My Week as a Backpacker

Next stop after Sydney was Cairns, I managed to cover 2 states in 10 days!

This would be my first time in Australia completely alone and I was definitely apprehensive about how it would be, especially as I would be staying in a hostel for the first time.

I had 3 full days to spend in Cairns and had decided before I left England to book through a travel company. I went with Xtreme Gap Year Cairns Adrenaline Overload, it was 5 days and 5 nights (although I changed mine to 4 nights). My experiences included hostel accommodation, shuttles to some of the activities, a shuttle from the hotel, a Passion of Paradise tour, White Water rafting and a Cape Tribulation tour.

The shuttle picked me up from the airport and dropped me at the hostel, I stayed at the Nomads Serpent Cairns.. and I must say it was a lot nicer than I thought it would be! I went with the lowest expectations so I wouldn’t be disappointed. Once I’d checked in, I made my way to my room and was surprised to find I was the only person in there. This meant I got first choice of the bunk beds. The rooms were basic, I knew this would definitely be an experience!

Wednesday was my first full day and I’d booked to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef!! The shuttle dropped us off at the meeting point where I checked in and headed to the boat. I was so nervous because I suffer from really bad Sea sickness and was just praying for a smooth sail out to the reef! As I sat on the boat filling in the paperwork, I was joined by a guy from Hampshire, 2 girls from Wales and a couple from Germany. All of us were on our own little adventures, and it was great sharing stories and experiences of places to go, and more importantly, places to avoid! 2 hours later we arrived at Hastings Reef, luckily it was a calm morning so I survived without feel sick. We got to snorkel for around an hour, exploring the reef and seeing all the different fish and coral. After lunch we moved on a bit further and snorkelled for another hour, I got to see a Clown Fish (NEMO!!). It was such an amazing experience and I would definitely recommend doing it. Even if I did swallow half the ocean!

Thursday didn’t go quite to plan. I had originally booked an all day White Water Experience on the Tully River. However, the river had to be closed and so it got changed to a half day White Water Experience on the Barron River. Safe to say, it was very disappointing. It had a lot of fun doing it, but it only lasted just over an hour and was quiet as adrenaline fuelled as the Tully River. But it was fun to do and again, definitely worth doing if you find the right place!

Friday, my final full day, was spent on a Cape Tribulation Tour. This ended up being the best day I had in Cairns! Our first stop was a wildlife habitat where I got to get a picture with a Koala… They are so soft and cute!! All the animals are free to roam free in the habitat, at one point I had an Emu walking straight towards me, and a kangaroo hopped right up to me. It was just completely surreal and amazing. I even got to feed the Emu. Next we got on a small ferry to be able to explore the Daintree Rainforest. This is absolutely, without a doubt, a must do if you ever find yourself in Cairns!! It’s the oldest living Rainforest in the world. We drove through the forest and did the Dubuji-Myall Walk. Our tour guide had so much knowledge which made the experience so much better! After the walk we headed back to the ferry, but instead of crossing, we got on a small boat and went on a Crocodile Cruise. Sadly we didn’t see any as the weather was too warm for them so they were still in the water. It was still such a beautiful way to end the day in the sunshine!

So there you have everything I managed to fit into my 3 days. I would absolutely recommend all of the experiences I did, however I wouldn’t recommend booking with Xtreme Gap Year. If you’re a confident traveller, I would suggest booking your experiences individually, if not look at using a different travel company. Most importantly have fun with it and enjoy yourself, be open to the experience!

Love, Sophie



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