead of booking a hostel we decided to go for an Airbnb this time.   We took a taxi from the bus stop and made our way up to the Airbnb.   This particular listing turned out to be a bed and breakfast with about 4 rooms that were all very private from one another.   Once we pulled up to the place we were quickly greeted by the owner’s friend who let us into the room.  The room was excellent and we actually had a good view of Airlie beach from the place.

Shortly after arriving we were greeted by two small kittens who made their way through the open door.  Ashley was ready to adopt them!   We had to play a little game of cat and mouse (see what I did there) with them but eventually we got them to go back outside.   Ashley was also in a silly mood and decided to do a few faces for the camera!

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Once we were settled into the place we had a couple days to check out the city.   We made our way down to the city on the first day and it was a pretty small town but had a lot of restaurants and bars in the area.  They were heavily focused on schoolies there and there were a lot of kids.  Schoolies are Sr. High School kids who just finished high school finals and are generally 18 so they are legal to drink in Australia.    The schoolies were everywhere when we were in Airlee beach.

We had a really awesome burger at a place called Little Vegas Burger Bar.  It was easily the best burger we had on the trip up to this point.   We were right next to the beach at this point so we decided to venture that direction.  Between the main road and the beach area we spotted a public swimming area.  The public swimming area was half park half swimming pool.  It was a really neat setup because they brought sand into parts of the swimming pool area so it felt more like you were hanging out at a beach than a swimming pool.  You couldn’t really get in the ocean from Airlie beach (ironically) so this was a really cool set up for the city.

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We ended up walking all through town and then all the way to the end of the main street.  We decided to walk back towards the beach and then work our way back up the beach.   On our way back we came across a public restroom which was good timing for me.  Once inside I was greeted by the most hilarious bathroom I have ever seen in my life!

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As we came back through town we ended up passing one bar that advertised a free poker tournament the next night.  That naturally caught my eye and I mentioned it to Ashley.  She didn’t say no so we were back at that bar the next night with a beer in hand!   I had to do a little convincing to get Ashley on board but I convinced her to give the tournament a shot.  It was free so I told her what do you have to lose!   Once she was on board I went in to sign us up.   I assumed this would be a very casual little game with 15 to 20 people who were drinking and just happened to be there.   NOPE.   Apparently Airlie beach is some sort of poker sleeper community.    When I signed us up 30 minutes before it started there were 30 people on the list.  By the time it actually started there were 55 people signed up.

Upon signing up we learned that entry is free and you get 3,000 chips.  However, for $3 you can double the amount of chips you start with.  Obviously you have to do that so I signed us up for the extra chips.   But wait, there’s more!   If you drink 4 beers and get 4 stamps on your drink card (per person) you get an extra 5,000 chips if you can make it to the first break.   I dutifully filled my drink card and got the extra chips at break.   Ashley and I both made it to the first break and there were still around 30 people left in the tournament.  Ashley was doing awesome and we had been there for about 1.5 hours playing already.   Ashley eventually busted out but she came in within the top 20.  I wasn’t too far behind here and came in top 15 but didn’t make the final table.   We both had a good time and we had some pretty good conversations with the people that came to play so it was nice to get to talk to some local people about the area.

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We had spent a few days in Airlie beach now but we still had one big excursion planned.  One of the biggest things to see near Airlee beach is the Whitsunday Islands.     We ended up booking a day trip near the end of our stay that required a very early morning (8 a.m. gasp!).  We walked home and went to bed ready for our day trip the next day!

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