The Cairns Botanic Gardens contains the Flecker Gardens (tropical, exotic plants), Centenary Lakes (contains rain-forest boardwalk and fresh & salt water lakes), Mt. Whitfield Conservation Park (red & blue arrow trails), and the Tanks Arts Centre.
This is a great way to leisurely spend a jet-lagged afternoon while while experiencing local and tropical plants and habitats. We started out by walking through the Flecker gardens where we saw all kinds of tropical and exotic plants, flowers, and roots - a lot of them we had never seen before and in beautiful shapes and colors. The gardens themselves were well maintained and organized.
We had a snack at the cafe then made our way across Collins Avenue to the Rain-forest boardwalk. The pamphlet was quite informative and we were able to see examples of the various plants along the boardwalk. We followed the boardwalk to the Centenary lakes. The lakes are not very clean-looking, they are actually quite brown and swampy. However, this is explained by the informative signs - the point of the lakes are to demonstrate the typcial swamp-like habitat of the local area. Along the lakes were benches where you could sit and watch the ducks and turtles among the water lilies. There was also a large, modern playground nearby with restroom facilities.
After the lakes, we made our way back across Collins Avenue to the entrance of Flecker gardens and walked along Collins Avenue until we came to a parking lot which is the entrance to the red and blue arrow trails of the Mt. Whitfield conservation park. The trails offer a walking/hiking trail through the forested hill. The red arrow trail is an easy/moderate 1.3km loop while the blue arrow trail is a difficult 5.4km loop. We opted for the easier walk. These trails must be popular with the people Cairns as a place for outdoor exercise, as we had lots people running by us. After 30 minutes of walking (with a fair amount of stairs) within a woody yet scenic incline up the hill we reached a nice viewing area. We were a little sweaty and hot due to the climb but we were rewarded with a nice view below of the Cairns airport and the ocean behind it. On the return trip there was another viewing area where the city of Cairns could be seen.
All-in-all, this was a good way to spend a couple of hours and learn a little about the local plants and get some great views of the area.
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