Ayr, Queensland Rating: 65/100
On the surface Ayr is a simple regional Aussie town on an economic downturn in the heart of cane country with a steady flow of international backpackers meeting their visa requirements, doing farm work Australians can’t be arsed to do. There’s just about everything you need and it’s only an hour to Townsville.
But if you look a little closer you’ll see it’s very feudal. This is probably common in country towns, but feels more pronounced in Ayr. At the top of the pyramid, the wealthy cane farm owners who have immense generational wealth, then the merchants who pander to the whims of the gentry and their families. At the bottom, you’ll remember from Year 8 History, is the peasants, or serfs. In Ayr this strata is comprised of an underbelly of welfare dependent folk who are here because of the cheap housing. Now, in a town of very little in the way of employment opportunities, they’re trapped. There’s no public bus available, so a car really is a must to make the most of the region.
|Overall Experience||So, this cane farming town probably isn’t at the top of your destination wish list, but it does have a lot to offer cool footers. Ayr offers cheap, easy living and is a good base to travel from. As a destination in itself it also offers a good assortment of distractions. There are great shows at the theatre and a drive-in cinema among other attractions. The calendar of annual events provide some level of interest, not all are equal. Overall, if you have a vehicle, this is a great little spot to stop for a while.||15/20|
|Accommodation||You can get a six-month furnished rental for around $200.00 per week. Not exactly exquisite, but functional. This is much cheaper than the AirBnB or motel options. Even the ensuite room at the caravan park is $94.00 per night.||11/20|
|Food – DIY and Dining out||Being an agricultural hub, you don’t need to confine yourself to the big supermarkets. There’s good deals to be had from local producers on the side of the road, farmers markets and local butchers. At first it feels like there’s a lot of options to eat out, but when you cut out those not worth the effort of getting dressed you’re left with a few. The best of these are: Swae and Ivy and CAVA Indian Restaurant. This Trip Advisor list of moderately priced places will steer you in the right direction.||13/20|
|Ease of getting around||Getting there is reasonably easy, even without a car. It is on the train line and there’s a Greyhound bus from Townsville a few times a day for under $30.
Being a smallish town, you’ll find it’s easy to walk places. However, there’s no public bus system and any transport beyond the town is very limited.
|Interest level||At certain times of the year there’s an exciting calendar of events. There’s a lovely theatre, cinema, drive-in and golf course. Let’s not forget about the fishing, although it will pay to know someone with a boat. Otherwise there’s always somewhere you can visit for a few days or longer to the North, South or West.
Anytime you want some exercise, head to Mount Inkerman to Feel the Burn.
|Safety||Mostly pretty safe. Some drunken violence spilling out onto the streets from nightspots every now and then, but no scammers and the water is safe to drink.||16/20|