I've Arrived!

Cairns Travel Blog

 › entry 28 of 53 › view all entries
Gorgeous boats in the marina

I’m starting my time in Aus in Cairns.  I'll do my diving here then head down the east coast eventually arriving in Brisbane to see my friend Ange sometime before Christmas.  Cairns is the state of Queenslands most northern city and is popular among tourists for people exploring the Great Barrier Reef (which is the largest coral reef in the world).   I’ve take an overnight flight first to Darwin and then caught a connecting flight to Cairns.  It was cheap to do it this way, despite the odd hours I’m flying it will be worth it.    

I get a taxi to the airport, run into my surf instructor from Kuta at the airport (crazy!), we say a quick hello then I go off to my gate.

Pelicans off the boardwalk near the lagoon.
  I’m now waiting for my flight to Darwin.  There is a noticeable difference in the people here.  Most of them are Australian, white and speak English.  It’s weird hearing the language so clearly, seeing tourists in giant sombreros and young guys in singlets advertizing bali beers.  Augh the materialistic part of Western lifestyle is on its way back into my life.  I really am going to miss the simplicity of South East Asia, it’s beautiful people, and new distinct cultures.  I like learning about a new place, immersing myself into a language, learning about a religion, a different way of living.  I’ve been away from a traditional Western culture for 6 weeks.  I know I’m going to struggle going back to it.  For now I hold onto Bali, Malaysia and Hong Kong by putting my headphones on and writing.
The lagoon!
  I’ll let the West catch up with me, but not yet. 

I wish I could sleep on this plane ride but I can’t.  I’m too excited for one thing, what is going to happen to me in Aus?!  The world is bringing me something; lessons?  Adventure?  Perspective?  Who knows!  Maybe all of it.  Did I get it all already and Aus was just the catalyst?  I’m not sure yet.  I also can’t sleep because this plane is freezing cold and they are blaring English pop music gah I really don’t like JetStar. 

I can see the lights of Darwin out my window – saweet!  I can’t wait to get onto Aussie soil!  The plane arrives, and I now I wait for my flight to Cairns – it’s the middle of the night.

Ditto
  I’ve just bought a water, its $3.50 AUS, man I hate Western prices.  I will either starve or go broke on this leg of the trip.  Fack.

I arrive in Cairns and get a taxi to the hotel, it seems it is the best way to get downtown first thing in the morning.  I’ve decided to stay at Gilligans Backpackers Hotel & Resort, a famous hostel in downtown Cairns.  It’s a massive hostel with numerous floors and tones of people.  It has a huge bar on the ground floor and is known for its crazy parties and unruly guests!  Well I’m not on this trip to drink tea and knit sweaters.  Take me to the people I say!  I found the hostel online (Hostel World.com), read the reviews (not everyone loves the party atmosphere), but I knew this place would be right for me.

Ditto
  I check in, this place is full on!  Lots of people running around, a long line of people checking in and out, internet café in the lobby, a huge front desk.  I check in, leaving my bags in storage (you can’t check into your room until 2pm).  I’m in a dorm room with all girls.  Should be pretty good I think.  I’m exhausted but I know my priorities – I need an Aussie meat pie and a real Aussie coffee.  Aussie’s love their coffee, and we’re talking real coffee, i.e. the espresso made kind, put together by experienced coffee baristas that are like gods to people here.  Last time I was here I was introduced to real coffee, not the percolated drip kind and I haven’t look back.  Sure I’ll have a Timmies (O’Canada!), but give me a short black any day!  I sincerely have only found two places in the Burlington, Toronto area that have good coffee since I returned from my last trip to Aus.
Sun bathers at the lagoon
  One in Lowville at the Lowville Bistro (an amazing restaurant by the way!), and a small kiosk at the St. Lawrence markets in Toronto. 

But I digress!  I ask the receptionist for information on a great pie shop and she tells me of an award winning place, which I happily take my tired body to.  My word I love this country.  My meat pie is heaven.  I get the breakfast one, an egg cracked on top of a steak pie which is topped with bacon.  Hello!  I pair it with a glorious latte.  Sigh.  The rest of my time until I can check in is spent touring town.  I bought some used books at a great book shop, I walked the downtown, grabbed info on day trips (I need something to do tomorrow on my day off before I head out on the live a board on Friday.

Giligans
  I take my pamphlet’s to the lagoon.  It’s gorgeous by the way!  Cairns has a 4 megalitre lagoon built in the middle of the city.  Locals and tourists alike flock to this place to chill in the shade, swim and just enjoy the outdoors.  What a marvelous addition to the city, especially since you can’t swim in the water from October to June thanks to the stinging jelly fish that flourish there.  It’s weird to see the ocean and not be able to go in it. 

At the lagoon there are convenient lockers to store your things, I lock up my laptop, money etc, and take a rest and then a walk.  I walk along the boardwalk along the ocean, there are interesting historical signs and information boards along the way.  I learn about the settlement of Cairns, the sugarcane industry (not my kind of work!), disagreements with Aboriginals and the evolution of the city to what it is today.

Random street
  Fascinating!  I check into my room, meet my town roommates (two friends from Ireland who are working in Cairns at a local pub).  They are really nice and I can tell we’re going to get along well.  I set up my space, then go book my day trip for tomorrow.  I’ve decided to go to Cape Tribulation (which is part of the Daintree National Park), deciding on a tour company that is supposed to be quite good according to two tour agents I’ve spoken with.  I leave a 7am tomorrow morning.  Saweet!

Notes about Cape Trib (as its often called): its unique because it one of the few places where the rainforest meets the ocean.  The famous explorer Captain Cook named the area Cape Tribulation after arriving there after painstakingly navigating the treacherous waters of the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding forests.

Kangaroos for decorations - love Aussie Xmas!
  Cape Trib lies within the northern part of the State of Queensland, a sparsely populated area of the country.  Most of the north is within the Cape York Peninsula, a relatively untouched part of the world.  The landscape change dramatically here over the course of a year, from green in the summer when rivers are so swollen they flow over roads and you can’t travel here, to bare and waterless in the winter.      

I have dinner at Gilligans (it’s not much but it was free with the room).  I meet up with one of my roommates for drinks, we gossip about getting jobs in Aus, the drama of restaurant life and how to get work in Aus.  I crash and drag myself up for the tour in the am.  I am excited but man I’m TIRED.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Gorgeous boats in the marina
Gorgeous boats in the marina
Pelicans off the boardwalk near th…
Pelicans off the boardwalk near t…
The lagoon!
The lagoon!
Ditto
Ditto
Ditto
Ditto
Sun bathers at the lagoon
Sun bathers at the lagoon
Giligans
Giligans
Random street
Random street
Kangaroos for decorations - love A…
Kangaroos for decorations - love …
Cairns
photo by: Katie_Kate