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Party report #2 from Airlie Beach

This one was from mid 1998 if I recall rightly.

Hobie 16 Races

Hog's Breath Cafe and Whitsunday Sailing Club put on a week of Hobie 16 catamaran races. There are a standard size cat, all absolutely identical, so only skill makes you a winner. Indeed, Hog's Breath supplied all the cats, all brand new, and they were assigned randomly to the teams. I learned later that they had pre-sold all of them at a good discount off the normal $10,000+ price, and shipped them all over the world the week after the races. I wonder how much of a deal they got for buying more than 60 at once?

We were nicely positioned to sit on the balcony with a cool drink and watch them through the binoculars. Would have been even better if we knew what the rules were, or precisely where the course ran. A few weeks later we got to watch the races again on TV during a sports show special.

When the prizes were awarded and the final set of parties were held, there was yet another set of fireworks in the evening, and as usual we had a box office view.

Hogs Breath Beach Party

Monday 7th September, way up the other end of town, where Hog's Breath backs onto the beach. But they were noisy enough to hear just about everywhere.

Whitsunday Vista Cup

Held September 10-11, with Maxi yachts like Matador, Condor, Apollo, Ragamuffin, Hammer of Queensland, The Card and Siska. The trouble with the maxis is that they rapidly zip out way towards the horizon. Fireworks from the Sailing Club in the evening, with bands and the works, and us with our usual fine view of it all.

Great Whitsunday Fun Race

Saturday 12th September. Actually there are races and parties the whole Fun Race week, commencing the previous Saturday. There were also more police patrols than I've ever seen before in the town. The Saturday night was decidedly the most active I've seen here.

Hair of the Dog

The 13th annual Hair of the Dog was held Sunday 13th September, the day after the Fun Race. Chicken and champagne breakfast at the Whitsunday Sailing Club, Airlie Beach hotel contributing specially labelled champagne. The party at Hook Island started when the racers arrived, and seemed to continue all over Hook and Airlie all night. The winner's name was drawn from a hat, and there were prizes for Best Galley Slave, Most Chaotic Boat and more. Race organiser was again Ding Fox.

Big Gig

End of September. A leukaemia fund raising party, for Townsville General Hospital, in conjunction with Whitsunday Sailing Club. Lots of neat fireworks, and bands until late in the night. We had a great view from the balcony.

Airlie Beach Party

This was a rock concert on the beach on October 17, organised by TNT backpacker magazine and Airlie Beach Backpacker's Association. Lots of giveaways for your $3 ticket, lots of noise into the Saturday night. Lots of beer on tap, with Victoria Bitter a co-sponsor. Lots of mess around the streets, but at least at the beach the council made the promoters organise a cleanup crew, and a dozen people were removing every trace of rubbish at dawn on Sunday morning. Well, all except the dozen or so people who were still asleep along the beach. We got to hear it pretty well up here, but they were only allowed to continue to midnight.

Oktoberfest at Reef Gateway

This excuse for German brass bands and German beer would have worked a lot better had it not been for the torrential rain. A tent big enough for 600 is all very well, but not when it rains.


Everyone had Halloween parties on Saturday 31st October. Hog's Breath was redecorated in Gothic, Charlies Sports Bar had changed all the street lights into Halloween pumpkins, Beaches had a party, as did Magnums. Tequila Willies chef had carved pumpkins. Even the staff at Brumby's hot bread shop were wearing black witches hats.

Burton's Circus

Burton's Circus was in town as well, with the big top directly across Boathaven Bay from our balcony. Performance at 7 p.m. until late, and another one on Sunday afternoon. Couldn't stick around for the Sunday, since I had to pick up Jean at the airport at Mackay.

Melbourne Cup Day

Tuesday 3rd November and every place in town was having a party, or special food event for lunch. All at pretty silly prices, given you can pick up a $3 roast or fish and chips, with a (small) pot of beer included, for lunch most days.

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