The trip starts off pretty horrible, compliments of Tiger Air (read about that here). I arrive in Cairns and look for the airport shuttle, advertised as part of my hotel when I booked my trip through Orbitz, and find out that no shuttle exists… Awesome. I should add that we were staying at a hotel on the first night and starting our road trip on day 2 because the JUCY van rental place closed early in the day, before our flights got in. I call the hotel and a very enthusiastic man answers and tells me I should have called yesterday to book the shuttle and recommends that I take a cab. I had been trying to call the hotel for the last week to ask about the shuttle but they never answered; so I basically want to strangle the very enthusiastic man and say “I TRIED TO”. But at this point I’m just glad the hotel exists, as I was pretty convinced the hotel was a scam because no one ever answered the phone; so I don’t get mad and just get into the cab.
The cab costs almost as much as the hotel, which is just funny by this point, but also doesn’t say a lot because I booked the hotel for $39 US. I’m a little bit scared of the hotel, which was the Palm Royale Cairns, for a few reasons:
1. It was cheaper than most of the hostels in Cairns (because i was splitting costs with my friend Ash, from Sydney).
2. Until recently I could not find a website for the hotel.
3. I called them 100 times and left countless messages on their answering machine and no one ever picked up or called me back.
4. The cab driver and everyone I talked to at the airport had never heard of it.
5. It had HORRIBLE reviews on Trip Advisor.
I get to the hotel and its AMAZING!! Best $39 a night I’ve ever spent! Ok, so the hotel hallways are a bit dodgy, like the reviews said, and the hotel is in the middle of nowhere, but I had no expectations of this $39 a night hotel so I’m thrilled. The room is big, clean and comfy. It overlooks 3 of the 4 pools (hot tub, large pool, kids pool, lap pool) and they didn’t charge me $5 for coke, which is a huge win in Australia.
I sit by the pool until Ash arrives. It’s around dinner time when she gets in so we decide to go look for a restaurant. We think about taking the $4 hotel shuttle into town but the enthusiastic receptionist (who I actually really like now) tells us we wouldn’t have enough time in town before the last shuttle returns. We ask if there are any places around to eat and he says only a Red Rooster. We say “great” not knowing what red Rooster is. I am gluten free and Ash is vegan so the whole dinner is hilarious.
Over the next few weeks I will be posting the day by day accounts of my very JUCY road trip around Northern Queensland so keep checking back!
PROLOGUE- A JUCY Road Trip: Prologue