We have officially arrived in Australia, this is all very real now! We arrived in cairns on Friday with a plan to stay a week before heading off down the east coast. But there’s no real plans and we’re very flexible, which is handy as one week in cairns has already been extended to two (but more on that later)
We are staying at a hostel called Gilligans as we’d heard it was THE place to stay. It’s absolutely massive and has its own club downstairs. After checking in and finding out they’d put us in separate dorms, we went for a walk round the bar/pool area to discover we were the only girls in sight. Turns out at this time of year Australia football teams from the south come to Gilligans for a lads piss up weekend. The rooms are pretty nice, a few annoying things like no plugs near the beds, but other then that it’s all good. Paying for the cheaper rooms does have its drawbacks though – we’re in 2 of the 4 rooms on the whole floor that don’t have balconies and are unfortunately situated just above the DJ booth in the bar downstairs that plays loud music til 3am every night and 5am on Friday and Saturday. You can literally feel the bed shake with the base coming up through the floor. At least it drowns out the guy snoring in the bed next to me. As they say ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ and we’ve definitely got to know the cairns nightlife well since arriving.
As for cairns, arriving from the airport and driving through the suburbs and town, we weren’t particularly excited. We’d heard lots of people describe it as backwards and it does feel like we’re in America in a mid-country state with its old buildings and cars. It’s hardly the most beautiful town I’ve seen, but at least it’s small and compact so we can walk everywhere, and after a few days we’re really starting to warm to it and found the nicer places. Especially after a miserable start and the sun came out. I think coming from Asia as well it has a very homely feel as it’s nice to be surrounded by familiar things. We got so excited going to the supermarket and seeing food we’d been missing and also new exciting things. Supermarkets here are amazing and being able to cook for ourselves rather then eat out every meal is such a great feeling.
We’ve not done huge amounts yet as it’s taken us quite a while to sort out Australian sims and bank cards. Moving money from UK to an Australia account is harder then I thought, and have my sisters help and patience to thank massively! So for the first few days we’ve just been chilling around town, the hostel and the lagoon. We also spent about three hours with Charles from happy travels booking most of our east coast travel. Being used to Asia and the ability to book tours a few hours before, we didn’t think that being unorganised would be an issue. But it sort of is! Basically all the popular trips book up early and the soonest we could get on the whitsundays boat we liked is 31st October, hence hanging around Cairns for longer than planned! In a few hours we’d spent a grand each booking whitsundyas, magnetic island, Fraser Island, Reef diving, hop on hop off bus to Sydney and many more little bits a long the way. We’ve gone from not having any plans to a full on two month itinerary, and a lot less money in the bank!