Cairns, Queensland Australia. The tropical north of Queensland. We arrived here on Wednesday at 1 p.m. (the time here – which is 14 hours ahead of home). Our first taste of Australia came when our initial flight from Vancouver landed in Brisbane around 7 a.m… and while we could feel a bit more warmth in the air compared to home, it was nothing like the humid tropical breezes we felt when we got off the plane in Cairns.
Cairns is a smaller city than the other two we will be visiting (Melbourne and Sydney) and has a distinctively different feel from them as well. Cairns has a more tourist – friendly (not cheezy touristy, but just accommodating) feel to it. You see fliers all over for the various and amazing activities one can partake in – everything from skydiving, cliff climbing, caving, outback treks, rainforest tours, crocodile adventures, ocean fishing charters, excursions to the Great Barrier Reef and all of the amazing activities you can do there, helicopter tours, and the list goes on and on and on… and the people who work at the booking agencies don’t come out and try to accost you to listen to their sales pitch… a nice change from other touristy areas!
Cairns itself has a small-town, older and somewhat historical look – what one could imagine old Australia must have looked and felt like pre-1950. Sure, there are some flashy neon signed clubs and stores, some modern buildings and the like. But it seems the people here are even more laid-back than other Aussies I have met and interacted with in the other cities I have visited here.
Our hotel is across the street from the ocean. What an awesome location. There is a swimming lagoon within a 5 minute walk, numerous restaurants and pubs, and a number of clothing stores. A great spot that is very conveniently located. The students found a floating seafood restaurant that is located on a retired shrimp boat (named "The Prawn Star"!) and had their first dinner on board.
I am presently writing this at 2 a.m. (our local time). One of the benefits of jet lag when you travel in this direction is that you don’t sleep, at least not normally – great for workaholics! We will be leaving to visit the Tjapukai Aboriginal village later this morning. This promises to be a very interesting cultural experience. I will work on posting some pictures on the FaceBook page and will also post another blog post after today’s visit.
Please be forewarned that our updates on this blog and the FaceBook page may be hindered a bit. I spoke with a couple of families before we departed and I told them I would post live updates and pictures on FaceBook as I could. Unfortunately, I was thrown a huge curveball by Verizon when I learned that their daily “TravelPass” (the package that allows you to use your data when you are out of the country) will limit your usage for the day if you use too much data in a day while you are roaming. Apparently this is a new feature that took effect in April (I was here in March with a group of graduate students) and used it last year on 2 trips and never ran into a problem… I wish the customer service rep would have mentioned that when I called in to add it for this trip!