There are many places people have always wanted to go to. Places like Paris, New York, London and many more. I myself have been living in Sydney and I can’t deny that this city has its perks. The way the city lights up every night, how there is excitement every corner you take, how for some reason you always seem to be drowning in the mixture of different cultures. From Australia to Italian or China, Sydney seems to gather them all.
However, despite living in Australia, I actually have never really been out of New South Wales. So when my uncle calls me up, invite me to his holiday’s house in Cairns, Queensland, I would be quite stupid to decline right? Therefore I have taken that new step and arrive in Cairns after a three hours flight with Jetstar.
They are cheaper and much more preferable flight if you have a budget like me. Ticket prices are varied so I can’t give you a specific quote. If you have checked in luggage, it’s around $ 25 AUD for around 20 kilos, but for carrying on luggage, the maximum is 7 kilos. Therefore if you’re planning on backpacking, pack wisely.
You can pack many things or thing you deemed to be precious besides clothing of course. A few things you absolutely shouldn’t forget:
- Sunscreen, (sun in Cairns is not forgiving, you’ll be burnt so bring heaps of them, preferably waterproof. Cause you’ll be doing lots of swimming.)
- Swimmer (The lagoon and the reef is a must go to!)
- Hat, Sunny, and thongs (flip-flops) it’s hot up there, better have comfortable thing.
- Camera – one can’t go to a new and BEAUTIFUL place without a camera to capture it, or if you have a phone with camera function like smartphone I guess that’s good enough.
- Money – can’t do much without these things.
I know there are many other things, like having your IDs, travel insurance, some medication or sea-sick tablets, (boat trip to the Barrier Reef is very choppy) but I think you guys should know it right? If not note to self-do a post about this later. I also suggest that you book your accommodations first because, with a tourist choice of destination, rooms are booked out pretty fast. Most accommodations are expensive places for those who like to stay luxury like Sheridan, Shering-la, Hilton, Rydges Esplanade, Pullman Reef Casino Resort, but if you are backpackers rest assure, there are hostels that actually made for backpackers!!! For examples Global Backpacker Waterfront which is in the North of Cairns they are both hostel and booking centre for any tourist destination, a dorm is from $15 AUD and they even throw in a $7 AUD dinner at PJ Obrien pub, so why not?. There is also a pub right next to it, food and bed along with activity wrapped in one place, what more could you ask for? The pub, ‘Rattler n Hum’ have delicious pizza and it’s not really expensive. Also if you intend to stay for 4 nights, you only have to pay for 3, BARGAIN!. Furthermore, if I’m not wrong, Global Backpackers Waterfront also hiring, they also hire backpackers who have a working holidays visa if I’m not wrong, so if you have one and in need of cash, well what are you waiting for?
They are also in the centre of Cairns and Port Douglas.
But if it ends up fully booked, have no fear, there’re other hostels around Cairns too. Like Bellview or Waterfront Backpackers I haven’t checked them out but from the look of it, these guys are pretty cool too!
Anyway back to Cairns, the first thing you have to talk about is the Esplanade. I have one word for you guys, ‘Stunning’ and all the synonyms that come with the word. Because that what the Esplanade show you essentially.
Whether it’s night time or day, it’s still beautiful. The walk itself gives you the best of nature in Cairns, and you see the Park with exercise equipment, public gym when I say public gym I really mean public. It is called Exercise station. Good for exercise!! And between each Exercise station is quite a good distance for a run too.
When you are in Cairns, please try out the Lagoon – the pool. The water is soothing, cool and calming. You can just come in and chill in the water, feel yourself floated through the water. Swim with the view, the wind and sun, it’s just totally relaxing.
In town, you can find almost anything in term of food, Italian, Brazilian, German, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or even Maccas (McDonalds), Coffee Club and Gloria Jeans. There is no Starbucks, sorry to any Starbucks worshipers but there are many other cafés around Cairns that made excellent coffee or latte decaf with soy milk two sugars to those with particular taste. Haha. Give them a chance, I’m sure they can prove to you that they are right.
Like ‘Wharf One’ for breakfast, they are at the end of the Esplanade to the Marina Points toward the where all the Wharf are, probably that why they named the café ‘Wharf One’. ‘Wharf One’ is what I would describe as breakfast with a view.
They serve you with delicious food, killer cappuccinos and beautiful view of the wharf, the water and Cairns. Services are amazing, the only downside is that they can be a little bit pricey.
But there are other places in town too, like ‘Bang & Grind’ lovely coffee they even got the poster of why being addicted to coffee is actually not a bad things haha. There are many other cuisines to check out for both lunch and dinner around town too. But if you feel like doing a bit of cooking your self, then there are public BBQs along the Esplanade near the Lagoon. Use it, cook your dinner, lunch or even breakfast. I’ve tried bacon and egg and even pancakes on the Barbie, and boy they are good!
Cairns is a place whether you have to stop once in awhile to take some photos, indulge yourself in the beauty that this city brings you. If you are a lover of a good drive, I suggest you take upon Captain Cook Hway to Port Douglas from Cairns. This I can assure you is the literal definition of saying ‘It’s not about the destination but the journey.” Because the highway is what blow your mind away before you even reach Port Douglas. One side of the highway, mountain and trees the calming nature and on the other side you have the sea, I mean it can’t get any better than that right? I can’t remember how many times I have stopped and stared at the view, saying a few words like ‘magnificent’, ‘breath-taking’, ‘amazing’ and etc. Any praising words you can think of, you will see me saying it, because they are that beautiful.
The sea is like strips of colour. Insanely beautiful colours of which fade from grey into deep blue. It’s like a kid who has just finished playing with blocks of different colour, rearranging them accordingly to the colour wheel for different shade of blue. And voila, their finished product is something you wish Mother Nature could talk so you could thank her for this creation. I know I will.
Port Douglas is something different, it’s not like Cairns. It isn’t filled with other country cuisines. Like the name, you can pretty much guess it right? If you have been to New South Wales Northern Beaches, more exactly Palm Beach then Port Douglas is pretty similar. Lots of seafood places, the place of a beach feel to them, sandy and salty air that mostly blown out from the ocean even if they not extremely close to the beach. On top of Port Douglas there is a look out point that you can see every thing from the high up, if you are walking then it might be a bit of a walk but the view is worth it. Highly recommended if you ever go to Port Douglas, check it out!!!
Back to Cairns, the true purpose of this post haha. Beside the place is made for photographer, there are also activities. You can book them through Global Backpackers like I did or through many other tourist places like ‘Greyhound Wicked Travel’, ‘Cairns Tourist’, etc. There are heaps of activities but doing all of them can create quite a dent on your wallet, so choose smart. I can’t really tell you what to choose because people have different choices.
I’m a person who loves a bit of adrenaline rush, so naturally I pick bungy jumping. I would pick skydive too, if it isn’t because that I have already done it and it might be too expensive to do both. The place is called AJ Hackett, 50 meters high, you just jumps straight off. A jump is $159 AUD, and the second is $49 AUD, third is about $39 AUD, then it keep going down till the 5th jump, which is free. I can assure you the guys there are like professional, and there are like sixteen different jump styles you can try out. Swan dive, blindfolded, pendulum or even BMX. Yep you have read correctly, I definitely wrote BMX up there.
For those who desire something extreme, you can ride a BMX bike from the roof of the tower, which is higher than 50 meters down with bungy jump. So guys, who up for the ride? You are only allow this after doing at least two jumps because of safety reason, harder styles equal with higher risk. Because being first time jumper I only jump, I have to say the scariest part is after you jump. The feeling of free falling until the rope stop you midway and pull you up like a yoyo, is what literally pull your heart out with it.
Of course if you go to Cairns and don’t do a snorkel or scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef then it almost not worth it. Take a dive, look at the beautiful Reef, and meet ‘Wally’ the famous fish or the place where the movie Finding Nemo’s taken its inspiration. Who knows, you might see Nemo himself! If you’re lucky you might even get a chance to see GT – giant trout or swim with shark. Don’t worry they won’t bite. I went with Deep Sea Diver Den. They were very professional and full of energy and extremely friendly. Be sure to bring some seasick tablet because the boat ride is extremely choppy, I have seen people get so sick on board. But if you forget it’s okay, they do sell seasick tablet for $1 AUD. Check out their website for more detail on the price.
Also Cairns are famous for Crocodiles. I present to you Hartley’s Crocodile adventure.
Here they have the boat trip taking you around the rivers that have around twenty-five crocodiles. If you’re lucky you might meet the oldest crocodile which is over one hundred years old (I forgot his name) or meet the biggest girl, Oprah. She is over three metres. Or Paul, the biggest crocodile so far he is 700 kilos. Would you believe it?
Meet Paul. I know he doesn’t look it, but he is.
They also tell you about crocodile farming in term of making wallet, belt or shoes or even meat. I don’t fancy them, or have the need for them. But some might and this would help you understand more about appropriate farming.
Hartley Crocodile farm is home to other animals too, like the Cassowary – third largest bird in the world, koalas, snakes, and even Kangaroos and Wallabies. With the Kangaroos and Wallabies would let you pat them. Check them out, it would worth your time.
Yep, What you don’t want to miss out is the Sky Rail. Personally my opinion is that the Sky Rail trip is better when it’s a sunny day. Rainy days are okay but it won’t be as good. There is also diamond option, Diamond View is a bit more expensive but you’ll get to sit on a glass floor where as normal view won’t have. Being on the rail, seeing thing from above let your self indulge in the height. There are three stops; the first stop gives you the closer look at Australian rain forest. To know more about the native trees here, it’s quite intriguing actually. The second stop let you down to the look out at Barron Falls. Too bad, this is the dry season when I’m here but when it’s the wet season, the water is magnificent. It’s powerful, it just what you would look at and say ‘WOW’. But on it’s own with out a lot of water flowing through the waterfall is still very impressive.
The last very stop is Kuranda. It will lead you to Kuranda Village – the town. I suggest you spend your time walking around here because it a small little town but it has so much to offer. Little shops at every different corner, they even got quite a few markets, from the village market to the heritage market, and if you turn from the Fossil Museum there another market down there and they are quite nice if you ask me.
Or that this is where the Koala’s Garden, Bird World and Butterfly Sanctuary are located. I can’t remember how much it was for each but for all three is around $50 AUD.
As I have written above about a fossil museum, they are about dinosaurs, or meteorites and fossils. It’s free too, it’s quite small but interesting nonetheless.
There many other things to see and go to in Cairns, there is a Weapon Museum (if I got the name right) and other activities like white water rafting, tropical tour, or even tour guide with the Australian Indigenous as your guide. Or you can just lie around at the park, getting some tan, chilling enjoying in the free activities in Cairns.
Over and all if you get a chance, don’t forget to check out Cairn when you found yourself traveling through Australia :).