Cairns

As I was booking into Parkview Hostel, Steve and Ken popped up and said hello. They had been at Parkview for a few days prior to my arrival, and had booked up a trip to Cape Tribulation. We went up with Jungle Tours to a hostel by the beach called PK’s. The brochure for Jungle Tours implied an organised safari tour of sorts, where it was really just a glorified bus with a cheerful, knowledgeable and sexy driver, (cheers Em.) I would recommend them, but you have to read the brochure carefully to see that the breakfast stop requires you to buy breakfast. We got to PK’s at about lunchtime, and I tried to book up one of the many optional excursions, only to find that the ones I wanted to do were either not running, or were already booked up. They were not very organised. It pays to phone ahead and pre book for this one. Anyway - we spent the afternoon on the beach (which was almost empty, and an amazing beach), the evening in the bar (as our slab of VB had been confiscated), and then a few hours watching the stars from the beach. There was no moon, so there was a lot of them. The next day, we went on a half day jungle walk, which was very good. This one comes highly recommended at about $21 or $23. 2 nights at PK’s would have been better, then we could have gone out on a diving trip for the day, but Steve and Ken had to get back to start a Pro-Dive open-water course.

Back in Cairns I booked up on the Run Runner to go out to Holmes reef and see some sharks, but that was not till Tuesday. A few days before, Steve and Ken had hired a car to go and see the Tablelands, and Kuranda. This sounded like a good idea, but only if there are a few of you together. As I was on my own, I chose to go up to Kuranda on the Skyway (rainforest cablecar type thinggy), and return on the scenic railway. (Well - my auntie said it was a good idea.) The whole exercise involved standing in queues for ages, then sitting in cars/coaches looking at some great scenery, all for about $60. Great for your grannie or auntie, but if you are a backpacker - I wouldn’t bother. If I’d had the time I would have loved to go on an extended Jungle Tours trip up to Cape York, but then again I’ve already done Kakadu, so decided against it.

Nightclubs in Cairns are rather prolific, with 3 main backpacker haunts.

  • End of the World: Food not particularly good, and the night-club is rather tacky, although they do try hard. They had a foam party last Sunday which was good fun, but don’t take good clothes, or leather belts etc. My wallet will never recover.

  • The Wool Shed: Great value food and beer, but only has a very small dance floor.

  • Samuels: Great value food again (with a flyer from your hostel), but can get very busy, and you can’t get into the night-club proper unless you are wearing some seriously smart clothes.

I met a friend of Steve’s at Samuels - A young lass called Clare who he had ‘allegedly’ got stuck in a bathroom with at a party in Sydney. It is a small world. Anyway - her friend - a girl called Sarah was studying Production Engineering, or something similar at Nottingham University, and had heard of my Dad’s company - Dunlop Cox. Small world again. The next night we went to the foam party, but Sarah and Clare left early, but I steamed straight into the foam. The night after, Ken & I met up with Jo and Nick from Darwin and went to Samuels again. More food, more beer, more hangovers.