When I told my Australian friend that I was planning a visit to Cairns, he suggested that I stay in a big backpacker retreat named Gilligans. Although I value his opinion, I decided to take a quick peek at Tripadvisor to check out some reviews.
I quickly realized that this wasn't the hostel I was looking for. Reviewers described music from the attached nightclub blasting every night until 3am combined with drunk, shirtless guys throwing up in the hallways. A good place if you want to party, but that wasn't my reason to visit the city.
As I looked for alternative accommodations, I noticed a place called the "Traveller’s Oasis.” The name itself sounded inviting, and my positive notion was supported by its top notch reviews.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by Helen. Originally from the UK, she had fallen in love with the city and never left. I was pleasantly surprised by the friendly and informative welcome I received. As she showed me around the hostel, she brought me up to date on the best local eateries, shops, and tours.
I have to give Helen a big thumbs up. Having been to hundreds of hostels and hotels, I know that this cannot be taken for granted and always appreciate it when a staff member goes out of his or her way to ensure that guests have a wonderful stay.
This hostel is really true to its name. Located just outside the city center, it’s surrounded by lush vegetation and palm trees. With temperatures in the 30's most of the year, its cute little pool provides a lovely way to cool off. The common area is great for having an afternoon beer, mingling with the other travelers, or grilling a freshly caught snapper.
There are plenty of things to do around Cairns. The main attractions are the nearby rain forests and the Great Barrier Reef. There are hundreds of different tours to choose from, ranging from cable car rides, scenic train rides, overnight jungle tours, diving & snorkeling trips, a visit to one of the many beaches to wild water rafting. One thing is for sure, you will never be bored here!
Two quick eating recommendations: for an amazing breakfast go to the Lily Pad cafe on Grafton street; sushi lovers check out The Sushi Train in the mall next to the train station!