Cairns QLD

About Cairns

Cairns is unique. It is, for the tens of thousands of backpackers that flow up the eastern coast of Australia, the end of the line. It is their final destination and it has a final destination feel about it. It also has a very heavy focus on adventure activities for backpackers. But, more than anything else, it is the major tourist destination in North Queensland. An international airport; a superb Aboriginal theme park; a Skyrail with aerial gondolas which float above the tropical rainforest; charming hinterland villages with craft markets; and a rich variety of modern accommodation and eating options attract visitors all year round. But the special appeal is to catch a boat – a catamaran or a sailing vessel – and head for the Great Barrier Reef and the islands (many of which are unspoilt coral cays) that are all easily accessible from the city’s harbour.

Cairns is an aggressively modern city driven by tourism. Its fundamental raison d’etre is to attract tourists and to provide them with a wealth of ways to spend their money – from gift shops, reef visits, snorkelling, Aboriginal artefacts and culture, nightclubs and forays into the hinterland to places like Kuranda and the Atherton Tablelands, opal shops, deep-sea fishing, adventure holidays to Cape York, seafood restaurants, white-water rafting, catamarans and helicopter joyrides (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Lake Placid Caravan Park

Well, we are now back onto the east coast in the lovely city of Cairns. Staying in the Lake Placid Tourist Park located about 18kms from the CBD (maplink). Nice caravan park with great amenities and a pool.

It was also great to catch up with friends Paul & Esther (from Noosa) whom we had met on our travels in Karumba.

We really enjoyed our stay at Lake Placid Tourist Park. Great location away from the hustle bustle of Cairn but close enough to go into town.

There is also a lovely walk along the Barron River from the CP to Lake Placid, which (supposedly) has a 4 metre saltwater croc living there. At the start of the trail there’s a sign warning about crocs but it’s covered over by a palm frond – LOL.

Cairns Botanical Gardens

We spent the afternoon taking a stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens then drinks and a blueberry muffin in their great cafe.

Barron Gorge Power Station

We took a short drive from Lake Placid Caravan Park to Barron Gorge to check out the power station (maplink). It was nothing really exciting but still worth a look. The power station was commissioned in 1963 with a maximum capacity of 66 megawatts and is still operating today. It takes it’s water via a 1.6km (3m wide) tunnel from the Kuranda weir and releases it back into the Barron River.

If you’re lucky you may even get a glimpse of the Kuranda Train, as we did, traversing some of the ravines.

Crystal Cascades walk

It’s been raining for a few days now so we decided what better way to spend a rainy day than checking out the Crystal Cascades. So we packed the rain coats and umbrella and headed off to check out this location.

This is a beautiful rain forest walk with the bubbling creek running directly below the path. It is basically a series of small waterfalls flowing into large pools surrounded by large impressive granite boulders. It was a nice afternoon spent here and we totally recommend it.

New boots for the Cruiser

The car got booked in for a full set of new tyres (BF Goodrich Ko2’s) from Bob Janes in Cairns; so now we will be able to tackle Fraser Island on our way south – YAY! Merrisa also had her hair done and we stocked up on food and beverages (aka grog).

Kuranda Skyrail

We were really lucky as the Kuranda Skyrail had been closed due to the Covid19 pandemic and opened today! We managed to book a return trip on the gondolas as the train was unfortunately booked out. The normal thing to do is to travel one way by train and the other by Skyrail.

Skyrail is a unique rainforest experience travelling over and through Australia’s World Heritage listed Tropical Rainforests. The rainforest cableway spans 7.5km and as our gondola (or as I heard one guy say – the glass bubble thing) traversed the McAlister Range, through the Barron Gorge National Park, we sat in wonder of the forest canopy below.

We caught up with some other travel buddies, Paul & Shayne (from Canberra) and spent the day checking out the 2 hop-off stations and then lunch in the Kuranda Pub followed by a stroll through the town.

Summing up…

  • Accommodation Lake Placid Tourist Park is a great park with good sized sites
    • Cost per night $35.10 (@ 3-Sep-2020)
    • Facilities a bit dated (like the caravan park) but very neat & tidy
    • CP Location – about 15kms out of Cairns town centre but we liked the location (maplink)
    • Our rating/score8/10
  • Was it a nice town to visit? loved it
    • Activities & places of interest plenty to do in Cairns but our stay was not long enough
    • Tourist info centre?Cnr Esplanade & Shields St, Cairns City (website)
    • Would we return? definitely, and we would stay longer
    • Overall Score 9/10
  • Summing up we really enjoyed our stay in Cairns but may look for another caravan park; not because the one we stayed in but just for a change.

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