Posted by: travelrat | June 15, 2011

Off to Cairns

The swimming pool on the Esplanade

Cairns: 18th August 2010

It says in several guide-books that the locals pronounce Cairns ‘Cans’. However, judging by the people we spoke to, nobody seems to have told the citizens of Cairns that. Anyway, the morning found us at Brisbane airport, wondering, not for the first time, why Virgin Blue aircraft are painted red?

As someone has since pointed out, probably the same reason as Red Bull Racing cars are blue!

We arrived in Cairns about midday, after a fairly uneventful flight, and quickly found and checked into our accommodation. We’d chosen this on the Internet, and had picked the Cairns Holiday Lodge from other similar places because it offered free wifi.

Providers of accommodation, please note … this is a selling point, and often the deciding factor!

We were also able to book our tours from here … and we’d been well advised beforehand by Suzie, the manager … don’t book anything till you get here, and have seen the weather forecast. For tours, we were really spoilt for choice – reef, rainforest or just plain fun. Suzie and her husband, Mike, were really helpful in this respect; nothing was too much trouble.

If you’re ever in Cairns, I really recommend them! They’re at

Cairns itself doesn’t look like much, although a lot of the old-time atmosphere is retained in many of the old shops and houses, even though they’re now mainly souvenir shops or backpacker-oriented travel agencies. But, they didn’t offer just tours … rather, they sold ‘encounters’, ‘experiences’ or even ‘adventures’. I’ll tell you about some of these in the weeks to come.

The beach is a mud-flat, although there’s a pleasant enough walk along the Esplanade. There are, though, frequent warnings to stay off the beach, as crocodiles have often been seen on it. As they say in the beer commercial … don’t worry about the sharks; the crocodiles have eaten them all!

Lunch … very much belated … was at ‘Skippers’, on the Esplanade. It’s actually a fish and chip shop, but I had a ‘that’s what I call a burger’ burger … it was really a steak sandwich, with lots of salad.

View from our balcony; Cairns Holiday Lodge


  1. Hi Keith,
    Concerning Virgin Blue, when they first started operating, they had a competition for a name, and obviously the name Virgin Blue won, I thought this name was odd because of the red on the planes, and I still think it’s odd, I have no idea why the name was chosen though.
    I agree Cairns itself doesn’t offer much, it’s what is around it that is full of wonders, seems you choose a nice place to stay with very nice people as well, it makes a holiday all that more enjoyable if people give you good advice and lend a helping hand.

    • I suppose ‘The Australian Airline That Isn’t QANTAS’ was too long to fit on the side of the aircraft? 😀

      The one that makes me laugh is ‘Rex Airlines’ … especially when you say it aloud. What were their PR people thinking about?

  2. I lile Cairns. I used to have family who lived up there so I went there a lot during the school holidays. I would live there if it wasn’t so hot. Incidentally, I think the correct pronunciation if you are an Aussie is Cahrnnnnns. Sweet.

  3. Hi Keith,
    We also enjoyed Cairns, going up into the hills on the railway etc. The daily produce market is not bad either.
    Another important point you make here is about (free) wi-fi connection in the hotel…Actually any connection is good. We’ve traveled a lot lately where there is no connection and it drives you crazy, especially if you are trying to keep up a blog, or Facebook, or whatever.

    • Much more to come about Cairns. We didn’t see the Produce Market, but did have a wander around the Night Market.

      I took part in another scheme in Spain recently; the hotel we stayed at charged €5 an hour for wifi access; there was an Internet café 50 yards away that charged €1 an hour.

      I put one of their cards on our bulletin board; it had gone when I passed it an hour later. I wonder why? 😀

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