It was winter in Melbourne and particularly cold. I needed a warm break and only had a few days of leave from work, so I called my sister and said, ‘how about a sister’s mini break?’ She was ready to go before I even said where we were going.
It has been over twenty five years since i last visited Cairns, so looking for somewhere stress free and easy to get to, Cairns popped up as the perfect destination. I chose to stay at Holiday Inn Harbourside as it was reasonably priced and it was about 1 km out of city centre. An easy walk. We didn’t want to worry about hiring a car. And I wanted to be away from the main city drag.
It was definitely waterfront. Do yourself a favour and get a room with a view. It lifts the spirits having a beautiful sea view. And the sunsets are beautiful. This was the view from our balcony.
The food at Holiday Inn Harbourside is really quite good. The terrace bar is an open undercover space with plenty of comfy couches. There are delicious bar snacks that are substantial enough to satisfy. It is a very comfortable and relaxed space to sit and have a bite to eat and a drink, and you can look at the bay, pool or hide away in a corner, whatever suits your mood. And don’t forget to try a local craft beer. There is also a more formal restaurant, where you can either sit inside, or pool side. Personally, i liked the bar area.
Breakfast is in the poolside restaurant. The choices and quality of the brekky was good, and the chef happily made me a poached egg without the hollandaise sauce at request. My only criticism is the coffee. Not good. They need to up the quality here.
Sis enjoying a few pikelets poolside.
The grassy parkland which follows the curve of the bay is an easy flat walk. Lots of birdlife wander about at high and low tide, there really isn’t a lot of water that comes and goes with the tides. Don’t go to Cairns expecting to sit on the beach or swim in the sea! If you follow the path far enough, it will take you to the marina.
The waterfront park and walk is brilliant for all ages. There are a variety of kids playgrounds, wet and dry, sand volley ball courts, basketball courts, sculptures, gym equipment and a super dooper skate park.
Just before you hit the marina precinct, is the public pool. It is quite huge, not too deep, has a beach entry at one side for the kiddies and has plenty of grass and areas to sit. This is quite a popular space with both families and adults.
Cairns has come of age and provides a comfortable destination for people of all ages and needs. I really recommend it for a short break. There is no shortage of quality places to eat, with a terrific variety of cuisine. I recommend the Turkish restaurant Ala Turka or a quick tasty soup at Pho Street. Both were yummo.The night market is worth a visit while you are in Cairns central for a peruse of what stall holders have on offer.
The other side of Cairns, away from the city is the home of the botanical gardens, which are quite lovely. There is a terrific display of rainforest vegetation and a variety of different walks. It was very peaceful. I couldn’t stop taking photo’s of all the amazing plants. There is also an excellent playground for the kiddies.
Cairns really is mind blowingly full of incredible vegetation. Even walking through the suburban streets we saw weird, interesting and beautiful plants. My sister and the Bougainvillaea became somewhat entranced and then entangled.
We were very pleased with the noticeable lack of flies, but there was no shortage of birdlife and bugs.
Buses are plentiful in Cairns. You can get to and from the Northern Beaches easily. They come and go at regular internals for very reasonable prices and you can buy a ticket on the bus. No need to fuss about with pre-purchasing tickets. Hoping for a swim, we went to Palm Cove for a day, but unfortunatly the wind was very blowy and the water was churned up and sandy. Sad. But it was still worth a visit. And it was nice to get a barefoot walk on sand. We lay happily on the grass under palm trees for quite a while and read. Palm Cove has no shortage of places to grab a coffee or a meal. And a pier. I love piers. There’s me sitting on the pier with Froth Beer Magazine. A great publication about Craft Beer that i have a cooking page in. I like to leave Froth wherever i visit. I hope you find one on your travels!
That’s about it for Cairns. I really enjoyed my mini break and highly recommend it. It is a city break without the traffic, congestion and masses of people you expect in a city. Lovely.