Tropical North Queensland – Cairns

Last week I made a very last minute, very quick trip to tropical North Queensland for my day job. I booked 2 days before I left and I spent only 2 days in Cairns which I had not set foot in for over 20 years.

First thing I noticed was it the perfectly balmy 28 degrees (love autumn in the tropics) and the new airport. Actually the taxi driver said it had just been completed.

After checking in at The Sebel in the centre of Cairns, I headed straight to Cairns Esplanade and the newer Cairns Promenade where they have built a lagoon overlooking Trinity Inlet, safe for the public to swim in, rather than the Coral Sea where you contend with jelly fish and other nasty sea creatures. The lagoon is beautiful and patrolled by lifeguards, offers deep and very shallow areas all with a stunning ocean backdrop.

Walking around the Esplanade the 800m walkway leads you to the Cairns Yacht Club, Cairns Marlin Marina and The Pier which has many fine dining restaurants  and shops overlooking designer yachts and catamarans. This was definitely not here on my last visit. Further along the Esplanade is the Cruise Liner Terminal and Trinity Wharf.

Sadly locals told me tourist numbers were well down and you could see the affects of this, especially with the shops in the main streets of Cairns central. One store after another stands empty. Obviously the numerous cyclones, the flooding suffered in parts of Queensland last year, the high Australian dollar and world economic woes have affected tourist numbers.

Feeling I needed to do my bit for the economy but with only a carry on bag for my return flight I decided to do lots of eating and coffee drinking, and visit as many restaurants and cafe’s as possible in 2 days. I did buy earrings and a pendant by Hot Toffee at the shop in the Regional Gallery, which I highly recommend visiting along with Perrotta’s the outdoor terrace restaurant alongside the gallery.

The benefit of not many tourists for me was that I didn’t have to worry about booking a restaurant for dinner. I just wandered out at 7.30pm and took my pick of restaurants at The Pier. I ended up at Pesci’s and had a divine main of Mahi Mahi. Nothing like seafood caught just hours before!

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