Cairns - a large slice of Tropical Paradise

Trip Start Nov 09, 2012
Trip End Mar 04, 2013

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Friday, November 30, 2012

civilisation. It's good to be here in Cairns – or 'Cannes' as it's
pronounced by the locals – there are shops, restaurants, malls,
everything just like at home...

in the Tropics, Cairns does not have the humidity of Darwin and is
therefore lovely – we've had mid-30's weather all week and it's
been the perfect temperature. We were very happy that we decided to
forego the hostel for a deluxe apartment – as it had its own
lounge, bedroom, bathroom (lovely shower) and kitchen area – and we
liked it so much that we've booked a similar place in Townsville –
however, our accommodation budget has gone out of the window and I
now have to do some budget re-workings – which I've successfully
put off this week – and doubt I'll have time next :-)

1 in Cairns started with a swim in the complex pool – whilst Debs
managed 50 lengths, it took me a while to get in the pool so I only
managed 20 – even so, my arms were aching afterwards! We went on a
Sunset Cruise around Cairns harbour which was very lovely and then
went for a bimble around the Esplanade and town centre. The lagoon –
a salt water pool on the sea front was warm and lovely – but Deb's
reckoned the warmth came from people's wee – so I'm glad I only
dibbed a toe... We also found a large mall just across from our
apartment so did some food shopping – well, eggs, tin of tomato
soup and some cereal :-)

Tuesday we went on a Karunda Reforestation trip. Karunda is a forest
mountain town a couple of hours from Cairns – a small market place
town with a rainforest zoo and tour a few minutes from the main
throughfare. We caught an oldy worldy train up to Karunda which took
a couple of hours and saw some magnificent sights (see photos) –
and when we arrived it was HOT! Being up so high, several hundred
metres above sea level, the air was hotter – so we obviously had to
spend most of our free time in the shops :-)
our free time, where we bought some lovely Aboriginal coasters, a
blow up boxing kangaroo and my brothers birthday present – we went
to the nearby Rainforestation, a wildlife zoo and tour through some
of the rainforest which covers the area around Cairns. The highlight
of the tour was feeding the Roos and Wallabies, although the wallaby
slobbered all over our hands and had a sticky outy tooth which
freaked Debs out (lol). We also went for a ride on an Army Duck
(restored WWII amphibious landing craft) through the rainforest and
lakes to see some native butterflies, birds and fauna (thankfully no
creepy crawlies). On the home trip, we caught the Skytrain – 8km
of cable cars that descended over the rainforest and back into
Cairns. OMG this was the most fantastic thing I'd done in – well,
days – no, hours :-)... The views were spectacular – see the
photos, it was amazing! The perfect day was rounded off by one of
nicest mint choc chip ice creams I've ever had...

was our Sunday and was our day of rest, catching up on sleep,
reading, and booking the next stage of our tour down the East Coast –
to Townsville and then onto The Whitsundays - very relaxing and just what the doctor ordered/

Thursday we went on a day trip to Fitzroy Island – which is the
closest to paradise I've ever come. We booked on the sea kayaking
tour which involved kayaking around the island to a smaller island
called Little Fitzroy Island and then stopping off at Sharks Tooth
Bay for some snorkelling over the coral reefs. This was my first
experience of the coral reefs and it blew me away – such beautiful
sights, of multi coloured corals and fish swimming around – it was
perfection. The kayaking however, was harder than we anticipated, as
we capsized within 2 minutes of getting in the craft – and then
struggled to maintain pace with the rest of the group – which I
think is because Debs was rowing slowly.... After our mamoth rowing
expedition, we decided that instead of a hike up to the Lighthouse,
we'd prefer a game of pool in the shade, overlooking the beach :-) -
all in all, the most perfect day at an island only 40 minutes from Cairns with golden sandy beaches, aqua seas and coral reefs.

early night was in order because of our Great Barrier Reef trip today
(Friday). Debs was a little nervous as she got sea sick on the
kayaks yesterday, and I expected to feel uncomfortable as we were
heading 2 hours out to sea. In reality, we both underestimated the
journey and I was throwing up within the first 10 minutes and didn’t
stop for about 3 hours. I may have been the first to be sick – but
I wasn't the last, and as we started rolling around to buggery in the
open seas, lots of people were throwing up around me... We first stopped
at Flynn Reef for a couple of hours – and saw some breathtaking
corals and fish – all different shapes and colours. I managed
about 30 minutes before I had to go throw up again, but Debs managed
2 hours and had an amazing time – especially with Billy the tour
guide. After lunch – which consisted of a few bits of bread (feeling very ill), and a
little sleep, I was well enough to snorkel for the afternoon session
at a different reef and I wasn't disappointed.- truly remarkable
experience – and a must for anyone who has the opportunity to visit
it. On the way home, it was a slightly less horrendous journey and
was only sick the once (but this time was the only one throwing up) –
but overall, even though I spent over half the day being ill – it
was absolutely worth it to see the sights of the corals and fish and
the overall experience of seeing the 8th wonder of the world..

Cairns is the first place in Australia where I'd be happy to live.
It's stunning, the weather is lovely (all year round apart from
height of wet season), the area is beautiful, with rainforests and
sea, the people are lovely, there are good shops and eateries and
there's a chilled out vibe which we could get used to. Unfortunately
tomorrow it's time for us to move on and catch our bus to Townsville
– no more planes now until Sydney – now it's Greyhound all the
way :-)

offers lots to do (and more nice weather) – including a trip to
Magnetic Island, lovely walks,museums and esplanade pool. Four days
there, and we'll be on our way to The Whitsundays, which hopefully by
then, I will have gotten rid of my sea sickness and can visit some
lovely islands – for the next 2 days however, we are strictly no
water and will be sticking to land!

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