Reflections on Cairns

May 21-24, 2016

Cairns will always be considered a casualty of bad timing.  We landed and it immediately started raining.  As we took off towards Ayers Rock three days later, the rain stopped and the skies cleared.  

It was a bit of a crappy situation.

But what could we do??  We traveled thousands of miles to get to this place.  We couldn't just wallow in the room, feeling sorry for ourselves.  

So we didn't.

The first two days were set with the tours.  The third (and final) day was the one where we were finally able to explore on our own.

Our first stop was breakfast at Perrotta's at the Gallery.  Much to everyone's disappointment, we didn't have breakfast as a part of our room cost.  And breakfast at our hotel was seriously expensive (side note, everything is seriously expensive when dealing with four people).  I had scoped out this place before leaving home and when I asked the concierge for breakfast recommendations, their first mention was this place.  Perfect.

We sat outside under an awning, so when the rain started again, we were fine.  It was the first real breakfast we'd had in Australia and it didn't disappoint.  Everyone was happy and we left feeling satisfied.

Instead of walking back to the room, Mom, Elias and I walked up the Esplanade.  It's a nice strip of walkway that runs parallel to the water.  Apparently, it's something that was really cleaned up about 10 years ago.  And it was really nice.  The walk was easy and it gave us a chance to really see the city.  Something we hadn't entirely done while we were there.

Near our hotel was a public pool.  And man, if the weather was a little more cooperative, it would have been fun to go there to swim.  But as it stood, the only people who could stand the cold and weather were the kids.  Because of course they can stand it.  This park was great.  Just great.

Mom was not super interested in shopping and lounging about, so we grabbed a cab and went to the Cairns Botanical Gardens.  This area is one you could spend all day exploring.  And even then, I don't think you'd see it all.

We saw two sections.  One was the rainforest.  The other was more of a flower area.  Now, I love me some close up pictures of flowers.  So I was happy as a clam.  Even better, the gardens were free.  So the only price we paid was for a taxi to get there.  Now there was a bus we could have ridden to save a few dollars, but I don't do well with busses.  So taxi it was.

But man, we were all pretty tired by this point.  We'd been going non stop for days.  It was an unspoken idea that we all just took some time to relax.  I stopped by the pool (even though it was too cold for actual horseplay) and took some time to write and be alone.  

At a certain point though, we all realized that food needed to happen.  We wandered for a few and found some grub (nothing to write home about), then made our way to Woolworths for some items we needed to complete our journey.  This was where we made our real discovery...

Woolworths was awesome!!

We'd been struggling with food options for days now.  Each meal was running $60+ for the four of us and it was not great food.  So we grabbed a few odds and ends for a later nosh.  Things like donuts for Wednesday's flight.

Now that being said, the food here was not pure garbage.  I mean, just the other day, I dragged Mom and Elias to their first Ramen experience.  We went to Ganbarraba, the Noodle Colosseum.  It was legit good.  And both Ramen Virgins enjoyed their experience.  Now I don't think I'll be taking them to Ramen Fest this year, but we can make a repeat performance happen in Chicago.  

Cairns is more of a backpacker/hostel kind of city.  Nothing wrong with that, but it's not entirely my scene.  It's also not really the scene for my parents.  I haven't gotten a full read from them on how they liked Cairns, but while we all enjoyed our time there, my guess is it'll be on the bottom once we rank the list of places we went on this trip. Sorry, Cairns!!


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