After a pretty much sleepless night on an Easyjet style flight with Jetstar, we landed in Cairns at about 6:00. We could immediately tell we were in the tropical north as the temperature was already in the 20’s and it was HUMID – a far cry from the previous day’s rain and wind!
We picked up the rental car – a Mitsubishi Lancer with a tail fin thing and quite low suspension, along with lots of scratches, so definitely well used already! We found the Cairns Plaza Hotel easily enough but obviously they didn’t have our room ready, though said we could leave the car there, which was very handy. This is probably the first place in Australia where we didn’t get service with a smile; in fact both the people we dealt with on the reception counter were a lot less than friendly! As we had the whole day until 14:00 check-in to kill we decided to go on a boat trip to Green Island and made our way down to the pier, along with hundreds (that’s what it felt like anyway!) of other people.
The boat was fine and though I was worried that I may get seasick, the sea was like a mirror and before we knew it the 45min to the island was over and we could get out and stroll about. We were booked on the first glass bottomed boat tour – snorkelling was out as I am totally clueless and helpless in the water. We saw quite a lot of fish and three turtles, as well as HUGE Giant Clams, as well as coral of course. From there we just walked around the island for a bit and enjoyed the views – the amazing blues and greens of the mountains and sea, and white sands – it sure was a completely different world we found ourselves in and I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere that tropical, with palm trees and rainforest everywhere, as well as the amazing views!
The boat left again at noon and we made sure we were on it as we were starting to wilt a bit in the heat! We took a slow walk back to the hotel, picking up some water and food on the way before checking in and finding that their WiFi wasn’t working!! We’ve been having very bad luck with WiFi in places, especially considering one of my main criteria for booking a hotel is the reviews they get on the quality of their WiFi! We still spent some time sorting out or suitcases, downloading and going through pictures and having a nap before getting ready to head out again. Our room was good at least, with a balcony with partial sea views and it was nice enough to sit out there.
For the evening we took a stroll around town and had a drink at The Crown Hotel and Pub and PJ O’Briens before settling in for dinner at Villa Romana, which was very disappointing as we were both looking forward to some good pizza – but they were both utterly tasteless! We finished up the night at Rattle & Hum where one of the AFL preliminary finals was showing, and watched as the streets got busier and busier with backpackers pub crawling or still booking trips as the booking agencies were all still operating. I reckon a lot of drunken bookings on things like skydiving are made every evening! Cairns is another very busy, touristy town but not as mad as I expected, with lots of families with kids around, as well as backpackers, but I assume it probably gets a lot busier later on in the season.