Usually when I travel for work I see the airports, the clinics and the hotel. However, on this trip I ended up with a spare day. I needed to be in Cairns for the Friday and Townsville for the Sunday. I could have just flown from Cairns to Townsville. However, then I probably would have worked until I went to the airport, caught a plane and worked at the other end. So I decided to drive and see part of the country.
It is a 4 hour drive and I had the whole day to complete to get to Townsville so that meant I could stop off along the way. Usually I would pre-plan everything but this time I decided not to be so pre-planned. I had a couple of ideas of places I wanted to go but thought I would also just wing it a bit. Not like me at all but hey- always good to try doing things differently. To start off my plan of taking things as they come, I decided that rather than grabbing breakfast at the hotel, I would find somewhere along the way. So off I went. I must admit, I was tempted just to pull into McDonald’s along the way but that would hardly be finding something new as I don’t think a McDonald’s I haven’t been to before really counts! So driving along I saw a sign for a bakery in Babinda near Cairns followed by a sign to a tourist attraction called the Babinda Boulders. I pushed aside my need for pre-planning and turned off the main highway into Babinda. I grabbed some breakfast at the bakery and with a quick enquiry I found out that the boulders were not far up the road and a lovely spot. So off I went to the Boulders to eat my breakfast.
It was definitely worth the detour! The Babinda Boulders was a lovely spot. It was large boulders in a water setting. Although there was a swimming hole right at the beginning the truly spectacular sights were further along a walkway where swimming is banned but the views were awesome.
I could not have asked for a nicer breakfast spot or a better start to my day. Now however, it was time for the next adventure.
Today was a busy day for work. It was one of those days where it got to mid-afternoon and I was starving as I had eaten an early breakfast and had not yet got as far as lunch. However, today I was in Cairns so I decided to find somewhere nice for lunch.
Rather than just duck into a local café I took the opportunity to pop up the road to the beautiful Palm Cove and find a place to eat with some scenery. Well, not only did the scenery not disappoint, but the burger I had was awesome. I am not always a burger person but this was one of those burgers where every element is delicious and the quality bread really just helps to hold it together rather than being an overriding element- perfect! Top that off with some great views of the beach and the ocean and it was a rather enjoyable late lunch.
By the time I finished lunch, the work day was drawing to a close but I still had some daylight left so I set about seeing what I could squish into see before it got dark!
I darted up to the Kuranda Markets to discover that they were closed for the day, but saw a sign for the nearby Barron Falls. I decided to take a chance and check them out. It was well worth doing so. Apart from providing some much needed exercise in the form of a walk through the rainforest, the falls themselves were beautiful. It would be great to spend more time there but I was on a schedule so it was a quick visit.
Following my exploration of Baron Falls, I headed home, taking a quick stop off at a look out point that was quite beautiful. Cairns and its surrounds is definitely a place I could spend more time.
I also couldn’t quite resist a quick stop off at Yorkie’s Knob. A beautiful little town with an unfortunate name. It was here that I saw something I hadn’t seen before- a first aid point on the beach with Vinegar for people to use if they happen to encounter stingers in the water. Great idea, I just hadn’t seen it before. I suspect there are not too many places in the world you would find this but Australia does have it’s unique features!
For only a couple of hours of daylight I managed to squish in a lot exploring the surrounds of Cairns and then it was back to the hotel for a quick bite- afterall lunch was so late I didn’t need much dinner. Then it was time to catch up on some work and to grab some sleep before trekking from Cairns to Townsville the next day!
So this morning I went for a run in below freezing temperatures in Canberra. However, then I needed to travel for work and luckily, I was due to go to Cairns. Whereas it was freezing in Canberra, I landed to nice, warm, tropical weather in Cairns. Perfect for defrosting. How do you get opposite seasons in one day? While some areas of Australia are known for providing multiple seasons in one day, travelling to a different part of the country is also a way this can be achieved.
It has been many years since I was in Cairns and the last time I was there it was on a Contiki tour. So while there was a lot of drinking on that trip, there was not a lot of independent exploring. While I was determined to squish in some exploring if I could around work, when I got there today there was just enough time for a quick walk before it got dark.
One thing that is apparent in Cairns is that it is quite a touristy area. Even the hotel itself is much more geared towards tourists than to the business traveller. That means, a nice pool and a swim up bar. Unfortunately, being there for work, I did not have the opportunity to indulge in the swim up bar. The other thing about Cairns is some beautiful plants and flowers. Being a fan of the colour purple, I quite liked the purple flowers near the pool.
A quick walk along the boardwalk showed that while the beach near town was maybe not the best, there were still nice views out to see and there was even a free Zumba class taking place in a local park! I loved this plant, the green with the pink was striking and I liked the way that from the front of the leaf there was a pink border to the green.
Working up an appetite I found a place where I could sit back and relax and enjoy a steak for dinner while sitting outside without a jacket on (somewhat of a novelty in August when one lives in Canberra).
Upon returning back to the hotel I did discover that the nice looking pool looked even better when it was all lit up at night. Fingers crossed I get time for some exploring tomorrow.