If you plan on visiting the world famous Great Barrier Reef there is a high chance you will be flying into one of the 2 main hubs, Cairns or Townsville. Which is better I could not say but I decided to opt for Cairns. It is bigger of the two with a bit more option in my humble opinion (google seems to agree!)
A beautiful city (which I did not expect it to be) and an amazing gateway to the Coral Sea. A bustling place with a decent night life and plenty to do during the day. One cannot go wrong with it really. Besides the obvious reefs excursions, you can visit the Botanic Gardens (funnily enough you might see the same plants just outside the garden, but obviously there is more and better inside), check out the Aquarium, go on a trip to Daintree Rainforest and spoil yourself with Kuranda Scenic Railway trip or simply relax on the beach in nearby Palm Cove. Sadly I decided to treat Cairns as a transit city to the GBR and none of the above attraction is covered here. But I can honestly admit I should have spent more time in the city. It truly does deserves it!
The kids are obviously not afraid of the animals living in those waters. I would!
Unfortunately there is no sandy, leisure beach in Cairns city and all you get is mud mixed with a is a risk of being attacked by a saltwater crocodile. The chances of surviving the aggression are rather low… so not recommended. Saying that if you take a car and drive few miles north, the countryside changes dramatically and you can find one of the most gorgeous beaches in all of Australia (Trinity Beach, Palm Cove or Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island). Had I had more time I would have ventured to Nudey Beach for sure!
Cairns does not seem to be a big city but it’s definitely an active one. By active I mean a lot of people take advantage of the all-year-round warm weather and exercise it out! I really liked the idea of getting up early and it’s already warm enough for you to get outside and to a bit of push up mixed with jogging and walking. It’s defo not a place when you stay home and watch telly.
I do understand why the city is so appealing to many. The amount of activities and entertainment offered is great. Unfortunately the weather is tropical so expect the skies to be overcast and a lot of rain, especially (luckily!) during the night. Saying that – it is a warm rain so even if you get wet, you should not get cold 🙂
Although there is no beach, Cairns has made a successful attempt at bringing the tropical seaside feeling to town and built an amazing open swimming pool with a free entry for everyone! Very stylish with clean water it simply invites you in. There is also an amazing contrast between clear water in the swimming pool and ( somehow ugly) mud in the bay.
If you fancy to explore the city by night, feel free to do so. There are multiple restaurants, pubs and clubs open for you till late hours. If you fancy some evening shopping when the roast is no more then there is a night market for you, too!
The abundance of life is astonishing. You can hear a choir of birds singing right in the middle of the city. Cairns is a tropical city so this should not be a surprise really. Unfortunately you will not find anything like that in Europe or North America for example so enjoy it while you can! And do not get scared of large flying objects between tries and buildings. It’s only huge but somehow cute bats 🙂 But don’t be tempted to touch them. They are wild animals after all.
Cairns was also the place when I tried Lechee fruit for the first time! Juicy and proper tasty. Highly recommended (thanks Brad!). It’s nothing unusual for the locals but was for me! 🙂
Hope you enjoyed this little overview of Cairns. I wish I had a bit more time to see the attractions Cairns has to offer but sadly I it was very limited. I got to discover it a bit and if I get to return I will make sure to see more! The next post will be devoted to the main attraction one can reach from Cairns – The Great Barrier Reef! Please stay tuned and enjoy the gallery below.