Advantages Cheap base for the area
Disadvantages Not that much in the town itself
Before my trip people told me not to go to Cairns as it's 'dirty', 'ugly' and 'boring'. Never one to listen to comments like that, I still decided to stay there for a week, shunning Port Douglas and Palm Cover in favour of accommodation in Cairns itself, and was determined to enjoy myself, or at least experience enough to write a scathing review if need be. Happily this wasn't the case and I spent my week in Cairns wondering what it was that others didn't like.Cairns is a base for exploring the local area, and is served by a busy international airport about 15 minutes from the town centre. I flew up from Sydney with Virgin Blue, paying £40 for a one way flight with this budget airline. From there I flew, a week and a bit later, down to Brisbane, paying a similar amount for a slightly shorter flight.
The one negative feature of Cairns is its apparent lack of history: similar to lots of other places in Australia
You can't swim in the sea in Cairns because of the stingers (and the resulting lack of developed beach…it's more like a wetlands park complete with scary birds) but the council made up for this by investing in a large, free, open air ESPLANADE SWIMMING LAGOON. This is set on the seafront in the town centre, and is open all day every day, with life guards on duty at peak hours. There are several interconnecting pools, the water is warm and free from debris, and the surrounding areas offer sunbathing space, lockers, showers and a snack hut. Because the pool in my hostel was nothing to write home about I spent time here almost every day, before and after other activities, often sitting on a ledge around the pool, up to my ribs in water, readingmagazines and generally trying to stay cool.The ADVENTURE DUCK TOUR is like many other duck boats I've been on but still fun. They only run the tour with a certain minimum number of guests and the first time I booked they rang and cancelled an hour before I was due to depart, so the next day since I was spending most of my time in the vicinity anyway I asked them to call when they had a booking I could join and I would make myself available at that time. This led to me going on their mid afternoon 1 hour tour (they advertise 10 tours per day, a mix of 40 min and 60 min ones that cost $29 / $38 per adult respectively). Everyone on the trip gets a free souvenir postcard and anyone who takes the wheel to drive the boat when on water gets a special certificate and sticker too. The tour starts at the shopping centre near the reef terminal and circles round along the Esplanade, past the botanical gardens and then down into the water. There was a live commentary provided by a girl of about my age who was very good, speaking clearly and interspersing her interesting notes with duck-themed jokes for the kids on board, though from the look on her face she had done this dozens of times and was now simply going through the motions.
|Value for Money|
|Ease of getting around|
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