What a change of events the last week has been. After a 15 hour drive up the coast, we made it to Airlie beach late on Saturday night. This was only after our car got towed off the highway to the nearest auto mechanic because it overheated – and this right after I thought we were in the clear after the last car incident. $180 dollars later, the car is kind of fixed. The head gasket is damaged – a massive repair job that would take days and thousands of dollars – neither of which we have at our disposal. The mechanic produces a band-aid solution by adding a pill to the radiator coolant that should hold us over as he says, “somewhere between 10 kilometres to a year”. Not very reassuring.
We decide to give a shot as its really our only option and see how far we get. We drive for the next 7 hours straight until we run out of gas, not wanting to stop the car for anything in case it decides not to start again. At the halfway city of Rockhampton, we stop for gas and decide to push through to make it to Airlie Beach. There is no way I can sleep not knowing if the car is going to start the following day. After 15 long hours driving through the middle of nowhere for the most part, we arrive at Airlie Beach. It seems Andrew knows people who live in all the right places, and has a friend that we are able to crash with in Airlie for Saturday and Sunday night.
We wake up Sunday morning to ANZAC day – the Australian Remembrance Day. ANZAC days in most cities throughout Australia, is commemorated by a dawn service, and then like every other Australian holidays, everyone heads straight to the bar. We have witnessed now almost all of the Australian holidays and have come to realize the focus mostly on drinking at your local pub from morning till night.
After a few drinks we decide to spend the day checking out the town since it will be our last day on the mainland for who knows how long. I feel both nervous and excited for what lays ahead. Luckily, I have a contact there, Brooke, who got Andrew and I the jobs and will have the inside scoop on how things work there. It’s an early night as we finish our packing knowing this is the last time we will see civilization for the next several months. Good-bye main land Australia, hello Hayman Island!