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Our Australia Trip Phase Two Cairns

England
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Our Australia Trip Phase Two Cairns

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.

Australia
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1. Re: Our Australia Trip Phase Two Cairns

Great read.....

Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
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2. Re: Our Australia Trip Phase Two Cairns

Don't feel too bad about the beagles...

got similar narky treatment a few weeks back.. Despite having nothing in my handbag (FGS it's the size of a postage stamp) the dog decided it contaned somethng....after being snarked at for knowing better if you're Australian, and findng nothing they rolled their eyes and said you must have had somethng in there at some stage I fumed away only to notice back at home 2 days later the dog had torn the leather on my bag.

Personally I think customs usually do a great job but if I come back in via carns then 'll declare even if I have nothing

England
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3. Re: Our Australia Trip Phase Two Cairns

Yeah............. I appreciate they have a job to do, but being nice costs nothing. They were a bit under staffed as we were preceded by a plane load of exciable chineese, all wearing red caps.

Forgot to say.... I noticed one of the dogs was lying there, licking his meat and two veg. "Jeez", I said," I wish I could do that."

Fella next to me said "Give him a chockie biscuit, and he'll probably let you"

This was in Cairns.

The Dirty, Cheating, ****ards...... (appologies to Katherine Tate)

Cairns, Australia
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4. Re: Our Australia Trip Phase Two Cairns

I always suggest to drive UP the Gillies lol. Obviously did not read my advice or if you did, chose to ignore it lol. At least no report of being car sick on the way down. hee hee

I hope you found Frankland Island ok as a alternate as I recall your wiffe did not want to go to the reef proper. the outer reef has far better coral but the best way to enjoy it you really have to take the plunge and get wet!

Good weather, now quite cool, at night especially, so worked out well.

Where is drifters, never heard of it, are you making it up?

Come back soon and thanks for the report.

Edited: 12 May 2011, 08:54
England
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5. Re: Our Australia Trip Phase Two Cairns

Hi Ver

Frankland Island was a compromise. I would have gone out to the reef proper on Passion of Paradise or similar, and Mrs T was quite happy for me to go on my own. She would have been content to potter around Cairns. There was no point in dragging her out there to sit on a pontoon. By going to Normandy island we both got a nice day out.

Drifters (or Drifting) is in Abbott street or maybe one street back towards Lake.

As you walk along Sheild turn right and it's on the RHS a little way down.

We thought it was good

England
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6. Re: Our Australia Trip Phase Two Cairns

Thinking about it Verdant, it might have been on the Esplanade. We were pretty zonked at that stage. I've had a look on google street view, and think I found it. Yellow name sign under the canopy.

Edited: 12 May 2011, 12:49
Opelika, Alabama
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7. Re: Our Australia Trip Phase Two Cairns

glad to see your update Trickster - been waiting for it! Sounds like you and the missus had a good time, except for getting used to sleeping on Oz time! and of course the search dogs...... I got sternly told "don't touch the dogs!" when I tried to pet a search dog in New York City. Guess us animal lovers just don't know how to behave!

England
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8. Re: Our Australia Trip Phase Two Cairns

Hi Cherry

Is it you who are getting a car from Mini Car rentals?

I don't know where you are statying in Cairns, but they are located an easy 20 min walk from the CBD. If you walk up the Esplanade as far as Muddys playground/cafe, then turn left into Upward street, when you get to Sheriden , they are just round the corner. Nice people to deal with.

Re insurance for the car.... you need more than the included basic cover as you could be liable for over $3000 if things go belly up. They will try like mad to sell you the daily cover, which is very costly,so it's best to buy an annual cover in your home country before you leave. we paid about £50 and can hire as often as we like for 12 months.

BTW... where is Opelika?

Opelika, Alabama
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9. Re: Our Australia Trip Phase Two Cairns

yes, I am the one and they are very close to our hotel. we are staying at the Heritage Cairns. thanks for the advise on the insurance. Opelika, Alabama is near the border of Georgia about an hour and a half south of Atlanta Georgia, which I've just read has the number one busiest airport in the US.

England
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10. Re: Our Australia Trip Phase Two Cairns

Thanks.

You must be near to Birmingham.

My home city which we loving refer to as Brum, and the inhabitant as Brummies, was named after yours I believe.

We have the two best football teams in the country here

Aston Villa is one.