Hervey Bay: An exercise in Frustration
Some days of the trip are particularly great, others can go depressingly wrong, almost driving you to the point of trying to hop on the next plane back home. Sometimes you get a few of those bad days in a row. We were most definitely currently going through one of those spells. After the trials and tribulations of vaccinations on the run, we spent a day in Hervey Bay growing steadily more frustrated. Or maybe more accurately, Brodie spent a day watching me growing steadily more frustrated. It started with the receptionist at Koala Beach Resort where we were booked in. Completing check in was a long process with her regularly disappearing into the back to blow her nose. This was the first hostel that didn’t seem to keep records of online bookings. She expected me to magically print up an email on my invisible printer, even though she’d just taken all the details down from my netbook screen. Any dealing with her was a long drawn out process more painful than pulling teeth.
Overall, the hostel was short on useful information and we quickly decided to have as little dealings with them as possible. The room itself was ok, but there was a lot of noise if you didn’t keep the noisy air conditioning unit going all the time. Wifi internet access didn’t extend as far as our room which was only metres away from reception. So you got to sit on a bench outside reception wondering how long before your netbook melted in the heat. While we could purchase internet time, the access point ignored any credit I added to my main global gossip account while also insisting on charging me in New Zealand Dollars when I added credit directly through it. I couldn’t conceive of any reason it would be useful for an Australian hotspot to do this as I tried to calculate the correct NZD value to add in order to meet the AUD minimum access charge.
Also, after some exploration it became clear that the hostel was not where it was supposed to be. At least not according to the hostelbooker website where it was marked as being close to the coach drop-off point in Pialba. This place was miles away from where it was pinpointed on the map. Just as well we hadn’t tried walking to it when we arrived in the middle of the night – this would have been impossible to reach in broad daylight. Considering location had been the sole reason for choosing the accommodation in the first place, I was quite irritated to find there was actually no good reason at all for us being there.
Setting that aside for now, it was time to try and arrange a tour out to Fraser Island which we needed to do before the next overnight train up to Airlie Beach. There are a bewildering number of sites on the web for doing these tours, most of them hard to decipher. You can complete a booking process, credit card details and all, before being told the trip isn’t available for the date you selected. Without the benefit of any advice from our unfriendly hostel staff, it wasn’t proving easy at all. Entirely sick of dealing with the Koala Beach Resort by now, it was time to cut our losses and go back to the start – I booked us into a new hostel for the next few days, operating on the assumption it had to be an improvement. The Aussie Woolshed was about 20 mins away, but closer to the main town, and it looked a lot quieter when we walked up to see where it was.
Getting out of the hostel for a while, we slathered ourselves in sun cream and took a walk out along the beach. We strolled up past Torquay, passing various piers, and a film crew that were on location trying to film a couple stranded on an overturned boat. It’s a long beach, not the most picturesque we’ve seen, but it’s clean, sandy and spacious. We stopped for a refreshing swim in the warm waters on our return, before passing by a wedding ceremony taking place on the beach. Having cooled down, we decided to go for some mexican food, walking back to Torquay to try Gringos which was yet another disappointment with stodgy, tasteless food. Then it was back to our room to relax, watch some Mad Men and hope things would improve the next day.