Cairns Journals

10 Days in Australia

A March 2005 trip to Cairns by txblue

Quote: Awesome trip to see Australia in 10 days! We actually flew from Sydney to Townsville and took a cruise from Townsville to Cairns.
Quote:
This was a nice hotel. It was odd that just to get a bucket of ice, you had to call room service. Internet access was pricey, at 55 cents a minute. Better to cross the street to the convenience store, where it was $3/hr. Nice lounge attached and a very central location just across a pedestrian bridge to Darling Harbor.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 7, 2005

Crowne Plaza Darling Harbour
150 Day Streer
Cairns, Australia
(61) 2-92611188

Quote:
Our stateroom was on the third floor next to the lounge. We were above the dining room and below the spa decks, so we were well positioned. We had a double bed with a divan for the 11-year-old. The bathroom was, as expected, small, yet very functional. There were three meals a day and afternoon tea. Drinks were available 24 hours a day at the bar. Of course, your cruise mates make the difference, but our experience was terrific. This was a training cruise, so we had extra staff on hand, and they were all very nice and helpful. They did a special dessert for me the first night at my daughter's request, as it was my birthday. This is the very best adventure we've ever done. There is nothing th...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 11, 2005

Coral Princess Cruises
P.O. Box 2093
Cairns, Australia
(61) 7 4040 9999

Holiday Inn Cairns

Hotel | "Holiday Inn"

Quote:
This is a nice place right at the edge of the main Esplanade in Carins. The hallways are open-air, so it was a bit muggy when you stepped out of the room, but the accommodations were good. They had a coin-operated laundry, so we could catch-up on some clothes from earlier in the trip. Internet access was a single PC in the lobby that was coin-operated for $2 per 20 minutes. The restaurant had a great breakfast buffet that was free for kids. The bar had a good selection to help us wind down after a long day of sightseeing. The staff was warm and friendly.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 11, 2005

Holiday Inn Cairns
121 123 THE ESPLANADE
Cairns, Australia 4870
61740506070

Jupiter's Townsville

Hotel | "Jupiter's Resort & Casino"

Quote:
Best Things Nearby:Ferry to Magnetic Island and the LONG walk to shopping district (Flinder's Mall is an outdoor shopping district)Best Things About the Resort:It was very nice, but not appropriate for a family with children under 18. The café was connected to the casino, so no children were allowed in there, which that left the pricy buffet for dinner or the hike into town. We chose to hike.Resort Experience:You get a nice view of the marina or ocean. The casino had slots, roulette, and blackjack, but no craps tables. The marina restaurant was nice but only open weekends (Sunday until 5pm), and since we checked in on Sunday, we only had the chance for a s...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 7, 2005

Jupiter's Townsville
Sir Leslie Thiess Drive
Cairns, Australia
(61) 7 4722 2333

Chinese Food Court

Restaurant

Quote:
We stumbled on this while trying to find something my 11-year-old daughter wanted, and it was fabulous! There were over 10 different vendors in this little room, down a few stairs from the main corner. We had such a hard decision on which place to try that we went back a second night to have more freshly made Chinese food for a reasonable price. On Friday nights in Chinatown, there are tons of vendors along the street, which made the walk much more interesting too!

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 7, 2005

Chinese Food Court
China Town
Cairns, Australia

Tijuana's Canteena

Restaurant | "Tijuana's"

Quote:
This had been recommended by a waitress at Jupiter's, but it was a HUGE disappointment. The beer was barely cool, the chimi’s were small round things, and the nachos had corn and broccoli at the bottom of the bowl! It was as if they put everything leftover into them! The service was pretty poor, too.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on April 11, 2005

Tijuana's Canteena
241 Flinders Street
Cairns, Australia
+61 07 4724 0611

Quote:
This is a great restaruant/pub! We had dinner here after watching the sunset over the bay. The food was plentiful and good. There was great service, although it has more of a walk-up service.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 11, 2005

Moran Horseshoe Bayau
Horseshoe Bay
Cairns, Australia

Boydy's

Restaurant

Quote:
We were so happy to find a simple restaurant for a family. We just wanted a normal burger after so many different kinds of food, and this was the place. There were games for the kids and drinks for the adults. We were so happy that we went back 2 times during our short stay in Cairns. We were disappointed when they were closed on Good Friday, but we went back on Saturday for lunch and for dinner on Easter Sunday.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 11, 2005

Boydy's
5 Aplin Street
Cairns, Australia
+61 (07) 4031 0336

Paddy's Market

Attraction

Quote:
Paddy's Market is a shopper's dream! We should have bought more gifts to bring home, but it was so early in our trip. Plan to take 3 or 4 hours to shop if you are a true shopper! Take plenty of cash, as they don't take travelers checks or credit cards, but you will find great bargains. This is especially a good place to get those silly things to bring home to friends.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 7, 2005

Paddy's Market
Darling Harbour
Cairns, Australia

Quote:
This was a wonderful afternoon cruise. We boarded at 3:30pm, so we only had time for one stop. We got great photos of the opera house from the boat but disembarked at Rose Bay. We climbed the path to see the Pacific Ocean. It was just incredible to see the waves crashing on the rocks below and the spray wash up. A terrific afternoon!

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 7, 2005

Matilda Harbor Cruise
Darling Harbour
Cairns, Australia

Harbor Side

Attraction | "HarborSide"

Quote:
This is a wonderful area in which to walk, shop, and eat/drink. The Harborside shops are very nice, and the food court is great for a light lunch. Everyone is very friendly, and you walk around the actual harbor, watching the water taxis, and other boats. This was a nice introduction to Sydney for us.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 7, 2005

Harbor Side
Darling Harbor
Cairns, Australia

Sydney Aquarium

Attraction

Quote:
One of the biggest tunnels was under renovation, so maybe that (and the fact that we'd flown in at 8am that day) made this less than expected. I'd read that it was the best aquarium in the world, and I've been to many that I thought were a bit better, including the one in Denver. It was still pretty nice, just not the best I'd expected.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 7, 2005

Sydney Aquarium
Aquarium Pier, Darling Harbour
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (2) 8251-7800

Ferry /Bus / Beach

Attraction | "Ferry/Bus/Beach"

Quote:
We went to a wonderful beach with beautiful views. We took the SunFerry from Townsville to Magnetic Island at 3:45pm. All the high-school kids were on the ferry and bus with us, and they were fun to listen to them. We took the bus from the ferry terminal to Horseshoe Bay. There were a few quaint little shops, but they close at 6pm. We swam in the ocean (in the swim zone, which is netted off from the jellies) and ate at one of the local pubs watching the sunset. It was a great photo op! We caught a bus back to the ferry, and then picked up a few items at the IGA across the street while we waited for the next boat. The boat has a licensed bar onboard also. This could have been a longer even...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 11, 2005

Ferry /Bus / Beach
Horseshoe Bay
Cairns, Australia

Shopping

Attraction

Quote:
The shops all close at 1:30pm on Sunday, so don't plan on shopping on a Sunday afternoon. We didn't know that and had walked in to shop at 1pm. This is an outdoor mall area, so you won't be able to stay cool shopping, either.

When we went back on Tuesday before the cruise, we found some nice things in the local shops. We still preferred Paddy's in Sydney for tourist gifts, though!

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 11, 2005

Shopping
Flinders Mall
Cairns, Australia

Billabong Sanctuary

Attraction

Quote:
This was the best wildlife park we've ever been to. They were very laid-back. It was a small group, and we moved together from animal to animal. Everyone got their turn to hold it and take photos. The kangaroos and ducks just followed around to get the $0.75-cent bag of feed. All were very friendly. They spent too much time on the crocodiles, but other than that, this was the absolute highlight of the entire trip for my 11-year-old. Don’t miss it. The other wildlife parks do not compare. We did two others on this trip, but this surpassed them in every possible way. We had a pick-up from the hotel first thing in the morning and stayed until 2pm. We ate there, but I’d recommend waiting and ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 11, 2005

Billabong Sanctuary
Townsville, Australia
Cairns, Australia

Quote:
There is just no way to describe how fantastic this was. We had a state room with a divan bed for our daughter. The ship is a 56-passenger cruise ship, and we only had 37 passengers on our cruise. The first day, we boarded for lunch and learned to use our snorkel equipment in the afternoon on a beach. Day 2 was the fringe reef at the private island, with a barbeque. Day 3 was spent out on the main reef, diving off the boat. On day 4, we dove off the boat again on the reef, then headed to the dock in Cairns. There is more under accommodations regarding that. They also offered intro scuba at a cost. My husband did that and loved it. There were great instructors and lectures about the fish and...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 11, 2005

Coral Princess Cruise
Townsville to Cairns, Australia
Cairns, Australia

Cairns Night Zoo at Palm Cove

Attraction | "Cairns Night Zoo"

Quote:
This was the biggest letdown of the trip. We'd planned this based on another posting on this site, and maybe our experience was not the norm. It was VERY humid and hot when we were there, and the tour group was huge. We thought there were only about 25 people from the barbeque dinner, but then a group of over 40 Japanese tourists joined, and the entire tour was told once in English and then translated to Japanese. Since we had two guides, they should have split into two groups, as it would have been more enjoyable for both. The group was too big to get a decent view of much of anything, and it was so hot that the campfire was really not fun, just hotter than we already were. The music/danc...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on April 11, 2005

Cairns Night Zoo at Palm Cove
Clifton Beach
Queensland, Australia
61 (7) 4055 3669

Quote:
We booked this entire day through Skyrail, and parts were great, but others weren't. The train was only fair. It was hot (open-air) and crowded. If you didn't have a window seat, you really didn't have a very good view. We took the Skyrail back in the afternoon, and I'd take it both ways next time.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 12, 2005

Kuranda Scenic Railway
Kuranda
Cairns, Australia

Butterly Sanctuary

Attraction

Quote:
This was a really cool experience. There is a mid-size greenhouse full of butterflies that you walk-through. We went thru two times. They land on you if you are wearing bright colors, so be sure to be bright. These were some of the most beautiful butterflies I've ever seen. The 11-year-old really loved this and wanted to go through again.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 12, 2005

Butterly Sanctuary
Kuranda
Cairns, Australia

Koala Gardens

Attraction

Quote:
We took a quick walk through park with koalas (they charge if you want a photo), and the kangaroos were hiding in the shade. The reptile house was very small.

If you really want to interact with the wildlife, go to Townsville and visit the Billabong Sanctuary.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 12, 2005

Koala Gardens
Kuranda
Cairns, Australia

Bird World

Attraction

Quote:
We only had a few minutes due to the tight schedule this day, but we should have spent more time at Bird World, not Koala Gardens. The birds were beautiful.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 12, 2005

Bird World
Kuranda
Cairns, Australia

RainForeStation Nature Park

Attraction | "Rainforestation"

Quote:
The army duck was a big disappointment. We only went in the water at this small pond and made a circle. The rainforest information was interesting. The aboriginal show was a bit on the lame side. The spear-throwing demonstration was pretty cool, as was the boomerang, and everyone had a chance to try the boomerang, which was fun.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 12, 2005

RainForeStation Nature Park
Kennedy Hwy
Kuranda, Queensland, Australia 4881
(07) 4093 9033

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Attraction | "Skyrail"

Quote:
We booked the entire day through Skyrail, including pickup and drop-off at the hotel. The service was great. The train, to start, was not the best, but the butterfly and bird parks in Kuranda were great. The Koala Gardens was a disappointment compared to other experiences on this trip, and Rainforeststation was just too much to add into the day. On the weekend, there are vendors in Kuranda, but we didn't leave enough time to shop, so I'd skip Rainforestation and shop next time. The ride back to "town" on the Skyrail was great! The view of the rain forest is spectacular, and make sure you get off at both stations and take the boardwalk to see Barron Falls and other breathtaking views. Make sur...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 12, 2005

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Cairns, Queensland