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"Cairns for beginners" Cairns by sirgaw

Cairns Travel Guide: 891 reviews and 2,381 photos

Underlined = tips

Cairns is very well situated for overseas visitors to experience the tropics of our vast country. Cairns is the gateway to the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree tropical wilderness and so much more. The Cairns International Airport has direct overseas flights to/from a number of major hub destinations and allows Cairns to be entry or exit point for Australia (Check Cairns Airport for more details), as well as service to most major Australian domestic airports.

If you really want information on Cairns and district, can I strongly suggest a visit to VT member tropicrd, better known as Dorrise, who will be more than happy to help you out.

We arrived late afternoon and after a quick taxi trip checked into Inn Cairns and found we had lucked in on a great accommodation provider, although the area was a bit feral at night, it was very well located only a short walk to The Esplanade where we ate twice. In the opposite direction is the Cairns Central Shopping Centre, where the Kuranda Scenic Railway is located – and that was the real reason for our visit to Cairns - that scenic railway.

We walked to the Cairns Central Shopping Centre, paid for our pre-booked rail tickets, had a snack and saw a large café style umbrella with an obvious typo – of course I had to poke fun at this on Be very careful what you eat!! and then did a bit of supermarket shopping. We dined cheap that night at the Cairns Night Market where it was cheap, cheerful and very noisy, but fun.
The following day we started the day late and then explored as much of the Cairns city area that appealed – and that included walking to the nearby Marlin Wharf where there are some very expensive looking boats. The Esplanade and the man made lagoon are well-worth visiting. It seems there is no safe swimming beach (marine stingers are a problem – see Be VERY careful when swimming) at Cairns, so The Lagoon with its fish sculptures is where locals and visitors flock for a cooling swim. We found a great place for anything that WAS alive at Oceana Walk Leather. That night again we headed down to The Esplanade and found Spicy Bite for great food at reasonable prices.

The next day was fully taken up with the famous Kuranda Scenic Railway. We enjoyed the train and Bird World at Kuranda, but found the town too touristy and the locals quite surly, Seems the town runs on almost a tidal pattern and all traders are aware when the next train is due in and the expected ebb and flow of tourists through the town’s main street.

We returned to the beautiful station and surrounds, boarded the train and noticed features that we’d missed on the upward journey.

From the little we saw of it, Cairns is a pleasant city and I’d like to return one day and explore other areas.

About the photos:
1. Expensive boats and hotel area as seen from The Marlin Wharf, where the big boys go fishing.
2. Fish sculptures at The Lagoon, a safe man-made beach and pool.
3. This is a Strangler Fig tree and I really don’t want one at my place thank you.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great place to start the tropics trip
  • Cons:Too hot and humid in Summer
  • In a nutshell:A great gateway to the tropics of Australia
  • Last visit to Cairns: Sep 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (9)

Comments (2)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Oct 8, 2011 at 11:23 PM

    G'day, mate! Thanks for sharing your experiences, David! ~

  • tropicrd's Profile Photo
    Sep 20, 2011 at 2:18 AM

    David it is a strangler fig tree and quite common up in the North. That blue macaw is a guest from South America and has been at Birdworld for years,he has blended in well with the aussie parrots but weare a friendly bunch.Sounds like you and your wife had a great time. Cheers Dorrise


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