Cairns

Gateway to stunning northern Queensland, Cairns itself is a pretty uninspiring grid of hotels and hostels in which you’re more likely to be served by someone from Ireland than Australia. It’s one of those places that exist primarily for tourists, but it does have some things of interest if you have a few hours in town.

Cairns doesn’t have a beach downtown, just endless mud flats, but they have done a nice job with the Esplanade, complete with a man made lagoon, similar to Brisbane.

Further north along the esplanade sand starts to appear, along with a war memorial and couple of guns. Cairns was a major military base during WW2.

Cairns Museum was surprisingly good, one of the best regional museums I’ve visited, housed in the smart School of Art building.

Cairns Regional Gallery was another beautiful building, though there aren’t many in Cairns, legacy of too many cyclones and development.

Cairns Library is housed in the old city council chambers, next to bat filled trees.

I’d read good things about St Monica’s Cathedral but it was closed both times I visited unfortunately. Though to be honest I was more interested in the Art Deco school building next door.

Had my first sightings of some of the amazing trees to be found in northern Queensland, more to come.

Underneath the trees were some snazzy tile covered benches, Australian style Gaudi.

Cairns is the base for visiting the Great Barrier Reef, though I didn’t even get my feet wet on this trip. The closest I got was walking along by the Reef Fleet Marina.

My hostel was a classic Australia backpackers, reminding me of similar places I’ve stayed in Broome and Alice Springs, with the wonderful name Travellers Oasis.

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