Much like when I wrote about Tully I’m sure most of you won’t have heard of Innisfail. It is another small town in Northern Queensland, about an hour from Cairns, where I went to do my regional work. I would love to say that’s where I completed my farm work, but unfortunately I still had more to do after I left. Even more unfortunate is the fact that I actually stayed in Innisfail a second time, after I’d completed my regional work and secured my second year visa!
Again I don’t want to sound overly negative, but in all honesty nobody wants to stay in a small farm town working on a banana farm when you’re travelling. That being said I actually had a fairly pleasant experience in Innisfail. The working hostel I stayed in (Backpacker Shack if anyone is interested) was actually one of the good ones so I had consistent work and was treated well by my employers. By the time I arrived in Innisfail is was pretty well accustomed to working on farms so the work became bearable (ish) and I soon settled into a routine.
The hostel itself was very sociable and Innisfail has around 5 working hostels in total, so there’s plenty of other backpackers around to chat to. There was a weekly routine of Queens pub on Thursdays and then drinking at the hostel before heading to Rumours nightclub on a Friday. The pubs and Rumours were nothing special but I always looked forward to going! It gave you the chance to meet backpackers from other hostels and after a long hard week on the farm who wouldn’t fancy having a few drinks on a Friday?
Much like Tully we tried to make the most of our weekends off by doing different things. We’d borrow the hostel mini vans and head down to the beaches or take a few cartons of beer and head up to the lakes. Most of the time Saturday’s involved drinking around the hostel all sat on the benches but either way it was usually a good laugh. At one point a couple of the guys even bought a pool that we set up in the car park which was awesome on the really hot days!
I was pretty lucky when it came to work in Innisfail. Both times I was there I had consistent work and even managed to get the same job I had had previously when I went back. My boss on the farm was so lovely, he never treated us unfairly and was such a nice guy. I guess I shouldn't have any complaints compared to other experiences I've had doing my regional work and hearing other's, but it still wasn't ideal. Banana farms tend to have a lot of wacky wildlife, it's definitely not a job I'd recommend for anyone who's scared of spiders! I was also working outside, which not a lot of girls do, which made it a lot harder. I really struggled keeping my energy levels up being outside in the tropical heat.
Overall I would say I did enjoy my time in Innisfail but I’ll be honest in that I was pretty happy when I was able to leave. I made some good friends there, particularly the second time around, and I had a lot of fun outside of work and from my experience it was the most reliable place to find regional work. I would highly recommend the hostel where I stayed for anyone who was looking to do their farm work and its an experience I look back on fondly.
For more information regarding working hostels and finding regional work in Australia refer to my ‘Regional Work in Australia and Getting a 2nd Year Visa’ post, part 2 coming soon!