Hidden graffitied laneways, a concealed coffee culture and chic night spots: the secret side to Cairns

I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of Cairns. In fact, for the first few weeks I actively despised it. In fairness, this was mainly due to me coping badly with Sydney withdrawal symptoms and working in an English school hopelessly stuck in the 90s (I’m talking tape cassettes, actual tape cassettes…) run by a troll faced, miniature dragon lady who hated my … Continue reading Hidden graffitied laneways, a concealed coffee culture and chic night spots: the secret side to Cairns

Innisjail, Cell Block F: the dark side to banana picking

I love Sydney. I love Kings Cross, where ultra-hip, ultra-rich 20 somethings and gay, retired millionaires walking their ridiculously tiny dogs up and down the tree-lined streets of Potts Point coexist peacefully with the scantily clad prostitutes and down and outs who litter the infamous Darlinghurst Road. This is where I called home for 8 months at Zing backpackers, conveniently located near the subway (2 stops one way and … Continue reading Innisjail, Cell Block F: the dark side to banana picking

Pink Barbie cars on Magnetic Island, sailing around the ridiculously photogenic Whitsundays, jumping out of planes in Mission Beach, diving the Great Barrier Reef and avoiding the locals in Cairns…Welcome to tropical North Queensland

Back at the Nomads hostel in Rainbow beach we have a few days to try out some of the activities on offer in this teeny tiny town. We attempt sand boarding on the huge sand dunes nearby, without much success, and wake up super early one morning to drive over to Tin Can Bay, a small spot where, every day without fail, wild dolphins swim into the shallows to … Continue reading Pink Barbie cars on Magnetic Island, sailing around the ridiculously photogenic Whitsundays, jumping out of planes in Mission Beach, diving the Great Barrier Reef and avoiding the locals in Cairns…Welcome to tropical North Queensland

On the BTOA (Big Things of Australia) trail : tacky but fun Surfer’s Paradise, boring Brissy, ‘how the other half live’ Noosa and a real desert island experience on Fraser Island.

After 4 nights at the Arts Factory, (I could happily have stayed longer but the hippies were getting too much for Lisa) we leave Byron behind us and drive on to Australia’s answer to Miami, Surfers Paradise. Disappointingly, there is not a surfer in sight, but there are loads of Continue reading “On the BTOA (Big Things of Australia) trail : tacky but fun Surfer’s Paradise, boring Brissy, ‘how the other half live’ Noosa and a real desert island experience on Fraser Island.”

The infamous Arts Factory Lodge, naked men & quirky little Nimbin: my stay in bizarre but blissful Byron Bay

It’s road-trip time! After months of working hard teaching in the big city it’s time to say a sad goodbye to Sydney and my students and venture up the east coast all the way to Cairns with Lisa. We’ve bought a knackered Continue reading “The infamous Arts Factory Lodge, naked men & quirky little Nimbin: my stay in bizarre but blissful Byron Bay”

The time I cheated on Sydney with Melbourne…

Oh Melbourne… I really wanted to hate you. I wanted to return ‘home’ with the smug satisfaction of knowing that this chilly city pales in comparison with the big smoke that is Sydney. But after only a few days here I can already see why Melbournites are so fiercely proud of their city. Continue reading “The time I cheated on Sydney with Melbourne…”