Cairns is like marmite, or since I am in Australia it’s like vegemite, you either love it or you hate it! This city for me however, was amazing and I would have stayed there even longer if I could as it just has so much to do and see.
So, I hear you asking me what is so great about it? Well for a start, it is absolutely set up for backpackers like us, I arrived on the greyhound bus at very early hours of the morning and everything you need is a mere 5 minute walk from the station, so it started in my good books. Although it is a city it’s not huge and has a more village vibe to it which is lovely if you want somewhere more relaxed. First of all us travellers all need a little help organising fun activities sometimes and there are plenty of companies with their ‘agents of persistence’ as I like to call them, eager to get you inside and help you out. You can get some good deals and end up paying a lot less if you shop around here:
These are just some of the main shops you will find and be constantly having to dodge the amazingly happy advertisers. However this provides ample chance for grabbing a job if you are looking for one to help fund your travels.
The many things to do in Cairns includes:
- The lagoon
- Scuba dive the great barrier reef
- Night life
The lagoon is probably the most famous in Cairns, it’s awesome on those hot days when you just want to laze around in the sun with a great pool to cool off in, sometimes there is even live bands playing in the grass area, this really is the cherry on top!
Skydive! I technically did my skydive on mission beach with a shuttle from cairns, but the view was similar to what it would be in cairns. The scene is truly breath taking looking out over the great barrier reef and all the beauty of the sea is absolutely worth the terror you may be feeling at the prospect of jumping out a plane thousands of feet up in the sky!
Snorkeling was another big must for me as it was just a sensational experience to see the natural beauty and purity of colour and life under the sea. I booked a package day trip that included three different sights to Snorkel andan opportunity for amateurs to dive with an instructor, which took a lot of getting used to but an awesome time and a great first time activity. You can find lots of these package deals including lunch and drop offs to hostels in the travel agents shops I spoke about before, definitely check for a deal as some offer different activities and better offers if you hold a padi certificate.
Food, fun and a place to lay your head..
Okay, the big one everyone wants to know.. The night life, in Cairns it’s pretty good with a few cheap backpacking hotspots such as Woodshed, it always has a different themed night on and lively music with a great crowd of interesting characters! if you prefer a classier watering hole, I would suggest Salthouse which if you could guess, rather more expensive (more like $15 for beer $8 spirit single) but it has great atmosphere and a lovely seating area with a view of the water which is gorgeous at night. Of course you can not pass up the famous Gilligans party hostel with something going on every day on the week till about 5am each morning and ladies it’s our night on Thursdays with free champagne, always a great bonus and incentive to go anywhere! Another party hostel to consider would be Asylum although it is quite far from the centre of the city it has a great atmosphere to meet people, so don’t go there if you are shy! But Thursday night that is the place to be with the PANTS DOWN PARTY including pizza, t-shirt and bar crawl!
So I know you are all wondering the first thing I think of when I get to a place.. Where is cheap to eat a decent meal?! Well PJ O Briens is the place for you, $7 meal deals including a nice cider or beer is where to be! I went there nearly every day for a good hearty meal that we travellers rarely see due to budget issues not to mention the state of kitchens in hostels, try cooking with no oven!
Take a dip
Moving away from food.. Some more trips that are definitely worth the money or doing yourself if you can hire a car for cheaper. I met friends in Cairns and they had their own camper van so we decided to create an adventure and explore Cape Tribulation by ourselves which is quite simple as it is a fairly straight Road frim the city but beware in your budget as there is a toll for an unavoidable ferry $25 return, but after that you are free! There are plenty of view points and small secluded beaches to find as well as mini treks and sights so take your boots! There is so much to see and do that you could easier camp there and use two days to explore thoroughly.
Another of the trips I went on was Barefoot tours, a day tour around the water falls in the mountain areas outside the city. I can honestly recommend this group as I had such a great time, they take you to about 4 different waterfalls including the famous Mila Mila falls (que Peter Andre!!) and taught us the hair flick technique. For $90 all day including food, hostel pick ups and they take pictures so no need to worry about waterproofing your camera, I feel it was well worth the money.
We all love the weather man
Now, one piece of advice I will give you is always check the expected weather before you travel to a place, it can completely change your plans and chance to make the most of a place. Most of the time the city is the usual sit out and ‘sizzle like a sausage’ hot as you would expect from this location in Australia however it does have a wet season you have to look out for starting in December till February although this always means less travellers and more job opportunities! Always look on the bright side of life…