Here is the report on our stay in Cains. It's a bit long and boring but I wanted to get it all typed up so I can file it in my souvenir archive.
We really enjoyed our week in Cairns.
TA = Travel advisor recomendation
RG= Rough guide recomentation
PK= previous knowledge
Int= info from internet search.
Day 1. Arrived 0900 after a long flight from uk and a refuelling stop at Darwin. At the airport we had the only bit of unpleasantness we encountered during the month we spent in Australia. After we had gone thru passport control we approached the place where the dog sniffs your luggage. Mrs T, being an animal lover, stepped slightly out of line to look into the pen where the dogs were. She was severley shouted at and told to get back in line. There was a big sign on the wall, saying “place your bags on the floor”. So I moved forward to do this. The man shouted, yes shouted, at me to get back. It was all so unnecessary and not a nice way to start. However, since that incident, everyone we met was lovely.
We took a taxi to our hotel, “The Inn Cairns Boutique Hotel” in Lake Street. (Int). I was slightly surprised it cost $24 to make the short journey, and this was the first indication the Australia is a relatively expensive place to visit for people from UK. We arrived at the hotel which is right in the heart of things at the bus transit precinct. Opposite is Woolworths, and next door but one, the Callendar Girls Gentlemens Club. We were met by Eric and later Selwyn, two very nice and helpfull proprioters. The apartment wasn’t quite ready so we dumped our bags and walked round to Perrottas in Shield Street for a coffee. Nice place. Bought some basic groceries at Woolworths and checked in. Eric had taken our bags to the appt. The appt was great. 1 bedroom, large lounge/diner, bathroom with laundry, full kitchen, patio. It cost $115 pn. There is a pool, bbq area and roof terrace with great views. After a light lunch there, Mrs T tried to sleep while I walked round to Cairns Central Mall to sort a phone out.
I went to All Phones (TA) and bought a $10 sim card to put in an unlocked phone I had taken with me. I think to network is Lakamba. The $10 lasted all month as I didn’t give the no to any uk people and only used the phone for texting people in oz to arrange meets. Back at the hotel managed a short nap. At 6 we went for a walk round the CBD. It was lovely to see the paraqueets and cockatoos, and fruit bats roosting.After a beer at Drifters in Abbott street, a walk by the Marina, and a bowl of soup at the hotel, we got to bed at 9, exhausted.
Day 2. Didn’t sleep well. Up early and bought a good value all day bus ticket from the bus co office right by the hotel. Collected some picnic stuff from Woolies and headed off to Yorkeys Knob. Reason for visit there was to lay ghost from visit in ‘89 with the former Mrs T and kids. We got off bus just before the beach and walked down to The Boat Club (TA). Lovely marina and deck for a coffee. Apart from some wrinklies playing bingo we had the place to ourselves. Walked round to the beach. The cabins we had stayed in were gone and there are some nice low key appts now. The weather was lovely so we had our picnic in the shade by the beach. I was very happy. One of the appt blocks has a little store/coffee shop where we bought ice creams. I liked Yorkys. It was so relaxed. Picked up the bus back to town and got off just past airport for the Flecker Botanical Gardens. That was a great place to spend an hour. Superb range of plants and a nice cafe. Back to the main road for the bus. Got off at Minicar Rentals (RG) to collect our car. Nice little Hyundi Getz auto. Owner tried hard to sell us the CDW insurance but finaly accepted we had a annual policy to cover any damage. Drove back to hotel and parked in the free underground car park. In the evening we had a great meal at Drifters. We were still tired, so were in bed by 10.
Day 3. Woke at 2am. Couldn’t sleep. Tossed and turned till 5. Said sod it got up, had breakfast, and were on the road by 6. The drive north towards PD is so beautiful. Continued on to the Daintree River crossing, which was free so we saved twenty odd dollars. Stopped at a couple of view points and beaches in the rain forest. Wonderful. Just before Cape Trib is the Dubuji Board Walk, which is a short stroll down to the beach. We then went a couple of km further than the car park at the end of the sealed round to the Cape Trib Beach House complex. This looks a well run operation and you can walk thru it down to a large communal area with pool and cafe, covered with a giant canopy. Nice coffee and staff. Just a few steps away is the beach. It was all so peaceful. Retraced our steps back to the ferry, crossed and turned right towards Daintree Village. A couple of km along on the RHS is Bruce Belchers River trip (Int). Interesting reception area with free drinks while you wait. The trip was fab. Considering Bruce does the 5 times a day, 7 days a week, he is still enthusiastic. Saw several crocs of various sizes. They had advised us the best time is low tide. So that’s when we went. Moved onto Mossman Gorge. (PK) I’ve been before, but since then, they have constucted an excellent elevated metal board walk thru the forest. The river was impressive. If I’d had me togs I would have swum with the others.
Very impressed. Got back to Cairns just before dark. Long tiring day but great. Ate in and turned in.
Day 4. Slept better than night before, but still up a 8. Drove round to the frankland Island Boat Trip office in abbott street and booked trip. They have reduced the prices a lot to $109 (not inc transfer) Drove to PD for the Sunday Market. Excellent, but everything so costly we didn’t buy. Had lunch at The Tin Shed (TA) . Excellent meal and setting. Reasonably priced.. Drove to the lookout over 4 mile beach, then down to the beach itself. Lovely. Fell by accident on the little steam train which runs a couple of km from Trinity wharf on Sundays onlt. Took the trip. Nice. Left PD, which we thought was fab, and drove south . Called in at Thalla Resort for coffe. Wonderful place. Did a quick recce of Palm Cove, Trintiy and Cliton beaches. We liked Palm best. Can’t remember what happened in the evening, we were so tired.
Day 5. Up early for the 45min drive south to Musgrave River, for Frankland Island Trip (TA). By driving yourself there you save $15 transfer fee.
The boat is mored on the Musgrave River. Unfortunatly the engine wouldn’t start so we all went to a garage on the highway for coffe. Fault was fixed quickly. Sailed down the river the across to Normandy Island.
30 min sea crossing. The island is lovely, and if you don’t want to snorkel you can wander round. The company has the sole right to go there, so it is peaceful. They can take 100 people but there were only 40 on our trip. The coral was ok but not spectacular. Saw plenty of fish. After a lovely lunch, the take you on an interesting nature walk. Saw many things, including a turtle resting in a rock pool. The is a semi submersible for non swimmers. Because of the very low tide we had to stay on the island 2 extra hours as we couldn’t get over the sand bar at the mouth of the river. Got back to hotel at 7 and fast asleep by 8. Finaly got a good nights sleep. I would recommend that trip.
Day 6. Drove up to Kurranda . Went in Bird World , which was excellent.
There are lots of tourist outlets in Kurranda. We thought it was nice. Drove down Barron Falls Road to the car park and walked along the excellent boardwalk to view the falls. Very Impressive. We had intended to go to Mareeba Wetlands next. The car hire people weren’t too keen as it was an unsealed roud. We rang Mareeba two days before to ask about the condition of the road. They said it was due to be graded the next day and would advise us by phone. They never rang so we abandoned the idea. We still drove to Mareeba, as Mrs T needed medication for nausea and vertigo. Bit shocked at the cost of medicen. Mareeba was a sleepy sort of place. Carried on to Atherton.Pretty town. Had lunch at Chatterbox in Main Street (RG) Excellent. Walked up and down main street. There was a pub which belonged to the family of a famous aussie boxer, which was interesting. Then on to Yungaburra. Stange volcanic peaks on the route. Stopped at the curtain fig tree. Yungabuura was twee. Helpful tourist info place. Went to the Platypus place, but hadn’t got the patience to wait, so saw nothing. Next stop was Lake Barrina, for coffe, but they had just closed at 4. Then drove down the windy Gillies highway home. Ate in. Had a beer in town, and walked part of the esplanade. And round the excellent lagoon. Then bed.
Day 7 . Drove to Crystal Cascades (TA) This is a mini version of Mosman Gorge. Not so wild but still excellent. Moving memorial to young woman. Did she drown there?. Drove round the Redlynch estate. As one who is interested in town planning, it was very god. Had a drive round Edge Hill and saw some great properties. Then on to Palm cove for the rest of the day. We liked Palm Cove a lot. Just sat around, playing scrabble. Walked the full length of it and on the pier. Would make a good base for a hol. But I would prefer to be in Cairns or PD. Back at Cairns parked at the N end of the esplanade and had ice cream at Muddies. Returned the car to depot. Walked back to hotel. Evening, we wandered round the esplanade and listened to the busker at the end of Shield who was there every night playing stuff I like. Walked up to the cenotaph. Australia is far more into war memorials than us in UK. Which is a good thing IMHO.
Went round the night market. Bought nothing. We ate in the food court there. I think that is a good place. If you are there after 9.30- they do cheaper specials. Went to hotel and packed for Sydney flight next day.
So that was the end of our week in Cairns. We both loved it and it was Mrs T’s favourite segment of the hol. I would gladly go back there.