Cairns marked the final stop on our East Coast trip. We drove there from mission beach almost three weeks ago now, having spent most of our money and set on trying to find ourselves a job.
We spent the first two nights in Gilligan’s, which has a reputation for being a party hostel. We were expecting drinking in the hostel to be the norm, only to find it has a licensed bar onsite. It’s a huge hostel, with four floors and a kitchen on every floor and a large swimming pool outside. While very clean and well looked after, we didn’t actually like it much in the end just because it’s so big and lacks much of a personality. Regardless, we went there for a night out and that’s what we did, heading to the onsite bar where we watched a strange game of ‘bogan bingo’, got free champagne for an hour just for being girls and apparently just missed the night’s wet t-shirt competition. We had a great night out in the end, but I wouldn’t say that’s because Gilligan’s itself is anything incredible.
After two nights in Gilligan’s we moved over to the Lazy Duck hostel just down the road. At only $18 a night compared to $27, and also offering a weekly rate of just $115 this is the main reason we moved hostel. It doesn’t have the best reviews online, and definitely isn’t the most modern place we’ve been in, but we’ve ended up loving this hostel and it really feels like a home. The owner is working really hard to do the hostel up, and in the three weeks we’ve been here they’ve replaced the stairs, started having artwork painted on the walls and are working on building a cinema room for us all to use. Everyone here is really friendly, and after only planning to stay a week initially we’ve ended up here for three.
After what felt like the longest 5 days of our lives looking for jobs, I managed to get a trial shift waitressing in a nice little seafood restaurant in a tiny village called Palm Cove, and two days later Emma was starting in that job behind the bar as well. So for the past two weeks we’ve been working away and starting to save up for the next leg of our adventure around Australia and in that time seen a few things around cairns.
In terms of nightlife, as well as Gilligan’s there is The Salt House on a Monday and The Woolshed on a Thursday which are popular nights out. The Salt House offers cheap drinks on Mondays and is set right on the waterfront, making for a really nice location for a night out, with a good selection of bars and seating areas around the place. On a Thursday night, The Lazy Duck hostel and The Waterfront hostel team up to organise a BBQ and night out, costing just $2 this gives you a ton of food, free jugs of beer and cider and free champagne for the ladies. Of our nights out in Cairns, I’d say The Salt House was my favourite, and hope to go back on a Monday night in the coming weeks.
We’ve only been for two meals out so far that weren’t just grabbing food on the go. One morning we stopped at Caffeined for breakfast, a cafe down a side street offering amazing meals and good coffee. I had the morning glory as pictured, and it was so much food I couldn’t even finish it. On another occasion we stopped in at The Woolshed for their lunchtime $10 pizza deal, getting this with a side of the most delicious fries I’ve tasted (only comparable to Domino’s Noosa).
Cairns offers plenty of markets as well, with Rusty’s fruit and veg market every Friday to Sunday, The Cairns Esplanade markets every Saturday, and the Night Markets offering crafts and foods every night of the week. As well as this, every night of the week at sunset thousands of Spectacled Flying Fox bats take off from a tree by Cairns Library to go eat, which is an incredible sight to see. We went along on a Friday night, where two women run ‘bat chats’, where they tell you all about the species of bat, their habits and history.
I’m going to split our Cairns adventures into a few posts as we’ll be living in the area for a few months, so next I’ll tell you about the sights to go see nearby such as Kuranda, Botanic Gardens, Cape Tribulation and Crystal Cascades (once I’ve been to all myself!).