School Holiday in Cairns
Landing late at night we found the hotel we booked several weeks ago had us in a small room with two single beds rather than the suite with kitchenette we originally booked. With no other rooms available we spent an uncomfortable night and headed off in the morning to find another place. We did end up at a hotel with lovely staff that treated us exceptionally well and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Queen’s Court Hotel. We chose not to rent a vehicle and spent our days walking around Cairns through the business district with its many shops and restaurants, and along the beautifully groomed esplanade. There are great trails for walking, fitness stops outdoors with beautiful views, an enormous play area and splash pad, and a swimming lagoon at the end. Be forewarned though… Cairns itself has no beaches, much to our disappointment. The lagoon referred to on most websites is a manmade pool beside the coast – beautiful nonetheless, and a great spot, just not a sandy beach. I mentioned elsewhere the availability of barbecues throughout Australia. Most hotel / motels / resorts / RV parks, etc. have a free barbecue for guests. Because dining out is so expensive we more often than not stop by a grocery and butcher to get supper fixings. The Queen’s Court facility saw a few great meals (if I do say so myself!) over the course of the week. Most barbecues here have a flat plate which is perfect for frying vegetables or eggs, and frying items in a sauce. The hotel also had a great outdoor living space with a sun shelter and protection from the wind, a dining space, furniture for lounging. Because other guests use the facility too, it’s a fun space to meet people and occasionally share food. We loved the plants – so many different shapes and colours even with the winter temperatures which plunged to the mid-teens overnight. At one of our stops, Carlen and I wanted a bowl of soup and the folks behind the counter said that choices were pretty limited at the moment because a hot meal was in high demand during these cold winter days. Made us smile because it was about +23c at the time. We do recognize that comfort is relative to our experience! One early morning we were exploring downtown and heard a tremendous racket from what sounded like hundreds of birds. As we got closer to the source we were a bit horrified to find the trees around us filled with enormous red headed furry bats! (Some research revealed that they were flying foxes.) We saw hundreds and hundreds of them dangling in enormous bunches in dozens of trees. It was a little creepy, but interesting for sure. We treated ourselves to a couple of lunches out filling up on sushi, Indian food, and a great meal at a posh seafood restaurant. We also had brunch at a Balinese restaurant which amounted to a McMuffin type thing for Carlen, eggs benedict for Alicia, and a spicy greek pizza for me. Both Alicia and I have adjusted to Australian coffee and appreciate the rich flavour and aroma of fresh ground espresso. The Casino in Cairns was lots of fun though not for gambling. The upper floor has a great play space and zoo where we spent the day. Carlen took on the climbing challenges a few times, had a chance to get up close with some reptiles and lizards, and held a koala. Great experiences and a very fun day.