Posts Tagged ‘Backpackers’

Life on Yorkeys Knob

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

It’s an odd name - Yorkeys Knob - but a very pleasant place to live. It’s the third beach north of Cairns city, past Machans Beach and Holloways Beach. Besides having a long, clean, sandy beach, Yorkeys also has a comfortable community feel to it. Like most of the Northern Beaches, Yorkeys Knob has an active and enthusiastic residents’ association. Yesterday, the local Yorkeys Knob Residents’ Association just happened to be holding their Christmas barbecue at the beach, a few blocks from our home. Not to be left out when there’s sausages sizzling and new people to meet, Maria and I joined the festivities.

A friendly neighbourhood barbecue on Yorkeys Knob, Cairns Northern Beaches.Maria on a feeding frenzy at the local Yorkeys Knob Residents' Association Christmas barbecue

We go for a walk along this beach every morning, and every now and again go for a swim. This morning was one of those mornings, and believe it or not, we met the local Yorkeys Knob dolphins. Well, ‘met’ could be a strong word, since I doubt they really even noticed us as they swam past in the early hours of the morning.  Of course, at this time of year, its normally TOO RISKY to swim in the ocean, but the local council installs stinger resistant nets, forming a safe swimming area. For a city girl like Maria, our new lifestyle is dramatically different to anything she is used to. The tract of bushland near our townhouse is home to at least a couple of kangaroos, and most days we catch a glimpse of them bounding past our front garden.

On our way to the Yorkeys Knob Residents' Association Christmas barbecue.Maria at Yorkeys Knob beach

Our normally routine weekend was punctuated by the visit of a German, a friend of an old mate of mine. Stephan was in Cairns for a few days, and asked us to help him organize a DIVING TRIP, a trip to KURANDA and a visit to TJAPUKAI ABORIGINAL CULTURAL PARK. We met us with Stephan for dinner at our favourite BACKPACKERS HOSTEL, and in the end, he also ended up staying with us for a night. Stephan, tell Ryan to get his ass over to Australia soon!

Now, the big news of late is that Australia and the USA signed a reciprocal WORKING HOLIDAY VISA agreement (although for some reason they insist on calling it a ‘Work and Holiday’ Visa) That means Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 – inclusive – can apply to spend twelve months travelling and working in the great Land Down Under! There are no restrictions on the number of visas to be handed out, and it is anticipated that we will welcome upwards of 30,000 young American working holiday makers each year. And when it comes time to choose whereabouts in Australia they would like to spend their time (it’s a big country!!) there’s nowhere better than Tropical North Queensland.   The major urban centres of Tropical North Queensland - TOWNSVILLE and CAIRNS - offer a wealth of casual employment opportunities in a range of industries, not the least of which is our booming tourism industry.  Great numbers of working holiday makers find a job in the local agricultural industry. The towns of BOWEN, TULLY, and INNISFAIL rely on working holiday makers for their harvest. The work may be tough, but if you work hard there is good money to be earned, and the camaraderie among workers will likely result in some great friendships, and lifelong memories.    

But the best thing about spending your working holiday in Tropical North Queensland is that when you’re not working, there is no end of things to see and do. The GREAT BARRIER REEF stretches 1200 miles along our coastline, and in many places the World Heritage listed WET TROPICS RAINFOREST spills right down to the beach. And the famed Australian OUTBACK is only a couple of hours away! Spend your spare time soaking up the sun on our beautiful palm fringed beaches, diving and snorkelling on the reef, trekking in the tropical rainforest, exploring the Northern Outback, or join in some of the myriad activities that this part of Australia has become famous for: white water rafting, hot air ballooning, hang gliding, skydiving, bungy jumping, jungle surfing, jet skiing, kayaking, kite surfing, horse riding, quad biking, fishing, golfing, birdwatching, crocodile spotting, sailing, fossicking, water skiing, wakeboarding, and four wheel driving. This really is an ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND  In Cairns alone, there are over thirty BACKPACKERS HOSTELS, and the city receives two million visitors each year. That many people can’t be wrong. And you can find everything you need to know about Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef, and Tropical North Queensland on Cairns Unlimited 

Discovering award winning businesses in Tropical North Queensland

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

Well, I’d have a job ahead of me if I tried to outdo Maria’s touching ode in the previous journal update. My little Spanish chica and I certainly have come a long way (literally and metaphorically) since that hot August night on the Costa del Sol three years ago.

Cairns Unlimited was conceived about halfway through that three year period, in December 2005, as Maria and I sat watching the tourist minibuses whizz by, from a sidewalk cafe on the Cairns Esplanade. There was so much going on in this town, in this whole region. And yet, when we had been planning our visit to Tropical North Queensland, we had to visit dozens of different websites to find the information we needed. A staggering amount of the information we found was either out of date or simply incorrect.

There was a real need for a comprehensive site that could provide all the information anybody could possibly need to know when visiting Tropical North Queensland. We were just the pair to provide it, and the best part of all is that we would get to live in Tropical North Queensland. With Maria’s background in marketing, and my previous business experience, and a steep learning curve in web design ahead of us, we set about building our dream. Eighteen months later, and here we are!

Speaking of building a dream, we were fortunate enough during the week to revisit one of our favourite attractions in the region, the magical PARONELLA PARK, a ruined Spanish castle near INNISFAIL. My cousin Denise was visiting with us, and when she mentioned an interest in visiting Paronella Park, neither Maria or myself took much convincing. It’s a beautiful place, but the story behind the castle, the story of visionary Jose Paronella is fascinating and inspiring.

It’s been a big week for some of our friends in Tropical North Queensland.
The annual Hotel Motel and Accommodation Association’s Queensland Awards for Excellence were held in Brisane during the week, with a couple of our friends scooping some very prestigious (and well deserved) awards.

CAIRNS COCONUT CARAVAN VILLAGE took out the honour of Best Five Star Tourist Park, and rightly so. Cairns Coconut Caravan Village is no stranger to winning awards, having three times won Australian Tourism Awards. Situated just on the southern side of Cairns, the park always looks so inviting, with its tropical gardens and sparkling swimming pools.

Another deserved award went to our friends John and Helen, from THE SUMMIT RAINFOREST RETREAT AND CONFERENCE CENTRE, on the ATHERTON TABLELANDS, one of our favourite parts of Tropical North Queensland. John and Helen’s beautiful retreat won the ‘Most Unique Accommodation’ award, a great honour indeed.

The new NJOY! TRAVELLERS RESORT, in Cairns.And last but not least, our mates at CALYPSO BACKPACKERS RESORT have launched the rebirth of their new sister hostel, NJOY! TRAVELLERS RESORT. Formerly known as Inn The Tropics, the Sheridan Street premises was taken over by the boys from Calypso a month or so ago. They have been busy weaving their Calypso magic on the place, and have now launched the new look, new feel, NJOY! TRAVELLERS RESORT. If it’s anything like Calypso, it will be a winner!

A city centre Tapas Bar, and a fresh start for an old backpackers hostel

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Wow, already Tuesday. First of all, a big thank you to Tom and Jess, Graham and Silvia, and Rob and Jonno for a great evening on Sunday night. We were invited to our first BBQ in Cairns and we very much enjoyed it.

Today has been pretty easy but we have achieved a few things. We have basically spent the day looking for a company to do our promotional stuff and it seems we found it. Very soon we will have some merchandising to start giving away and become bigger and bigger. We are also looking to have our van decorated, so it will go from being an ordinary white one to a fanciful Cairns Unlimited colourful van. Very soon, my friend, very soon…
As we have mentioned, we have been trying to make time to meet important local businesspeople around Cairns. Today, we visited David, who runs SAPPHIRE TAPAS BAR, a bar, lounge and event venue, right in the centre of town. It’s a beautiful space, decorated with Contemporary, Modern and Post-modern Art. Sapphire hosts a range of events during the year, so keep an eye out for them in our CAIRNS WEEKLY ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE. And if you visit, don’t miss the painting on the right hand wall as you enter!

The Sapphire’s walls are filled with Contemporary, Modern and Post-modern Art, almost giving the feel of a full fledged art gallery. Glenn, from Inn The Tropics, looks like he's still recovering from his week's holiday down south..

And finally today we caught up with Glenn, from INN THE TROPICS backpackers hostel. He showed up around the hostel and I can tell you it is big. They own CALYPSO BACKPACKERS as well, and if any of you reading this blog are looking to have a good time and listen to good music, make it to Calypso in the evening and enjoy yourself. But if you want to know what’s on this week, once again… don’t miss our CAIRNS WEEKLY ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE, with new events being added every day. Or our TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND EVENTS CALENDAR if you want to know what’s on in the whole region.

We just found out that the shipment we sent from Spain will arrive in Brisbane this week and then we will have another week or so to pick it up if we don’t want to pay $180 a day for storage. So we are planning to fly from CAIRNS to Brisbane and then rent a van for the drive back to Cairns. Why don’t we drive both ways, you ask? Well, have you ever driven 1700 kilometres, just to turn around and drive 1700 kilometres back? Add up the cost of fuel, and it’s actually cheaper to fly. And on our way back we will stop at visit some more people in AIRLIE BEACH, MISSION BEACH, TOWNSVILLE and some other places. And maybe even make it to the NORTHERN OUTBACK, a place I really look forward to getting to know a bit better, it has some kind of mystery I cannot wait to discover…

Anyway, time to go. Check back soon…