On Friday 3 March I finally arrived in tropical Cairns, the last stop of my East Coast trip and Australia for a while!
For the first five nights I stayed at the infamous Gilligan’s. I decided to stay here because I’d heard it was amazing and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The hostel itself is clean and the nightclub is pretty cool (it’s not your typical dingy backpacker bar) but to be honest it’s just another massive hostel that doesn’t really offer anything else apart from free entry to the club – I prefer smaller hostels with events as they tend to not only have a better atmosphere but usually include free WiFi and breakfast etc.
For the remaining five nights I moved to Mad Monkey backpackers which in my opinion is much better than Gilligan’s. For the same price you get extras like really good free WiFi (most hostels in Australia make you pay), air-con, nice bar/pool area and sociable events. The best part though is the free hot breakfast which they offer as it’s honestly the best free breakfast I’ve everhad from a hostel, and I’ve stayed in a LOT of hostels.
Apart from my rant about hostels, if you’re in Cairns you need to book a Atherton Tableland or Cape Tribulation tour with Uncle Brian’s because it’s informative and hilarious…the reviews don’t lie! I did the one day Cape Tribulation tour which involved a crocodile tour; exploring the oldest tropical rainforest in the world, the Daintree Rainforest; swimming in freshwater streams; visiting Port Douglas and seeing the spot where Steve Irwin died, lovely. Seeing Stingrays whilst snorkelling is actually really common, you gotta be careful in these Straya waters!
With Cairns being the last stop of my East Coast trip it’s been really nice as I’ve actually have time to relax – sometimes travelling can feel exhausting when you don’t spend more than two days in one place. Although it’s cyclone season, I’ve been lucky with the weather as I’ve spent everyday reading and tanning by the lagoon (I’m pretty impressed with how brown I am now!). If you’ve never been to Cairns, the heat can get a bit intense because of the humidity (it reminds me of being in Asia) so be prepared to feel like you’re cooking alive!
Seeing as Cairns is backpacker central, I’ve spent my nights taking advantage of all the events involving free food and booze! My favourite was with Paradise Travel/Woolshed on Friday’s because there was lots of free goon, beer, cider, champagne, sex on the beach cocktails and a crazy amount of pizza! With girls drinking free in The Woolshed and Gilligan’s, it’s definitely a North Queensland thing as you’d never get that in New South Wales…or if you’re boy. 😛
With my Australian visa ending on March 13th, I was going to go back to Asia before using my second year visa. However, after spending the last 17 months in the sunshine and on beaches, I’ve decided to have a change of scenery and check out New Zealand because it looks so beautiful and I really enjoy the outdoors. Until next time Oz!