Cairns is commonly stereotyped as a holiday spot for beach bums and water-sport fanatics. However, there is more to Cairns than meets the eye. When you strip off the top layer, it’s a surprisingly cultural city. Read on for a guide to some of the coolest experiences in Cairns to get your cultural fix. When you’re searching for Cairns accommodation options, try to stay close to one of these attractions.

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If fishing is your thing, you can’t look past the rivers and seas of Queensland — two of the top places in the territory to catch your fill are the Gold Coast and Cairns. With a range of different types of fishing on offer and hundreds of species of fish native to Queensland, there is something for all fisherfolk. Here is an introductory guide to fishing in Cairns and the Gold Coast to help you better plan for your Queensland fishing holiday!

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There’s a cruise to suit every kind of traveller, and picking the right one is the key to getting the most out of your holiday. Many people are drawn in by the idea of an adventure and expedition cruise, however it may not be the best choice for you. Being well prepared and researching your cruise ship and destinations will give you more of an idea so you can make the best decision for your circumstances. Here are a few important things to consider when deciding if adventure and expedition cruising is right for you.

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Typically, when you think of the Gold Coast you think of golden sand, sunny beaches, great surf, and holiday theme parks. But there is another side to our great Gold Coast, and that’s the hinterland. From stunning rainforest skywalks to relaxing wine tours, scenic national park walks to exotic spa retreats. The Gold Coast hinterland is an experience not to be missed.

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Whenever a gap year is mentioned in Australasia, it is usually stated as ‘The Big OE’. Emphasis on the word ‘Big’ here. Seeing as most countries in the Southern Hemisphere are surrounded by sea, any venture away is considered pretty far away, therefore proving it difficult to travel to a destination for just a few weeks.



With practically every third person in the Southern Hemisphere doing some sort of OE during their lives, a gap year is almost considered a rite of passage today. You might find patterns in OE objectives depending on which continent a young Australasian traveller is focusing on. This article will primarily focus on the European Overseas Experience. One of the first and most popular OE’s for those Down Under seeing as an English visa is easy to come by.

With the growth of globalisation, overseas experiences are a lot more easier to do compared to a generation ago. In most cases, the objective is to broaden the mind and come back with some ‘life experience’ by interacting with cultures and seeing famous sights with your own eyes. For linguists it means putting those three years of Spanish classes to practice, or for Art History graduates, analysing renaissance paintings at famous galleries. Well, this is the tale 20-somethings from Down Under would tell their parents. What they don’t mention (especially on those notorious Contiki tours) are the continuous nights out ‘test tasting’ local beverages till the early hours of the morning. It will usually have them interacting with different nationalities so there is some truth in the white lie there.

For those who take the plunge into travelling around Europe, it will mean scrimping and saving for the trip and then scrimping and saving during the trip. This will all count for life experience and money management skills at the end of the day, as travellers are made to think like MacGyver during meal times and tackling the issue of fitting their life for six months into a backpack. In saying that, the lives of gap year travellers are slowly getting easier with the global phenomenon of social media increasingly influencing the way we interact.

Even in the travel realm the idea of ‘Social Travel’ has been coined, with many younger travellers using the internet to their advantage, whether it be asking for travel advice on forums, to finding ways to meet new people. Websites like Craigslist or The Local have proved helpful for finding all kinds of things temporary employment or tandem partners.

Sites like couchsurfing and Wimdu have made a mark on the internet by offering accommodation alternatives from private accommodation to having the chance to stay with locals, which would definitely enhance an overseas experience for sure. So although it might sound frugal to penny count your way through Europe, tech savvy youngsters have used the internet to their advantage, with smart ideas to connect travellers and help them save money.

So all in all, the Big OE is a pretty big deal in Australasian society. With the majority skipping around Europe before settling down in England (London) to make a few quid, there is always a sense of accomplishment and feeling of a life lived when they return to their home town busting out wise tales or sidesplittingly hilarious tales of their experiences away for many years ahead.

This is a featured guest post.

Best Sunsets

by Gap Year Escape · 3 comments

Everyone loves a sunset but I think we only really appreciate them when we are travelling. Might be down to the fact that we don’t have the time to fully appreciate them day to day or maybe it’s down to the fact that when we travel we are doing something amazing at the time and sharing it with awesome people. Below are some choice moments from my travels over the years.

Fraser Island, Australia

Driving around Fraser Island in a 4×4 for 3 days with a group of strangers has to be one of the fondest memories I have of Australia. It was certainly the highlight of my time backpacking the east coast of Australia.


Sahara Desert, Morocco

Two things I love about Morocco; Tagine and the desert! Riding through the desert on camel back is pretty cool but sleeping on a sand dune under the stars in the Sahara desert is unbelievable.


Santa Cruz, Mexico

Santa Cruz is on the west coast of Mexico. It’s good for surf and tacos. Good enough reasons to visit as any. I visited some friends who are lucky enough to live in this slice of paradise.


Koh Phangan, Thailand

Ah the debauchery that is the Full Moon Party! You can’t say you’ve partied hard until you’ve done five days on Koh Phangan!


Los Angeles, USA

This sunset shot was taken from a roof of a building in Universal Studios in LA. It’s such a tourist trap but you know what, it was an awesome day. Rollercoasters remind me of being a kid and there’s nothing wrong with being childish at times!


Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Visiting Maya Beach (the beach from the film The Beach) and the Monkey Beach, home to cute little monkeys is one of the best tours I’ve done. Take a later boat as it means you get to catch the sunset on the way back.


Whitsundays Australia

Sailing the Whitsundays is one of the best things you can do on the east coast. I remember this moment so well because just after this picture was taken lots of turtles swam by the side of the boat.


Blue Lagoon, Fiji

For anyone doing a round the world flight I would recommend that they add this in as one of their stops. I spent a few days on this island. Having just done a ski season in New Zealand, sitting in a hammock reading a book for a few days with views like this was all I needed.


Great Ocean Road, Australia

Driving the Great Ocean road is a must if you do your Gap Year down under. You’ll spend a lot of time looking out of the window. This was taken on day 2 of a three day trip. It wasn’t long enough.


Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala

This sunset shot was taken on the descent of Pacaya. It’s an active volcano not far from Antigua in Guatemala. Moments before we’d been cooking marshmallows in the volcanic vents.


West Coast, New Zealand

The coastal driving in New Zealand is immense. The best stretch is from Nelson to Wanaka on the west coast of the south island.


Phillip Island, Australia

You have to check out the Phillip Island Penguin Parade if you get the chance. I recall sitting on the wooden benches avidly waiting sunset and for scores of these cute pegnuins to wash up on shore and waddle home. The urge to put one in your backpack is overwhelming.


20 Photos to Inspire Travel in New Zealand

by Gap Year Escape
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#SurfsUp @hostelbookers! Win a private group surfing course

by Gap Year Escape

WIN a private group surfing course or stand up paddle lesson for four people – valued at over A$260! SECOND PRIZE: An Airwalk bodyboard worth over A$40 from Amazon. Surfing in Australia is the national sport and as the birthplace of Quiksilver, Billabong and Rip Curl there’s no better place to learn how to navigate […]

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