Do a Writing Workshop in Tropical North Queensland

Do a Writing Workshop in Tropical North Queensland

Are you a wannabe freelance journalist or an aspiring travel writer with itchy feet? Do you want to spend a month in the Australian tropics being mentored by working editors and journalists and getting real-world writing experience?

We’ve been trotting the globe running writing workshops for the last few years, but in the wake of the global pandemic, the current need to stay home and the impending desire to stimulate our local economy, we’ve decided to make some changes for the remainder of 2020. In 2021, we hope to resume our writing workshops in Bali, Spain and Japan mid-year as normal, but we’ll be spending this winter exploring our own backyard – in Tropical North Queensland, to be precise.

Fringed by reef, enveloped by rainforest and a leisurely drive from sunburnt country towns, Cairns (Gimuy) is a laidback coastal city that throbs with a vibrant melting pot of cultures. As soon as the Queensland border opens, we’ll be running an intensive writing workshop there, and if you’re an aspiring travel writer or freelance journalist with itchy feet and an open mind, we’d bloody love it if you joined us.

For a month, you’ll be living in a Queenslander-style house in the centre of town with a bunch of other aspiring writers learning the ropes of freelance journalism. Each weekday, you’ll be attending interactive and highly tailored writing workshops with a particular focus on long-form feature writing, creative non-fiction, pitching to editors and starting your own publication. In your free time, you’ll be frolicking around Tropical North Queensland, hiking through ancient rainforest, swimming under waterfalls, dining at classic old pubs and snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef.

You’ll be working on multiple projects: two articles to be pitched to the publications of your choice, and a travel guide to Cairns, which will be published as an eBook on the platform of your choosing. Teaching the program will be Gemma Clarke and Nat Kassel. Gemma is the founding editor of Global Hobo, the former deputy editor of the triple j Annual and a freelance journalist and copywriter. Nat Kassel is the associate editor of Slam, the deputy editor of Global Hobo and a freelance journalist with bylines at the ABC,, Monster Children, VICE, Noisey and more.

What You Get:

  • Daily travel-writing and blogging workshops. Think travel-narrative writing, pitching to editors, building a brand and working as a freelancer on the road in exchange for sweet, sweet cash.
  • Airport pickup (or you can drive your own vehicle up, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous — we can help organise a carpool roadtrip group).
  • One month’s accommodation in a Queenslander house walking distance from the centre of town, complete with a pool, balconies, kitchens and WiFi
  • A trip to the gloriously tropical Fitzroy Island – home of Australia’s best beach and the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, whom we’ll be working with.
  • Potential university credit
  • 24-hour support, care and mentoring


  • $2950AUD – in light of recent world events, shitty travel insurance coverage and global uncertainty, we’re trying to make payment as flexible as possible. A $650 deposit will be due within two weeks of your selection in order to confirm your place, but the remainder will not be due until six weeks before the program starts. The course will be fully refundable less the deposit until three weeks before the program starts. Payment plans spanning up to six months are also available upon inquiry.

Dates and Availability:

  • The program will go for four weeks, from Sunday to Sunday, with dates TBA as soon as the Queensland border opens.
  • Places are strictly limited to a maximum of 28 people. Seeing as many students have transferred in from our Japan, Bali and Spain workshops, if you’re interested to join us, we recommend getting an application in ASAP!

The course has been expertly designed to be a bridge between writing for yourself or your own blog and entering the workforce as a freelancer or starting your own publication. If you’re a high-school leaver, this program is the perfect mini exchange to squeeze in before you hit the books again next year. If you’re already in the throes of university and studying something like journalism or communications, you may even be eligible for a full subject’s credit through your school’s work-integrated learning program. And if you’re not studying and you’re just on the hunt for a sweet project that combines travel and writing, we’ll teach you everything you need to know. We cater to all ability levels, and though experience helps, it’s not at all necessary.

What’s more, if you’re a journalism, media or communications student, enrollment in the program gives you the potential to receive a full subject’s worth of university credit as part of your institution’s Work Integrated Learning Program; however, this will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis upon discussion with your head of department. So far, we’ve had students from RMIT, Wollongong University, Charles Sturt University, Griffith University, La Trobe University, UNSW, QUT, the University of Queensland, Curtin University and more receive credit, as well as those attending schools in New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

Successful applicants will be open-minded creatives who are keen to step outside their comfort zone, gain some real-world journalism experience and taste life in the Australian tropics. The ability to work well in a group is essential. Do note though that the course is just that: a course. You don’t need to already have a foot in the door of the media industry to apply, nor do you already need to be the best writer. All the skills you’ll need to start sculpting your words like a pro and getting published will be taught as part of the curriculum. In fact, many students often keep writing for Global Hobo on a freelance basis once the course is over.

We’re determined to encourage a culturally relative approach to travel: supporting locally-owned businesses, partaking in cultural activities and actively giving thanks to the Gimuy-walubarra yidi people, who are the Traditional Owners of the country we will be on. We’re also fiercely committed to social justice and supporting diversity in the work we publish, giving space to voices that have been traditionally excluded from mainstream media and building an accessible community around storytelling.

Accordingly, since last year, part of Global Hobo’s profits have been funding independent coverage of the European refugee crisis from the ground in Greece. As soon as possible, we plan on sending a small documentary crew to Athens to shift the debate away from dehumanising statistics and tell the stories of some of those who continue to be affected by their displacement. A solid portion of every Cairns workshop sold will be going towards funding this project.


  • I’m still not convinced — what makes Global Hobo different from everyone else?
    • Read about our commitments to diversity, accessibility, sustainability and more.
  • This looks kind of scammy — I’d like to read some reviews of the program from previous hobos!
  • I want to know some more information about the program!
  • What do some of the previous guidebooks look like?
    • Check out some gold whipped up by our former spunky interns here.
  • What are your terms and conditions?

To Apply

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Most photos by our pal Shades of Love

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