<WH in Australia>Unforgettable experience at Airlie Beach, terrified but precious memory

I’ve never thought it would happen to me, but no one would expect that. I just tried to catch up some pieces last week at Airlie Beach, in which I’ve been through. I believe there is still more stories to hear about and what I wrote is only my experience.


We got a chance to leave Airlie Beach and head to Townsville on Thursday (March 30) by bus, which we did not know who organized that. When I approached to police at port of Airlie and asked, who can get the bus? Any limitation? How much should I pay? He said no limitation and free. He just wanted to help. At that time, you probably never knew how I appreciated it.


We lost power and phone connection on Tuesday early hour. Then, water on Wednesday morning, as well. If you stayed at Hotel, they might have generator that can charge your phone. If like us, staying at Hostel, there is definitely no electricity. Telstra has the only telecommunication company with weak signal. International tourists who have global roaming should be able to link to Telstra. Payphone booth is only for free call. At that moment, information is scarce and piece. All you can do is to ask people on the street and see what they know.


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Due to bad weather, the ways to north, south, airport are flooded or closed. Flights and greyhound bus were kept canceling. We didn’t know when exactly we are able to leave. Given condition of no water and power, every sec is slow and tortured for us. Woolworth open on Thursday morning, water and food ran out very quickly. Even Telstra sim card is also sold out.


However, other telecommunication companies recovered signal on Thursday afternoon. We heard Australia Army helped clean out the way to Townsville on Thursday. Then we got on the bus and left. When we arrived in Townsville stadium, it is the best place I’ve been to. Comfort food, shining light, flushing toilet, place with shower, accommodation assistance, finance assistance. For sure, warmest greeting there. Like a heaven, no exaggerate.


After being through this, I was lucky. The hostel where I stay was safe. Even in the bad condition, I was helped by many people and had much fun at the hostel. I even learned billiards and met many european backpackers there. Someone told me, we never know what will happen to us. Every bad decision maybe a good decision. We though we are here for pleasure, but storm hit. However, we have never been to here now. We won’t meet each other. I relieved after he said. There is highly possible we will never see each other. I will remember all guys at that hostel and played billiards there. We put down the phone because phone was just for lighting at that moment. We are more closer and put relationship back to face to face.


There were still some people around Queensland and part of NSW who still suffered due to Cyclone Debbie. Hope they can be saved and community at Airlie Beach were recovered soon. I felt guilty after leaving. I felt I just abandoned someone there. I only can follow news to know what happened there. I came to there and saw only devastating there. Wish they can be gorgeous places again and stay safe.


I was born in Taiwan, where is many typhoons every year, so I am not afraid of cyclone. However, I have never been to that situation, no water no power no connection for many days. So, I am really thankful that many workers fix power, water and open stores on such bad days in Taiwan. You deserve the best honor, definitely. Every employer should think it is a compromised way to make their employees are safe. Everyone should be safe.


Useful information: Road Travel in Queensland, check this before you go.


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