Global Backpackers On The Waterfront (Cairns, Australia)

I choose this hostel because of its location – directly opposite the fun manmade lagoon. There are plenty of very nice hotels in the same area, however this is one of the few budget options.

Room was adequate – (double) bed wasn’t the most comfortable I’ve slept on, but did the job. There was an air conditioner, however it automatically turned itself off in the middle of the night, annoying when it’s needed to sleep (had to get up out of bed and flick the switch to turn it on again). Small sink in one corner of the bedroom (needed because the share toilets didn’t have sinks for some reason). There was one powerpoint in the room, however it was very high off the ground, making it challenging to charge phones and cameras. Room was what I consider “cleanish” (although the sheets appeared fine). No toilets or showers in the private rooms.

Hostel also had a large communal kitchen, laundry, general hangout space and a tour booking service. Shared showers looked a little grimy, but can’t really comment on them (I went over the lagoon both nights, so had a free (hot) shower there). Computers with internet (paid) available in the lobby.

Location is perfect – opposite the man-made lagoon and a short walk to the wharf from where all the cruises to the GBR leave. Plenty of restaurants in the area. Overall, considering the location, this is a great budget option for a short stay in Cairns. However keep in mind that this is a hostel, not a budget hotel, and adjust expectations accordingly.


That’s Taiwan, not Thailand, and it’s “kinda near China, right?”. It’s not in Malaysia and its not on the African continent. And despite much of the western world (including travel agents) not knowing much about it, it IS where I’ll be in 5 days, woo~!

Introducing the Asian typhoon

Australasia ~ Australia ~ Victoria ~ Home and Asia ~ The Philippines ~ Manila and Asia ~ Japan ~ Fukuoka & Hiroshima

So much has happened, and yet nothing has happened since my last post – nearly 2 months ago! What can I say? Once again I’ve slipped into holiday mode, and have slacked off a bit on my blogging. Almost immediately after writing my last post, it was decided that I was needed back in Australia to help out the family business with our annual promotion. So we madly scrambled around to find a decent flight back to Australia at extremely short notice, and came up with a Philippine Air flight. “Hmmm, they seem to have a bad reputation”, mentioned mum. “FANTASTIC, I’ve never been to the Philippines”, I thought…

My two weeks back in Australia were full on, 12 hour days really take it out of you, but I did get to spend some time with my nephew, so it wasn’t all bad. And I managed to convince one of my friends to come back to Japan with me for a holiday. And so it was that Leah spent her very first typhoon locked up in a 4 star hotel in Manila with me, and her second ever typhoon madly riding through the wind to get to our favourite okonomiyaki restaurant…

People waiting to catch a train in amongst the typhoon

People waiting to catch a train in amongst the typhoon

We had a whirlwind 3 days in Manila on the way over to Japan from Melbourne… Day 1 we arrived at 6.30am, had a snooze then wandered around the streets – it was hot and humid, but bearable with a slight breeze… We talked about doing a tour the next day. Day 2 we decided to go shopping at the mall next to the hotel, as it was raining “a bit”. On the way out the door, we noticed the concierge had umbrellas – so we asked when they expected the rain to stop, to try and decide if we needed to get an umbrella. He said that the storm would start at 2pm (this was at about 10am). We assumed he made a mistake, he meant the storm would finish at 2pm, and headed through the torrential rain (a bit of a summer storm we assumed) to the nearby shopping centre. Wandered around the shopping centres for most of the day. At about 2pm the weather did indeed turn worse, terrible winds and rain. At this stage we still thought it was just a summer storm, we hadn’t heard the news. It wasn’t until we passed the Apple Store that we found out – it was closed, with a big sign up saying “Closed for the typhoon”. We started heading back to our hotel, it was bucketing down with rain everywhere, lines to get taxis and trains where huge (I’m not sure the trains were running). Luckily our hotel was right in the centre of town, so we just walked through the malls to get back. Not until we got to Japan did we realise just how bad it really was over there (we weren’t watching the news in Manila – we had plenty of DVD’s from the markets to get through!).

Leah surrounded by shopping in Manila

Leah surrounded by shopping in Manila

Leah and I spent a fantastic couple of weeks in Japan, running around visiting my favourite places. Amongst a bunch of things, we rode the shinkansen to Hiroshima, visited the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima, the deers in Miyajima, Leah stayed in her first hostel in Hiroshima and we were interviewed by a Japanese TV station at Dazaifu, questioned about our ‘fashionable’ clothing (we were wearing jeans and thongs…). Leah was all set to come to our Wednesday English class, when our student SMS’d us to suggest we cancel the lesson, because of the approaching typhoon. Leah still wanted okonomiyaki for dinner, so we battled the winds to ride to our favourite restaurant despite the warnings… We were fine, and the typhoon ended up passing by us through the night, hopefully the typhoon’s are over for the year.

This red torii (gate) at the Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima) welcomes visitors to the island - famous throughout Japan and the rest of the world. Deer all over the place...

This red torii (gate) at the Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima) welcomes visitors to the island - famous throughout Japan and the rest of the world. Deer all over the place...

Leah’s now headed back home, and I’m left to, once again, find a job. Hmmm, better get on top of that 😉

The flights are booked…

And once again the plans are being drawn up. I’m off to Japan late July, managed to get two-for-one flights to Japan, score! We’ll spend a night up on the Goldcoast before heading off to Osaka. Tentative plans at this stage to spend a year in Japan/Asia – if Japan proves too expensive, we’ll move onto Taiwan or Korea. Anyone else planning on being in the area?