Cairns Central YHA
Address: Cairns Central YHA Backpackers Hostel, 20-26 McLeod Street, Cairns 4870
Phone: (07) 4051 0772
Fax: (07) 4031 3158
Reception Hours: 6.30 am to 11pm, however after hours there is a manager on site to contact if you have any emergencies or problems.
We got off the Greyhound bus and were supposed to walk to the hostel. Luck was on out side and the kind Greyhound driver brought us to our hostel. If he didn’t it would have been about a 10-15 minute walk, which would have seemed miles with a large suitcase, rucksack and 2 small rucksacks (we would have struggled). If your baggage weren’t heavy it would have been hard. Leaving the hostel we had to catch a flight. A shuttle bus was arranged at reception and cost $8 per person for a single and a discount price of $12 for 2 people, which took 45 minutes with any stops included to pick up other people to get to the airport.
The kitchen is open from 5am to 12 midnight. It was closed between 12.30pm to 1.30pm daily for cleaning. It was larger than other hostels I have been to and generally clean. It did have some ants crawling on the stainless steal worktops but not loads of them. The utensils weren’t overly clean but it is a hostel and the person who used them before you doesn’t always wash them. I did notice one night that a few people had not washed their dishes at all and had left them lying about. Unfortunately this seems to be the way of all hostels I have been to. In the kitchen there is gas rings, a microwave and an oven. The fridge was clean and looks to be cleaned out on a regular basis. What I thought was great was that they had compartments, which had a door over them, which you could close to store your food in. As people cant see inside the drawer it meant there is less temptation to steal the food. Each compartment wasn’t huge but you could fit the essentials into it if needed. In the eating area there was also a TV but as the kitchen gets busy it is hard to hear it. If you want to watch TV it is better to go to the TV room. Outside has a designated area to eat beside the pool if you so desire.
In the TV/Lounge room there is a cable TV with surround sound available for entertainment and convenience. The TV is huge and it’s very relaxing in there as everyone is chilling out. There never seemed to be many people in it at any one time, they must have been too busy sightseeing. It has several comfortable chairs and looks like it has been recently decorated. To get into the room you have to use your key which I think is great for the security aspect plus you will only have people who are staying in the hostel in there.
There are 2 laundries for guests to use. One is near the pool/outdoor recreation area and is open from 6.30am to 10pm. The other laundry room is available 24 hours and is near the Internet café. The only problem I had with the laundry is that the dryer didn’t really dry my clothes very well, they came out still wet which was disappointing.
There is a cyber café inside the hostel, which has some computers. I never used it instead I walked down the street to Global Gossip where it was considerably cheaper for broadband. It cost $3 for 30 minutes and $5 for 60 minutes in the hostel. They work using codes, which can be purchased at reception. Without the code you can not use the computers.
For luggage storage you can use the overnight storage it will cost $5 per person per night. Access to this room is strictly between 7.30am and 10pm daily. If you are leaving on a tour before 7.30am you need to arrange overnight storage the night before. The room is secure and locked.
The reception offers a travel and tour booking service. Any tours the YHA offer in Australia can be purchased. Coach tickets are also available. The YHA offer value packages grouping accommodation and tours together so you can save. You can book your next YHA in the hostel so you are sure you have a bed or room for your next stop. They can tell you what the availability is as well. Maps are available for the local area from reception so it is easier for you to navigate about the town.
A swimming pool and spa is located outside in-between the kitchen/dining area and the outdoor recreation area. It is rather large and has a canopy over half of it so you can swim under the shade. The spa is completely covered by a canopy. There is also lush trees surrounding it. The pool looks clean and there was sun lounges surrounding the area if you wanted to sunbathe. I am not sure how deep the water is, as I never went into the pool myself, as I didn’t have the time with sightseeing.
We booked a double with shared bathroom facilities. The bathroom was close to all rooms and showers were also inside them. Each shower had a bench so you could sit on them after you got out of the shower or leave your belonging on when you got into the shower as the cubicle locked. The bathrooms were cleaned daily and this was clear to be seen. The bedroom was simple like all hostels but was extremely clean with crisp white sheets. There is a small cabinet with a drawer and it has a mirror in front of it. A metal railing is on the wall, which is great to hand clothes up on. As usual there is only enough room for a rucksack each but they do have a small bin provided. The air conditioning is great and cools you down straight away. Out only problems was we could figure out how to turn it down, there seemed to be only one setting which meant having to turn it on and off to keep a comfortable temperature. Above the bed had spotlights for reading which I thought was a nice touch. All the bed linen is provided and sleeping bags are not permitted in YHA hostels. I think this may be to reduce the risk of bed bugs as they can be carried in sleeping bags. Each room has a smoke alarm.
When checking out you need to bring sheets and pillowcases to reception. Any blankets are to be kept in the room. Check out is at 10am and you are reminded over the loudspeaker at 9.30 am. If you have to check out before 6.30am reception will be unattended so you need to let them aware the day before and they will make arrangements for you.
You can extend your stay if you want subject to availability. Your bed is not guaranteed unless it is paid for, so you are advised to book it as soon as possible.
Money – the closest for Western Union International money transfers is the Travelex. All YHS members are offered a discount here. They can be found on Shield Street near the mall and 14 Spence Street.
Post Office – the closest is located in Cairns Central upstairs. For post restate you will need to go to the main Post Office which is on the corner of Grafton and Harley Streets.
Newsagents – is on McLeod Street over Shield street and is 100m.
Banks – Most Australian banks are within 5 minutes walking distance. Opening hours is Monday to Thursday 9.30am to 4pm and Friday is 9.30am to 5pm.
Tax Office – there is none in Cairns. The closet one is in Townsville.
Supermarket – Coles and Bi-Lo are located in Cairns central upstairs just across the road. Opening hours is Monday to Friday 8am to 9pm, Saturday 8am to 5pm and Sunday 9am to 6pm.
Police – the station is located at 5 Sheridan Street. If needed call 4030 7000 and in an emergency call 000.
Doctor- A 24 medical centre is located on the corner of Florence and Grafton Streets. They do a dive medical and make house calls if required. Phone number is 40521119, and after hour care is 0419777631. Medicare is located on the ground floor of Cairns Central Shopping Centre, which is just across the road from the hostel.
Chemist – A chemist is located in Cairns central shopping centre, up the stairs at the right hand end of the complex.
Dentist – it is also located in the shopping centre across the road.
If you need any more help with locating any of these places the reception in the hostel will help you and give further directions if needed.
I liked this hostel it was very clean and had great facilities. The room was adequate for what we needed and we had a comfortable stay. The staff was friendly and if you wanted to know where anywhere was they were happy to take the time to show you. My only compliant was one night the people down at the outdoor recreational area made too much noise to 12 o’clock at night which was annoying, however there are clear signs up saying noise has to be kept to a minimum after 11 o’clock.
Further reading on Australia
Some reading on New Zealand