Reef Lodge Backpackers Townsville

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Reef Lodge Free Backpackers Hostel Chistmas BBQ. Townsville Queensland.

Each year we put on a Free BBQ for the traveling backpackers who have no home to go to for the festive day. So if your looking to come to Townsville for Christmas and want a FREE Christmas meal.
Book your accommodation directly with the Reef Lodge Reception or our Website.

Mention the Christmas BBQ when you book and you will get your free ticket for a free 
Christmas BBQ.

 2013 Christmas crowd ;-D

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Most common questions new backpackers seem to ask for the best way to travel. Reef Lodge Backpackers Townsville

 The 6 most common things you probably need to know before you go backpacking!

On their first trip out many backpackers have common questions and seem to revolve around the same basic topics. You will have many more questions and the answers are probably staring you in the face or you will find on your travels through self-discovery or the next person you’re chatting to on your travels.
I am certainly not going to bore you with great detail but this should give an idea of what to do.

1. Traveling Solo what’s it like and is it better than traveling with others.
While traveling with someone certainly gives you someone to bounce ideas off and work the next big idea, when traveling by yourself the idea of going into the unknown without any one to fall back on and take on new adventures can seem daunting. Travel with others feels safer and more inviting. Solo travel has its fair share of inner hurdles but can be a great way to meet more people and even do exactly what you want to without anyone to blame but yourself. If you feel anxious about solo travel, do a couple of short trips and then meet up with friend, this will give you a chance to get into the zone.
On the other hand traveling with friends does have its advantages as you get to share an experience and if things don’t go to plan you have others around for support.
My advice! Try both!
“Not all those who wander are lost.”  J.R.R. Tolkien

2. How Can I Save and budget money so you can stay Longer?
As a backpacker you should be familiar with backpacking hostels and these are great places to save money. They are generally reasonably cheap and often prices depend on the amount of people you want to share with (Do I take the 10 bed dorm or the luxury of a 2 bed dorm) and the place you’re in. “NEW YEARS EVE” Kings cross Sydney or in Townsville. Sydney you will be spending $100+ for that bed and in Townsville probably about $24.
So think about where you want to be and the amount of time you expect to be at this location so you don’t blow you budget. At the same time remember you just traveled on a plane for 2 days to get here on the other side of the world so when an opportunity come you may want to take it ion. But it always come back to your budget.  Sydney for 2 days @ $100 then Townsville for a day $23 and camping on magnetic Island for $8.
Other things can be as simple as “do I go to the shop to buy food and cook, or do I just go to a café or restaurant.” Sometime it is simply cheaper to eat out. The $8 or $10 pub meal special compared to the $15 you just spent on groceries at the supermarket to then go and cook and then wonder why you just made so much. The other factor you should look at is the amount of time you are going to be in the area. 1 day or a week. Again one good shopping spree will get you through the week for food. But be careful on the amount you buy and don’t go food shopping when you are hungry. (Proven fact) Shop when the store opens or when it is about to close as they will be discounting to get rid of their sale and old stock.
At the Reef Lodge Backpackers we have so much food wasted in our kitchen which proves this fact. Today I eat $25 STEAK, tomorrow I have a packet of 2 minute noodles and a carrot for $2. Average price for the 2 days is $13-50.

There are other factors I see these days, as time has passed I see more and more people using cards to pay for everything. Just remember that every time you are doing that you will get charged from the bank. Also, more often than not the businesses you are dealing with will charge you an amount. Make a budget for your day and pay cash. If nothing more you will save a couple of dollars a day and on a 6 to 12 month holiday that will add up to quite a few beds, side trips you could have had, romantic dinner with that special friend you found during your travels.
Don’t get drunk every night. You can do that back home where it’s cheaper and it’s not costing you for a late check-out the next morning. Sure have a few drinks, enjoy yourself, but remember that $20 you took out for a couple of ales has just turned out to be your next three days budget. So many times I have heard how a backpacker who has tried to haggle me for a $1 or $2 discount then goes out and pisses $100 to $200 away on a boozy night out with no memory of the nights beginning, 2 day hang over and the following wise words of knowledge. “Can’t remember a thing so it must have been a good night out!!”  Whaahhhh

This is the same guy that bitched about having to pay $23 for the cheapest room I had, asking for a discount. He didn't get a discount ;-)

Look at budget flights. Look at where you are going and look for the cheapest options to get there. It may be cheaper to look at indirect flight as a cheaper option than a direct flight. Also it may give opportunity to see a place or country you didn’t think about. These often become a pleasant surprise because of the lack of expectation. Weigh up the extra cost of the accommodation over the more expensive flight. This idea can work both ways.
Also, what is better, stop overnight in Townsville or stay for 3 days. Personally I hate to travel to a place for 1 day. It will takes you from ½ a day to a couple of days to get pretty much anywhere in the world. Remember the time it takes you to pack up today and get to the the next place you are staying is dead time.
For example: Often I see people pack up here to go to the Magnetic Island stay one night and come back the next morning. “WHAT DID YOU SEE?” You left here at 10am took the ferry to the island at 10-20 am 25minute ferry ride wait for the bus 15minutes another 15 minutes to get the hostel you’re staying at, check in, find your room, unpack and another 45minutes and its about 2 hours later. Then you will do the same thing on the way back. Wasted 4 hours! Check out time is 10am and what to do with your bags. A better choice may simply to stay at the Reef Lodge Backpackers in Townsville and go over to Magnetic island for the day. Leave at say 7am with no bags, jump on the bus and cruise around the island all day, check out the sights, go koala spotting at “The Forts Walk”, go for a snorkel in Horseshoe bay, bush walk around the island, sun-bake and catch the ferry back at 10pm, after a dinner at one of the little restaurants and cafés on the island.

Quote” Don’t miss a chance of life time because you’re tighter than a fishes ass with your money. Cause let’s face it all fish’s assholes are water tight”  :oDeanN-H

3. Where and what should you see or visit.
One thing I find is that an awful lot of people plan a holiday down to the time they will have dinner and the time they need to be in bed to catch the bus the next morning. When you limit yourself to this point you may very well miss out on life’s little pleasures that just spring up. When we went to Vietnam we simply planed our trip and the first 2 night accommodation and filled in the time till we left the country. One day we hired 3 pushbike and a guide for about $60 and half a day we road pushbike around the farming communities of Ho Chi Min city, saw matches being made for the Australian market in the back yard of a farmer. Manufacturing of “Sickles for export and domestic sale on a back yard forge. Rice being sown, fields being ploughed by an Ox and rice being harvested, rice being planted. As well as cooking pots being made on a peddle powered potter’s wheel making 1meter pots. Drank tea in some funny little café for the locals and met some of the locals and got to pat the Ox.
Thing is if you lock everything in you may not be able to change your plans due to losing your money. It’s not always about the destination you think you want but the memory’s you make  on the way from point A to B. Not to mention the couple of side trips you take on your way.

Quote “The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what's in between.”  Norton Juster.

5. Travel Insurance? Insure or not to insure?
In all honestly insurance is an evil fact of travel but at the end of the day it’s up to you. I do not travel outside Australia without it. I have seen too many people have accidents and end up at the doctors only to have to pay very high doctor bills and on occasion end up in hospital. Medical bills overseas is always expensive and can ruin your holiday. Sadly, we have had backpackers end up in hospital after falling while at the water falls breaking arms and legs and staying in Townsville for 3 weeks waiting for the all clear to move on. This is a tremendous cost of hospital and doctor bills. On another occasion we have had the tragic death of a girl killed in a car accident and the families have had to organize for transport of the body back home, again at great expense. The other two were in hospital for nearly a month and a half.
On a lighter note we have had people lose ALL their stuff. (Not from the Reef Lodge but in transit) Money, I.D. Cash, Travelers cheques, Passports, Camera, Phone, laptop all the expensive stuff. Not to mention cloths and backpack.
So the answer to this is simple question just ask yourself the question how will you cope in this situation and would the few hundred dollars it cost you make you feel more at ease while traveling.

Quote “I called an insurance company to get a quote. They gave me one of Oscar Wilde’s best.” Jarod Kintz

5. Language Barriers? How am I going to communicate?
These days it’s not such a big deal, with mobile apps and translator’s language has become much less an obstacle. Although English is still considered and fairly well placed to be called the most universal language in the world. So if you are reading this without the use of a translator you have little to worry about. On that note it doesn’t take much to learn a few phrases and term to help you get by. "Please" and "thank you" will nearly always get you out of trouble as well a big smile will always help. Use the universal language of a smile and most people will try and help you. Language will be a big problem the more you go off the beaten track. Most Airport,s hotels, restaurants and tourist spots usually will speak some English and you will get by. Just remember the smile and you should be fine.

Quote “Universally a brief smile and a nod will get you out of most problem situations, just remember to stop smiling, move on and not look like you’ve escaped a mental asylum.” ;oDeanN-H

6. What sort of backpack should I get?
Or should you get a suitcase. In all my travels I look at taking the absolute least amount of stuff that I can. This would include a small carry on case or small backpack and a small knapsack. I can assure you when your packing for the first time you will get by and deal with having probably 1/3 of what you think you need. The more you take the more you have to carry. Also the gear you are wearing at home when you leave Heathrow airport London, mid-September is going to be unused till you get home if you’re traveling to Australia.
As for type of packs, there are packs made for men and woman and the amount you would like to spend will probably dictate to time it will last before you need a new one. Comfort and fit are big factors. Packs that hug the hips will generally cause you less back problems as the pack weight will be on your hips not your upper back and shoulders. @25 kg it doesn’t feel too bad for quick walk around the living room. Try a hike for a couple of kilometers / mile and see how it feels. Quality is a factor, so look for brands with good ratings (check reviews on line) and don’t go for the cheap no name brand out of china.
Also as a foot note. When you start your travels find something that sticks out like the balls on Marley bull. I travel with a large / long bright red Christmas ribbon and tie it around the top of my backpack and I can see it as soon as it come out on the carousel.

Quote “Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone?” Erma Bombeck

Monday 17 November 2014

Here are some things to do in Towsville and our beatiful "Strand" or beach if your not German.

Why not start with a little exercise and utilize the 8 exercise pionts give yourself a workout while you run along our beatiful waterfront overlooking "Magnetic Island" Because I know how much I want to exercise when I travel? (Hold on, no I don't. I'll just sit and look out to sea!) Climb the Spiders web!

 Crap where's the Spider!

When you get to the end of the "The Strand" you can pass out under one of the palms or trees and have a little sleep. Don't forget the 30+ sunscreen. Or you may wake up like a well cooked "Rock Lobster"

Relaxing in the bestiful surounds of Townsville "Rock Pool."

After the little sleep you can have a swim in the lagoon at the northern end of "The Strand" to cool off or maybe do a few laps if your still up to it and have plenty of energy left. Don't swim in the lagoon on a Thursday as there is no water in it and diving into the concrete base will probably cause you a bit of a headache. (Closed for cleaning)

 Thank God its not Thursday!

You may prefer to swim in the stinger enclosure on the beach front so you can get battered by the the enormousness wave that reach OH! at least 0 to 30cm. Don't bring your surfboard as the only time you can surf in Townsville is during a cyclone. (Surfing during cyclones is not recommended by me or the Reef Lodge Backpacker)

What is this guy looking at?

A few things you can experience on "The Strand" include the "Rock Climbing wall" beach volley ball and jumping out of a perfectly good plane @ 12000  to 18000 feet and finding yourself back on "The Strand" (Some how I can't see me doing that as I just about need a "Valium or Vicodin" to get in the plane."


Have a "Picnic" after the your drug induced state from jumping out of that plane and celebrate the fact your still alive. (Drug of choice here is "Adrenalin" and not the Vicodin.)

Just laxing :-)

You may need to find some food for your BBQ picnic, so, throw a line into the ocean and catch a fish. There is a great fishing pier in the middle of "The Strand" off the rocks or sandy beach. Very peaceful at night. Not so for the fish!


If murdering that poor fish is not your style and you want something a little more civilized try one of the many cafes, coffee shops and restaurant along "The Strand" or an ice-cream Gelato from Gelimissio.

Overlook Cleveland Bay over Townsville.

Finally maybe you want to regress to childhood and go and play in "The Water Playground"  or climbing bars ect ect 

Having fun on the Strand.

Find a blanket settle in and catch one of our beautiful tropical sunsets!

 Sunset never looked so good!

Thursday 13 November 2014

Why people end up dieing in fires. The things you find in backpackers hostels in Townsville some times is a worry.

Some people have no consideration for property or the safty of others.

Recently had our fire detector, detector man come through to do his 6 monthly fire health check. To my shock said one of our smoke detectors was broken. As I am very diligent about our equipment being in good working order, I was a bit surprised as to what was found. I still remember the fire in town of Childers Australia in June 2000 which 11 people were killed.

So here is the work of some inconsiderate idiot. Although I know the chances of anything catching fire in this hostel is next to nil, as it is mostly steel and concrete and our furnishings are mostly fire retardant. I couldn't help but be concerned as to the stupidity of some "FCUKNIG IDIOTS"

Below are some pictures of a smoke detector that looked to be in good working order

 On the ceiling it looked to be OK!

On the bench you would think it worked even the green light is on? Except for the little dent on the right side?

With a closer look you suddenly see the thing has been broken and put back together with,
"wait for it!!! "


Not sure what burning chewing gum smells like but maybe this could become the flavor craze for the next generation of gum chewers! Even the battery was being held in with gum! 

All fixed now so thank you to the fire fix it man!


Thursday 6 November 2014

Not so sure about the COD Piece and spandex, but you can fly like the The Phantom" in The Red Baron Seaplane and is only about 500m from the Reef Lodge Backpakers in Townsville

Red Baron Seaplanes Townsville

This movie star is gracing the skies above beautiful Townsville and Magnetic Island in North Queensland. The historical Grumman Sea-Cat starred in the movie 'The Phantom' and is now being cast in a new adventure. It's the only two passenger, open cockpit bi-plane on floats in the world. Billy Zane flew in it, Catherine Zeta-Jones flew in it, now it's your turn to fly in the Red Baron Seaplane for an experience of a lifetime. So, while at the Reef Lodge Backpackers in Townsville, take a short walk to the marina (500m) and see a bit of movie history.

Biplanes used by the Sky Bandits, Drax's female pilots. The Phantom and Diana steal 
one and escape in it.

In "The Phantom" movie it crashes into a cliff after they have to bail out mid-flight when the plane runs out of fuel.

Flight 1: Townsville Panoramic

Taking off on the waters adjacent to the Strand, you will see the vibrant Port and the Townsville CBD and follow the Ross River up towards James Cook University. Admire the impressive Mount Stuart before flying past Townsville International airport, back around the monolithic Castle Hill. If you’re up for it, ask the pilot for some Adrenaline pumping manoeuvres. Complete the journey with a breath taking low level pass at 50ft in front of the Strand before landing.
Max 2 passengers per flight (combined weight of passengers not to exceed 180kg). Flight Time (takeoff to landing) 15mins. Allow approx 40min for the whole experience

Flight 2: Magnetic Island Eco Tour

This flight circumnavigates beautiful Magnetic Island. You will see Rocky granite headlands, blanketed with Hoop Pine trees leading down to the 23 bays and beaches that make Magnetic Island truly extraordinary. From the open cockpit Red Baron Seaplane view coral reefs, the inaccessible five beach bay and an abundance of marine life (Whales Aug-Oct). Red Baron Seaplanes is an eco-friendly aviation business that embraces the concept of minimal environmental impact while at the same time providing a unique experience for our customers Price includes Great Barrier Reef Marine Park environmental management charges.
Max 2 passengers per flight (combined weight of passengers not to exceed 180kg). Flight Time (takeoff to landing) 20mins. Allow approx 45min for the whole experience

Flight 3: Magnetic Island Eco Tour (Departing from Horseshoe Bay - Magnetic Island, April-January)

Departing from Horseshoe Bay – Magnetic Island this flight circumnavigates beautiful Magnetic Island. You will see Rocky granite headlands, blanketed with Hoop Pine trees leading down to the 23 bays and beaches that make Magnetic Island truly extraordinary. From the open cockpit Red Baron Seaplane view coral reefs, the inaccessible five beach bay and an abundance of marine life (Whales Aug-Oct). Red Baron Seaplanes is an eco-friendly aviation business that embraces the concept of minimal environmental impact while at the same time providing a unique experience for our customers Price includes Great Barrier Reef Marine Park environmental management charges.
Max 2 passengers per flight (combined weight of passengers not to exceed 180kg). Flight Time (takeoff to landing) 20mins. Allow approx 45min for the whole experience
Phone: 0412 896 770
Address: Shop 5, Breakwater Marina, Mariners Drive, Townsville, 4810

Townsville Panoramic (Departing from Townsville)
Flight Time (take off to landing): 15 mins approx, allow 30 minutes all up
Cost per flight inc Gst $365,max 2 passengers per flight (weight restrictions apply)

Magnetic Island Eco tour (Departing from Townsville)
Flight Time (take off to landing): 25 mins approx, allow 45 minutes all up
Cost per flight inc Gst $495,max 2 passengers per flight (weight restrictions apply)

Both flights can be purchased as a gift voucher valid for 12 months from date of purchase.

Flights are for 1 or 2 adult passengers ( weight restrictions apply )
Combined weight of the two passengers not to exceed 180kg

Red Baron Seaplanes
For Bookings call 0412 896770

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Monster crocodiles in Townsville. Just over the road from the Reef Lodge Backpackers.

Croc Country

Since the time of the dinosaurs, crocodiles have been masters of their domain. Stealthy hunters of rivers, creeks and mangroves, they are one of the few animals that will stalk, kill and consume humans.
Explore this exhibition and discover how these amazing reptiles evolved, how they have adapted for hunting and survival, and how we manage living side by side with crocodiles in Australia's tropical north.


Croc Country is proudly supported by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and

Event Details

15 November 2014 09:30 AM - 01 March 2015 05:00 PM
Free with Admission

Saltwater crocodiles, also known as estuarine crocodiles live in freshwater as well as saltwater creeks, and can also be found on beaches and islands, so you won’t always see croc warning signs. Crocs can wait and observe habits of prey, are very hard to see in the murky waters, and are generally more active at night.
Territorial, although crocs can travel far distances, and have been seen swimming past nearby beaches, including the popular Townsville beach "The Strand"

 Saltwater crocodiles, also known as estuarine crocodiles

The following tips are highly regarded as steps you can take to help keep you and your family safe against a saltwater crocodile attack. As with all wild animals though, there are no guarantees!These tips (only in my opinion these points are more relative to creeks rivers and murky dirty water.)
  • Camp at least 50m from water’s edge and 2m above high water mark.
  • Avoid camping where native animals and live stock drink regularl.
  • Don’t clean fish, leave scraps or wash near boat ramps or on water’s edge.
  • Don't dangle arms or legs over the boat.
  • Don't stand on logs or branches overhanging the water.
  • Crocodiles can jump high, around two thirds of their body length, out of the water.
  • If you fall in the water, don't panic, but get out as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t leave food scraps at your camp if you are camping close to creeks or water..
  • Be sure to check that previous visitors haven’t food around the camp site.
Freshwater crocodiles are not generally known be being aggressive.

It gets you thinking when you arrive at a swimming hole, "I wonder if there's a crocodile in there?" Here is some information about the possibility of crocs in Townsville swimming holes!

 or check out this at article on crocs in the Burdekin

Some of this information was found on: