….and just like that I’m back from my 4 night visit to Cairns in Far North Queensland! The main purpose of the visit of course was to visit my daughter (let’s call her Miss M) who is now living and working there. Secondary, was to see a few sights around the place as it’s been so long since both Mum and I have been up in those parts. Miss M had two days off work thankfully and so was able to drive us around a bit!
Apart from a couple of visits to Hamilton Island over the last 25 or so years (once we took the kids and had a family holiday there, another time we attended the wedding of a nephew there) it has been around 28 years since I have visited Far North Queensland. The last time being a road trip taken in 1991 (before kids) where we drove as far as Daintree and stopped at numerous places along the way. We did stop in at Cairns but I have no memories of Cairns except making a phone call to my parents from a public phone box (yes it was back in the dark ages before mobile phones) so I think it must have been a brief visit!
This post is a quick wrap up of the trip – it’s reasonably short on words but long on iPhone photo’s and there’s a handful of short video’s, so I hope your scrolling fingers are warmed up and ready!
Where we stayed
We stayed at Riley, a Crystalbrook Resort at the recommendation of my daughter. There was a 30% discount offer which made the 4 night stay more affordable for myself and Mum. We had a ‘Sea View’ room with a beautiful view out across the stunning pool area to the Coral Sea. The room was clean and very modernly appointed. The twin beds were comfy (first time I’ve slept in a single for a long time). The bathroom was gorgeous and I loved the shower. It took us a while to work out all the switches, bells & whistles, and so forth but we got there in the end. There was an iPad that provided all the information we needed and where you could request services and make bookings. Very clever! There were a few things though that we found a bit disappointing for a 5 star hotel, mostly that the room was a bit pokey and did not have a comfortable sitting area, but I won’t dwell on the negatives!
So we arrived on Wednesday, settled into our room, and then went and had some lunch at Greenfields followed by a bit of a walk along the esplanade. My daughter came and met up with us after she finished work and we went to dinner at Paper Crane.
I went for a walk most mornings along the esplanade, and snapped a few photos now and then. One morning I had brekky at Muddy’s Cafe.
The next day we were collected from our hotel at 8:35am and off we went on our Kuranda Scenic Railway Gold Class and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway day trip. The bus delivered us to Freshwater Railway Station where the train would be departing.
We were given gorgeous refreshing ‘mocktails’ on arrival and sipped on those until the train arrived and we were due for departure. The train itself is gorgeous and gold class was well worth any extra $$’s. Our attendant for the day was a man named ‘Luke’ who was always smiling, and so attentive and friendly. We were served food and beverages during the train trip. On the way up to Kuranda sights included Stoney Creek Falls, Barron Gorge and Barron Falls.
Once we arrived at Kuranda Railway Station, thankfully there was a free shuttle that we caught to town, otherwise it’s apparently a 15 minute walk (I think it would take longer than that!). Kuranda markets I must say I found quite disappointing. There was a lot of trashy touristy stuff and not as much hand made crafts like I had been expecting. There was some aboriginal art but that was priced well beyond my budget. I would have liked to have gone into the Butterfly House but if we wanted to explore the town of Kuranda and markets there really wasn’t enough time as we had to be back at the bus stop at 1:15pm to catch the shuttle back in time to board the Skyrail by 1:40pm.
The skyrail was lovely. We had one to ourselves and it was lovely to be above the rainforest. I thought it was a bit of a missed opportunity though that there was no commentary (even something recorded) as it would have been nice to know where we were, what we were going over, what kind of trees were beneath us, things like that. It was still enjoyable though.
Once we arrived at Skyway Rainforest Cableway HQ in Smithfield we had a look around the gift shop, sipped on a coffee, and then boarded the bus at 3:15pm which took us back to our hotel.
Brunch at Noa
On Friday Miss M took us to brunch at Noa, one of her favourite haunts at East Hill, a suburb of Cairns.
After brunch we went and checked out her lovely shared apartment on the Esplanade before heading off to Port Douglas.
The drive to Port Douglas is a pretty one! You pass through some lovely rainforest terrain and there’s some gorgeous beaches to your right, and the colour of the water is divine! One thing I noticed though is how very dry the roadsides were, a reminder of the drought conditions being experienced along the east coast, and of course all the dreadful subsequent bush fires!
I have been to Port Douglas once before I think and that would have been back in around 1991. I had a vision in my mind of a vast timber decked area with fancy cafes and shops but I never saw this vision I had in my mind. I’m not sure if it’s an accurate vision or a confused one but regardless, Port Douglas was much bigger and busier than I had been expecting! We saw the resort where one of my sisters used to work about 28 years ago – Club Tropical, and we saw the lovely little heritage listed St Mary’s Church by the sea, and took photo’s to send her. There was a wedding taking place at the church so we stood by for a little while and watched as the groom and his groomsmen arrived in a Kombi van.
We had a nice walk around the shops and stopped for a lovely cool refreshing drink.
On Saturday we went for a drive to Palm Cove. It’s such a pretty spot and goes for quite a distance! To appreciate it fully I think you’d need to be staying there or nearby and have your bathers and towel and relax on the beach or under the palm trees by the beach with a good book. We weren’t equipped for that so had a stroll around a few shops, snapped a few piccies, and had lunch at one of the cafes along the beachfront. This was the first time I’d ever been to Palm Cove!
Before we knew it, it was Sunday and time to fly home. It was a lovely getaway. If I visit my daughter in Cairns again, next time I might ditch the touristy approach (though I enjoyed it and needed to do it because it’s been so long since I’ve been up that way) and will relax into more of a holiday mode – lying on beaches, under palm trees, by pools etc and reading lots of books!
Have you been to Cairns, Kuranda, Port Douglas, or Palm Cove before?
Ciao for now,