Hostel sold as Cairns prepares for improved backpacker market

5 May 2023

Freedom Hostel Cairns has been sold and rebranded amid a wave of backpacker and hostel deals.

CBRE’s Danny Betros and Hayley Manvell brokered the Cairns deal on behalf of the Melbourne based vendors Shield Abbott Pty Ltd, part of the Jreissati Group which owns Bensons Property Group and the renowned Levantine Hill Winery.

Shield Abbott purchased the asset in 2007. Following the sale, the property has been rebranded as The Village Cairns (

Situated in the centre of Cairns, the 1,945sqm site incorporates a three-level, mixed-use accommodation and retail complex, including the recently refurbished 200-bed Freedom Hostel and nine retail tenancies in an arcade-style configuration.  

The total lettable area is 3,555sqm total lettable area, with the retail component anchored by Rip Curl and Off Ya Tree. The floor former restaurant space is to be used as part of an expansion of the hostel.

“Cairns is located at the entrance to two world heritage areas, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, encompassing a range of different tourist experiences and a tropical climate,” Mr Betros said. “If you are in the hostel business, then Cairns has to be part of your operation due to the popularity of the destination and the average night stay of just under five nights.”

“Having experienced a strong recovery post pandemic, Cairns is well positioned to continue to benefit from strong domestic visitation as well as international travel as airlines such as Virgin, Jetstar, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines start to return, providing connections to Europe, North America and Asian markets,” Mr Betros added.

Ms Manvell added, “Several prominent hospitality firms are scouring the national budget accommodation market for opportunities, however, there are limited assets available. These groups acknowledge the current counter-cyclical qualities of this asset class, which has seen a significant recovery over the past six months as backpackers return in force, filling beds and rooms.”