Monday, 28 October 2013

TRAVEL: Cairns

TRAVEL POST: Cairns.... I'm in love!

We (myself, Eleanor and  Debbie - two girls I met working in Mission Beach) hopped on a Greyhound up to Cairns and didn't look back.
Everything was perfect: the weather, the other people (so many backpackers!), cheap accommodation, free alcohol and plenty to see and do to keep us occupied! I ended up staying in Cairns longer than I planned, the girls left me after a couple of days and I stayed on. We met up again in Townsville (more on that later).

Above: Image from Google. Cairns is stunning, the lagoon is certainly a focal-point.

Read more, click below!
We arrived in Cairns and headed off to find the backpackers we had booked into, purely because we found a voucher in our hostel to get a dorm room cheaper. Caravella's Backpacker hostel is not far from the center of Cairn's activity but it feels a lot further when you are carrying a backpack!
Caravella Backpackers was only about a 10min walk to the lagoon, so we headed straight there!

Cairns is a lovely town, it is small yet big, if you know what I mean? The main streets cover a small area but it feels like a bigger place because it is such a popular tourist/backpacker spot and it really has feel to it - like something is always happening.
The weather was beautiful when I was there, everything just seemed to glow :)

Cairns Esplanade Lagoon:
The lagoon is so beautiful! I love the Brisbane and Airlie Beach ones too but the Cairns one just had a really special atmosphere... maybe it was all the backpackers, maybe it was the heat... But I loved the Cairns lagoon the best of all Australia's man-made lagoons.
It looks out into the bay/harbour/ocean (not sure what to call it) but unfortunately there isn't really a beach at Cairns, it is more like a mud-flat, which I guess is why they built the lagoon. The views surrounding the lagoon are great - you can look out to the water, palm trees, city center or the mountains behind the city.
The lagoon is always a popular spot with locals and tourists alike, there are toilets and shops located close by as well as BBQ facilities.

Above: various photos I took of the lagoon, plus one of myself with Deb + Ellie!

The Woolshed:
You know it had to be done. The Woolshed is infamous as one of Cairn's top backpacker hang-outs, even my dad has been!
The hostel gave us each a voucher to get a free meal at the Woolshed, as long as we bought a drink. Well, dinner and a drink for $2.50 we couldn't say no, could we?! Off we went to the Woolshed- there was a huge queue of fellow backpackers, all clutching familiar looking vouchers.
And do you know what, the food was actually pretty good! The portion was very generous and the pasta I got was really yummy.
As we were eating the DJ announced that Ladies Night would be starting shortly... free champagne for all ladies! So of course, we stayed. We drank so much champagne, I drank some glasses that my friend didn't want as well as my own so I can't remember a whole lot but we did dance on top of the tables and I did fall over on the walk home... oops!
I'm just sad that I never made it to Gilligans.. oh well, maybe next time ;)
Above: me and the girls up on the tables at Woolshed!

Cairns - general:
As well as the lagoon, and the Great Barrier Reef obvz, Cairns has plenty going for it!
I really enjoyed the museum, art gallery, walking around looking at the old buildings and the esplanade boardwalk!
Above: me at the esplanade boardwalk 

Above: I love that in Australia there are always war memorials in the towns, this one touched me in particular. The Union Jack that you can see at the base of the monument was made in dedication to the British soldier who had recently been murdered in the streets of London by a terrorist. 
Above: Cairns gallery. Unlike the Rockhampton gallery you did have to pay but it was worth it - the building is a welcome escape from the heat and the exhibitions when I went were varied and interesting.

I took a walk around Cairns to check out the architecture (I love old buildings!)
 Above: a shopping centre
Above: I loved this white building on the corner on the lagoon entrance

Above: beautiful buildings in Cairns CBD

I spent a lovely afternoon in the CBD museum. It is located in a beautifully maintained old Queenslander and provides a welcome escape from the heat outside! The admission price was very reasonable and the lady working there was so friendly!
The museum is quite small but covers quite a large range of topics including: farming, WW2, the history of Cairns, Aboriginals, machinery and even medicine/dentistry!
Above: the exterior of the museum
 Above: one of the displays
Above: the view from the balcony, I spent a happy half hour just watching the rest of Cairns pass me by

Cairns was so cool. There were loads of other tourists, lots of shops, places to eat, tour booking agencies, etc..
 Above: a busker on one of the main streets
Above: a film crew from (we think) China doing some kind of travel segment on Cairns.. cool!

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