RUNNING AWAY FROM CYCLONE DEBBIE, HOSTEL REVIEWS AND A BEASTLY TREAT

Good morning/afternoon/evening. Apologies if this ends up a short post, Admittedly, I haven’t done a lot the past week. Mainly running away from Cyclone Debbie. After Whitsundays and Airlie Beach, I headed to Townsville hoping to do a day trip to Magnetic Island. However, as soon as I arrived in Townsville, weather warnings emerged for a Cat 4 Cyclone that was heading for Magnetic and Townsville. The next day, I watched as people were being evacuated from the Island. They were piling up in the reception of the hostel I was staying in, just to get a bed for the night. So unfortunately I was unable to visit Magnetic. But even more unfortunately Cyclone Debbie hit Airlie Beach with full force. I’ve seen an old friend of mine from school, Lily,  has had to leave her house because of the extensive damage done to it. So my thoughts go out to her and anyone else effected so by the storm.

In Townsville I did meet two new friends in my dorm; Juliette and Ida. Ida, a German girl, has had the worst luck I have heard of – she had been puked on, was too ill to do her Whitsundays tour, and now has tonsillitis and needs to get better before she can go to Nepal. Juliette, a French girl, had spent 6 months working in a fish shop in Manly before starting her East Coast trip. Unfortunately though, she’s heading south and ended up in Airlie just as Cyclone Debbie hit. She’s safe though, apparently staying at a local family’s house.

Townsville did have some amazing street art

So to escape the cyclone and Townsville, on Juliette’s suggestion, I headed to Mission Beach for a few days. There wasn’t much to do here again. I made a couple of friends with the girls in my dorm, Natalie and Alex. My second day here, Alex and I along with a boy from the hostel went on a long walk along the beach. I think it was a bit longer than we anticipated. This far north, it’s incredibly humid and the amount of sweat I produced was indescribable. I felt disgusting. We found some coconuts on the walk back and managed to open them. It was at this point I realised I don’t really like coconut so I gave mine away to a girl in the kitchen.
Pretty sure some crocodiles lived down here…

Now I’m in Cairns, the last stop of my East Coast trip in Aus before I get a flight to Brisbane and then head to NZ on 5th April. So for this blog, I thought I would try and review most of the hostels I have stayed in. This may not be too thrilling for some people to read, but I hope it might be useful for others. I’m going to try and not let my personal experiences in each hostel sway my judgement on what the actual hostel was like, as I definitely stayed in some ‘not-so-good’ places, but the people made me love it.

Sydney – Wake Up! – Party Hostel
This was definitely one of my favourite hostels I stayed in along the East Coast. I stayed in an all female dorm, which was always clean and felt homely. We had a shared bathroom, which kind of reminded me of a swimming pool’s toilet and shower area. But a clean one. Air con was included and there was free wifi in the reception. They had a ‘side bar’ where they served food and drinks and had good deals every day! And they even had a little cafe where I got a voucher for a free coffee. Yay. The kitchen, however, was very small for the amount of people who stayed here, making it difficult to cook dinner. I’m really not going to remember all the prices of the different hostels. I just remember this was on the more expensive side, but it seemed worth it. Location was right next to Central Station, making it easy for transport links. So I would give this place a solid 8.5/10.

Byron Bay – Aquarius Backpackers – Party/Chill Hostel

This hostel was nice and open, very spacious, but the doors were always left unlocked, but I guess this was ok because we had lockers. I stayed in a 10 bed mixed dorm this time with an ensuite. You got a voucher for a free meal every night or free BBQ lunch on Sundays. There were activities in the bar every night which made it feel more sociable. Here, you had to put a deposit down for plates, bowls and cutlery. I think this was good, because you always had your own set and didn’t need to worry about not having a mug for your coffee. Free wifi available in the reception, but otherwise you had to pay. Location was great; the street adjacent to the one next to the beach. I would give this hostel 7/10.

Surfers Paradise – Bunk Backpackers – Party Hostel

I booked a four bed female dorm here with an ensuite, and the beds were very private, which was nice in one way, but stopped you from really talking to anyone in your room. The kitchen here is the best I’ve seen; so big and spacious and you could actually lock away your food. There was free tea and coffee which was very welcome. However, there wasn’t much opportunity, I found, to meet people. Also, they were still building around the place, our bathroom definitely was not finished. But I guess I should be happy I had a bathroom. You had to buy wifi here, tad annoying. Location was in the heart of the city. So I would give this place another 7/10.

Brisbane – Base X (Tinbillys) – Party/Long stay Hostel 

To be fair, this was a decent hostel for meeting people. Despite booking a 6 bed dorm, I ended up in a 4 bed with ensuite. The kitchen was awful; despite offering free tea and coffee, it was so small and cramped and the stoves barely worked. There was limited pots and pans and you always felt in the way. Again, free wifi only available in reception, so you had to pay for it. No lockers in the dorms, so you kind of felt a bit exposed with your belongings. Location was right next to Roma Street station, easy walk into main city area. Overall, 6.5/10.

Noosa – Noosa Backpackers – Chill Hostel

Stayed in a five bed room with ensuite. Decent bed and massive bathroom. Overall a very small hostel, but not enough space to put all your food. Rubbish wifi and no signal, so you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere and panic when you can’t book your next Greyhound or hostel. Free use of kayaks and surfboards and free shuttle to the beach several times a day, otherwise it would have taken about an hour to walk. This place was fairly cheap, so you kind of get what you pay for – 6/10.

Hervey Bay – The Friendly Hostel – Chill Hostel

A bit annoying I told them what time my Greyhound was arriving a day before and when I phoned at 6:30pm, the time I had told them, they said it was too late to pick me up. Other than that, this was a pretty sweet hostel. 3 bed dorms with your own single bed (as opposed to a bunk bed). A little living area for each ‘apartment’, with a TV and own little kitchen. It was nice and comfortable. The main drawback was, it was in the middle of nowhere. It took around 20 minutes to walk to the nearest big supermarket – hard in 34 degree heat. But I can take that considering the price was around $24 a night. 8/10.

Agnes Water – Cool Bananas – Chill Hostel

This has been my absolute favourite hostel during my whole time in Australia. No one has keys to their room, but this is fine! My belongings felt safe! It’s a little family run hostel, with the loveliest hosts that just want you to feel homely and comfy. You get a wristband on arrival (I still have mine), and you’re given a proper tour of the hostel, something which actually rarely happens. The kitchen isn’t really the best, but they provide fresh bread every morning from a local bakery and then do proper home cooked dinners for $8 in the evening. Wifi is free and very good, but they have a blackout between 6pm-8pm (over dinner) to get people off their phones and talking. Then you have to answer a riddle to get the new password. Location is as good as you’re going to get in Agnes/1770. It’s a very short walk to the only shops in the town and the beach. 9.5/10.

Airlie Beach – Beaches Backpackers – Party Hostel

A very cheap hostel. The good aspects… Right in the middle of the main town and a bar below that did half price meals for guests. Otherwise, very small and dirty kitchen. The first dorm I stayed in was quite a spacious 8 bed dorm, the second room after my Whitsundays tour was so cramped and dark. The beds were comfortless and thin. I’m not sure how much I can complain for $20 a night. I just couldn’t wait to leave this place and would never recommend it to anyone unless all they wanted was a desperately cheap bed for the night. 3/10.

Townsville – Rambutan YHA – Chill/Party Hostel

This hostel felt more like a hotel, which I guess it was with it’s villa style rooms. The six bed dorms were tiny, but clean and amazing air con. All accommodation is on the 3rd floor where the pool and restaurant is – they play music until 12am; ironic considering they have a rule asking guests to keep noise down from 10pm. On the second floor they have a common room and kitchen on the same floor as a car park. Bit odd. Small kitchen, but they don’t need a big one. The common area is decent with a TV!! It would be nice if the free wifi would reach this area, but again, only available in reception. Location was ok, 10 minute walk to either Woolworths or marina to get the ferry to Magnetic. I was happy here. 8/10.

Mission Beach – Scottys YHA – Chill Hostel

Very relaxed and very open. I loved the fun coloured bed sheets. Booked a six bed but ended up in a four bed female with en suite. Fairly spacious rooms and decent mattresses. The kitchen and common area were open to the outside… if that makes sense? It only had 3 walls. So local dogs and cats wondered in, it was cute. LOVELY pool, reaching about 3 metres deep and I learnt to dive down. Thanks Nat. Offered a free shuttle to the supermarket a few times a day. Everyone here was friendly; a very nice atmosphere. Location was a short walk to the beach, but besides this, there isn’t a great deal to do at Mission Beach unless you book a tour or skydive. 9/10.

Cairns – Dreamtime Travellers Rest – Chill Hostel

I had a hard time deciding between this place and Gilligan’s, but decided to go with the cheaper and chiller option. I booked a 3 bed dorm and although I said I wasn’t going to let personal experience effect my review, I was put in a room with two long stay travellers, one of which stank the room out with stale sweat. I was keen to either be alone in a room to sort my shit out or to meet some other backpackers, so asked to move rooms. Apparently the two long stay people will be moving tomorrow anyway, so hopefully the smell will fade. Anyways, the vibe here is pretty chill. Very small kitchen with limited space. Single beds in the room, making a nice change. However, it is incredibly humid (making the smell so much worse) with only a fan, or $1 for 3 hours of air con. Shared toilet and bathroom, something I can deal with. You can book cheap tours through this hostel, however. I walked around the city today and tried to compare prices. Location is great, right opposite the Cairns Central Shopping Centre, containing a cinema where I watched Beauty and the Beast (I will be talking about this below) and a Coles and most importantly air con. It’s a hearty walk to the lagoon, but you get to explore that way. 7/10.

I hope this helps anyone travelling up/down the East Coast. Some of these, such as Cool Bananas, I would highly recommend staying at, but others I would avoid – Beaches. If you need anymore info of any of these Hostels. Feel free to message me!

I mentioned I went to see Beauty and the Beast. I have no idea why, but I felt so emotional the whole way through this movie. As Gemma suggested, it could have been nostalgia. It was perfect. The whole cast was perfect. The new songs were perfect. The whole way through I was trying to remember who the voice of Lumière was, thinking it definitely must be a French actor because Be Our Guest was sung so smoothly with the accent. But of course it was Ewan McGregor. Luke Evans, yum. I felt the animation of The Beast was a tad ropey in areas, but overall Dan Stevens did an amazing performance. And Emma Watson… I could gush about her for hours. This may get really lame, but I feel in this movie, despite playing a Disney Princess, Emma turns into a woman through Belle. She really is a heroine and I’ve now decided I’m going to ask myself ‘What would Emma do?’ In my life decisions. 

The whole ‘gay moment’ has been drastically blown up. It lasts about half a second at the end of the movie when Josh Gad ends up dancing with a guy. I literally do not understand this world. Please calm down. The bromance between LeFou and Gaston is incredibly entertaining and Emma Thompson is the perfect Mrs Potts (although will never be Angela Lansbury). I’m obsessed with this movie now and can’t stop listening to the soundtrack whenever I get wifi. I might have to watch it again whilst I’m in Brisbane. Yes, I am willing to waste my money on it.

I might try and get another blog post in before I fly to Auckland, but I’m sorry if I don’t have time. I have a feeling when I start my Stray travel in New Zealand, things might be a bit hectic as it will be more fast paced. We’ll find out though. Thanks for reading as always.

Much love ❤️ 

‘How can you read this, there’s no pictures?’ ‘Well some people use their imagination.’ 

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