For some reason, Cairns was a surprise to me. I hadn’t appreciated how much of an international tourist destination it is. It’s so far north that it’s within easy reach of Asia and attracts tourists from there. It’s also the first city I’ve been in with a sizeable, visible indigenous population. There are wide open roads, it’s easy to navigate, has some beautiful traditional buildings with verandahs and canopies (as above). A good art gallery and lots of good cafes, bars and restaurants. We saw all those, but what remains with me is the easy, genuine, friendliness of everyone we met. Is it only because of the (almost) year round sunshine?
From Cairns, we took a catamaran (not as smooth when there’s a cross wind, believe me) to Green Island, a beautiful tropical island about an hour out east. I needed a walk around the island to find my land legs before we hopped onto a wee glass bottom boat to go look at the Great Barrier Reef. Camera photos just don’t do it, but it was magical, just as spectacular as you’d ever imagine it to be. The coral comes in so many shapes, each one a work of art and the fish were so close to us, some tiny and fluorescent colours, others really big and silvery. A real tick in the box in the ‘life’s aspirations’ to see.