A brief overview of the place
The very pretty Cairns is located in the north of Queensland. With an array of bars and restaurants to choose from, along with being near to The Great Barrier Reef and home to Mount Whitfield Conservation Park, I don’t think anyone would be stuck for things to do here.
What I did there.
I disembarked the ship into a row of market stalls selling homemade crafts, food and souvenirs. There was also a stand giving out fresh fruit. I was handed a bowl of fresh mango, grapes, apple and a strange red spiky thing. It looked like a conker shell, only red. I split it open to reveal a transparent, white ball. It didn’t look very appetising but oh my, the flavour. I put the whole thing in my mouth and tried to bite through it but there was a stone in the middle so my teeth had quite a shock. It was Lychee fruit.
Next, I tried dragon fruit, which I was expecting great things from because it looks so beautiful, but I wasn’t the biggest fan.
I circled the market again and went back for another bowl of fruit as it was so tasty. To this day the Lychee is one of my favourite fruits and whenever I have one, it always reminds me of Cairns.
I wandered out into the heat and walked along the tarmac harbour looking out at all the little white boats floating on the crystal water, with 6 ft high grass that sat behind them. For a while I stopped and leant on the railings just taking it all in, watching the jet skis whizz past and hearing children playing in the background.
I had chosen to spend the day alone. Working on a ship, you are constantly surrounded by people so occasionally it’s nice just to have some “alone time”. Walking through the stunning tree-lined streets, I eventually came to the main strip which was buzzing with people eating and drinking. I carried on walking through the crowded streets to the lagoon which was filled with kids swimming while their parents sat on the grass eating their picnics. The lagoon is a brilliant place for families to come as it has bbq facilities, showers, toilets, changing rooms, and there are fitness classes that are held on the grass. To top it off, it’s all free.
I popped my stuff down on the grass amongst the sea of people and went for a little dip to cool off. Slowly, I eased myself into the water trying to dodge the kids until I got to what I thought was in a good spot. I lay back and floated into a daydream. With my ears underwater, I closed my eyes and zoned out. Suddenly, I was hit with a blast of water to the face and then was jumped on and pushed under water.
As I wasn’t prepared, whilst underwater I breathed in what felt like the whole pool. I resurfaced coughing and spluttering in the direction of a child who was now hysterically laughing. With water coming out of every orifice, I hobbled through the pool and as it got shallower, I crawled onto the lawn and then lay on my front for a while trying to get my breath. With every breath I took, I could feel water bubbling in my windpipe.
Really, it was a pity none of my friends had been there to see it, as I can imagine as a spectator it would have been very funny.
As I wandered back to the ship, feeling quite exhausted from my little swim, I spotted a lovely looking bar overlooking the boats so I grabbed a prime seat, ordered a large gin and tonic and watched the world go by. Whilst I didn’t do any excursions or anything overly exciting, I thoroughly enjoyed my day in Cairns, even with almost drowning.
Things to do
Diving and Snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef.
Waters rich in coral and filled with exotic marine life is why the Great Barrier Reef is so famous. From the ship, you will take a speedboat out to the reef which takes approximately 90 minutes. You will arrive at a mooring where you will be able to change into your swimwear or a wetsuit, depending on whether you want to scuba dive or snorkel. After swimming with the fishes and having your breath taken away by this stunning underwater world, you will then enjoy a tropical buffet lunch.
Cairns is surrounded by wonderful nature, as well as the Barrier Reef. It is just as beautiful on land in the rainforest. This gives you the opportunity to get a panoramic view of the city, and the coral sea as you pass through the rainforest clad mountains.
Cairns city tour
In the city, there are loads to do, so take a wander around the city and have a swim in the man-made lagoon as I did, or maybe wander around the markets or the malls.
Tips to save money
Cairns is full of excursion shops which will most definitely offer you a better price than the ship, but with that price reduction comes the risk of not being back in time for the ship’s departure.
If you are wanting to do an excursion within the city then I would say try and book it with one the local companies, but if you are wanting to go to the Great Barrier Reef or somewhere outside the city, then I would suggest definitely going with the ship to ensure you don’t get left behind.
Things to know
There are 2 places where cruise ships can dock. One is a 45 min bus away and one is right in the city. Before booking anything make sure you know which of these you will be docking at.
The favourite thing about the place
How pretty the city is with all the little boats dotted around, and the array of fruit that was on offer.
Approx 160,000 people