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mistybleu Cairns - A travel report by Amanda
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Cairns,  Australia - flag Australia -  Queensland
14153 readers

mistybleu's travel reports

More then the Barrier Reef

  22 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6
Tropical Queensland, with its capital Cairns is a must when visiting Australia. It’s a great base to explore the Great Barrier Reef, which is why you shouldn’t miss Cairns.

The Cassowary
The Cassowary
The first Europeans to land in Cairns were Captain Cook and his crew in 1770 when navigation through the reefs proved quite difficult; they had to come ashore to make repairs to their ship – HMS Endeavour.

North Queensland was rugged, coupled with the disaccord with the natives, made it difficult for Europeans to adjust, however with the discovery of gold made it a littler easier, (copper and tin was also found in the area).

By the end of the gold rush people to looked to the rich soil to sustain their living and this saw the birth of sugar cane industry however this too soon died out and was replaced with rice, cotton and even tobacco crops.

Times have changed since those days, Cairns is now a thriving coastal town and is a hub for tourism in the area. It is a major stopping off point to visit the Great Barrier River; and also Daintree Rainforest, Mossman Gorge, the Cape of Tribulation etc.

As the area is sub tropical, the weather is perfect, hot in the summer with mild winters. The area is service by Cairns International Airport and the connections to the rest of Australia are good. For more information I found useful.

Favourite spots:
The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef in the world and spans over 2300km; it is actually made up of 3000 individual reefs with fascinating areas, lagoons and platforms to explore. Many boats depart from Trinity Wharf in Cairns to the outer reefs and this usually takes a couple of hours; because of the distance you cover, it is advisable to take some sea sick tablets before you depart.

I chose Reef Magic; they had a very friendly, young, good looking crew which really helped the day to turnout lovely. They have two types of dives, the introduction and advanced. Its very basic training but they seemed to adhere to the safety checks for diving; but if diving is not your thing they also have snorkelling available or using the semi-submersible.

My best advice would be to definitely purchase an underwater camera.

Tours operated all year around, but the best time to be there is between May to November. Check out Queensland travel centre - for more info.

What's really great:
Daintree Rainforest
Daintree Rainforest
Northern Queensland is very distinct; from the Great Barrier Reed, to the shores of the Cape of Tribulation, to the wetlands and rainforests. Exploring the region can be quite diverse. Whilst Cairns was my base, spending the day, or some days in Port Douglas was the ideal (which is only an hour drive up the coast). It is very pristine, where everything is manicured, even the coconut trees, which have been ‘de-nutted’ to avoid any accidents. Port Douglas is very popular with the rich and famous and has hosted the likes of Bill Clinton. It is nestled in the forest with the 4 mile beach as its oasis, it’s just a perfect locations. (

What are also great are the action activities available in the area. As the weather is so warm (averaging around 30c) everything seems easy, like hot-air ballooning, parachuting and a myriad of water sports.

Mossman Gorge
Mossman Gorge
Daintree - along Captain Cook Highway to the Daintree National Park which is best explored by a 4x4 vehicles. The rainforest is beautiful with so many things of interest to see, from the magnificent birds, fruit bats, tree snakes to even crocodiles. The highlight of my trip was to seeing two crocodiles.

Daintree has remnant of the sugar industry with discarded trains at the side of the road and open plains very Caribbean. (

Mossman Gorge is also very pretty, it’s a perfect place to have a picnic or go for a swim. The area is also home to the endangered Cassowary, a beautiful flightless bird.

Cape Tribulation – has a nice beach, but look out for the heed box jellyfish warnings, between October and June it’s not possible to swim. However they have blue vinegar on hand should you get stung, (they use blue vinegar because people kept on stealing the normal kind).

Hotel Views
Hotel Views
The Acacia Court Hotel was a very pleasant hotel, nothing special but good. It had approximately 150 good size rooms and was located on the Esplanade; therefore it had some lovely beach views overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I wasn’t lucky to get one of those rooms and had to satisfy with a mountains view which was just as appealing to me on most days.

In the ground lobby was a tour desk which made it easy to organise daily activities in and around Cairns, and the staff were very helpful.

Crocodile Hunting
Crocodile Hunting
I didn’t visit any clubs or pubs, even though I’m sure they have some great ones, I chose instead to spend the evening with an Aboriginal show at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. During the day this venue is good for children, as they are able to throw boomerangs, play the didgeridoo or eat bush food, hang on a minute that’s what I did and had lots of fun. In the evening to there’s a theatre, museum and art gallery with the essential gift shops available.

[The picture is of one of the baby crocodiles I saw, however you will be hard pressed to see it.]

Cairns travelogue picture
Along the Esplanade there are also many restaurants, most of the ones I saw were inside hotels.

I didn’t venture out and ate in the Acacia Court Hotel’s restaurant – Charlies. Apparently this is a 'world re renowned restaurant' which serves great seafood and for around $20 you can eat as much as you want. £1 = AU$ 2.46.

Other recommendations:
Cairns travelogue picture
Located in the UNDARA VOLCANIC NATIONAL Park, the UNDARA LAVA TUBES is a full day tour; it takes approximately 4 hours to drive each way. The tubes were formed 190,000 years ago as a result of a volcanic eruption which sent molten lava across the land like pipes. When the pipes finally drained, it resulted in the hollow tubes being left behind, (, whilst some of the tubes are broken with vegetation growing inside, it’s a great experience.

Use the KURANDU SCENIC RAILWAY and sky rail to explore the small village high above Cairns; Kuranda is a quaint little village set in the rainforest.

In the foothills of the rainforest where the mountains meets the fringed beaches is PALM COVE, at dawn it provides a lovely walk which at times can be accompanied by kookaburras, cockatoos and rare green tree frogs.

It’s also possible to continue your travels to WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS which has been described as a living postcard made up of 74 emerald islands.

Published on Wednesday April 6th, 2005

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Fri, Jul 29 2011 - 11:20 PM rating by shervin19

Amazing report!

Mon, Feb 19 2007 - 10:00 PM rating by travler

I never got to see this part of Australia

Sat, Nov 05 2005 - 06:11 AM rating by toribio


Sun, Jun 26 2005 - 04:57 PM rating by brucemoon

The 'remnant sugar indusrty' is, in fact, quite vibrant. Going by the photo's, you visited in the wetter months, when cane is undergoing its growth. The cane trucks (shunted by tramcars) operate between late may thru October (depending on seasonal variations).

Tue, Apr 12 2005 - 06:53 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii amanda
well a wonderful and excellent report from u

Fri, Apr 08 2005 - 09:01 AM rating by magsalex

Informative and interesting - never made it to Cairns!

Fri, Apr 08 2005 - 05:23 AM rating by gloriajames

great report!

Thu, Apr 07 2005 - 06:01 AM rating by britman

Nice report on a super area - although Cairns itself is a dull city its surroundings are magnificient. Well done yet again!

Thu, Apr 07 2005 - 02:29 AM rating by davidx


Wed, Apr 06 2005 - 11:46 PM rating by rangutan

Particularly fantastic report!

Wed, Apr 06 2005 - 09:44 PM rating by picasso

Fascinating report,very interesting pictures and tons of advices and information.Great Amanda and thank you *****


Wed, Apr 06 2005 - 11:27 AM rating by bear495

Another wonderful report, Amanda. Thank you for sharing.


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