So this post is going to be on the short side because didn’t actually spend a whole lot of time in the actual city of Cairns (pronounced “cans”). We left Sydney bright and early and flew to Cairns in northern Queensland. It was the last city of our trip before heading back to the U.S. The scenery around Cairns actually reminded me a lot of Hawaii—tropical, the ocean, mountains, and rainforest. The main difference between Cairn’s and where we stayed in Maui was the beach front aspect…you can’t go swimming off the beaches in Cairns. Well, technically there aren’t much for beaches in the area, but the main reason why you can’t spend anytime swimming at said “beaches” is because of wild crocs. Yep…crocodiles. There is a lagoon open to the public for swimming instead.
Even though our hotel was outside the city center, we both really enjoyed it. It was just across the street from the ocean, we had a large room with a balcony, and it had had a pretty nice pool and bar that we spent some time at. We even came back from town the first day to find that our hotel had surprised us with a bottle of champaign in our room! It was such a nice gesture of them, especially since this trip was our postponed honeymoon/1-year wedding anniversary. Because the hotel is outside the city, they offer a free shuttle into town every hour, which we took advantage of. It takes about 20-25 minutes or so to walk from the hotel into the city center, and there is a board walk along the “beach” that makes it easy to do so. They even have these exercise stations along the boardwalk.
The city itself was actually fairly touristy, and almost a little dirty. After our first day in Cairns, we only went into town one other time for dinner. The night we went to dinner, there was a group of aboriginal people that were hanging around in city center and yelling/screaming/making weird noises at anybody that walked by them. It was really strange, and it added to our semi-negative feelings towards Cairns even more. Thankfully, the next two full days we had in the area were taken up by excursions we had selected to go on—one of them snorkling on the Great Barrier Reef and the other being a rainforest day. We had drinks and one meal at our hotel’s bar, where we made friends with the bartender. I think by the end of the two weeks, our energy levels had decreased and we were okay with taking our evenings easy.
My overall opinion on Cairns: Cairns tied with Rotorua with our least favorite city we spent time in, and wish we would have been able to stay in the Port Douglas area instead. The airport is outside of Cairns, which is why we think that’s where we stayed. The Pier area just past the lagoon was a neat spot where we ate one evening. And although Cairns wasn’t our favorite city of the trip, the people there were still really nice (especially at our hotel). The warm weather was also a plus.
Where we ate/drank:
– Rattle N Hum: We stopped in for a late lunch here, and I loved my salad. This pub is right across the street from the lagoon, and even though they had an odd music playlist, we liked the place. It had a huge bar with lots of seating in and outside.
– Waterbar and Grill: This restaurant was recommended to us by the hotel’s bartender. We both ordered steaks and while it was good, it didn’t quite compare to the beef we get here in the Midwest.
– Blue Mango Cafe Wine Bar: This is one of the dining options at our hotel and where we had drinks a couple of nights. We liked the relaxed vibe and the friendly staff.