Road Trip Day 10: Cardwell to Cairns

At just 94 kilometres, my journey from Cardwell to Cairns was by far the shortest leg of my trip. That was intentional though, I needed to pick up Mrs Bob and my daughter Elizabeth from Cairns airport at around 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

As you probably know if you read my post Cardwell to Cairns via Mission Beach and Etty Bay, there were a couple of things I’d wanted to do on the way. In the event, the plane was delayed a couple of hours, so I had plenty of time for my sightseeing. It wasn’t until almost 5:30 PM in the evening when all three of us arrived at our Cairns apartment.

Nice views…

cairns-apartment cairns-apartment

cairns-apartmentWith just four days for us all to explore Cairns, we really had to pick what we wanted to do carefully. Not least of which was to have a good look around the city. Which, of course, we did.

Join me for a little look-see.

Cairns Esplanade and Lagoon

It’s difficult not to be impressed with the lagoon and the Cairns Esplanade. As we all know, it’s not particularly safe to swim in the sea in Far North Queensland, but who cares when you have a beautiful lagoon like this…

cairns-esplanade cairns-esplanade cairns-esplanade cairns-esplanade cairns-esplanade cairns-esplanade cairns-esplanade

cairns-esplanadeBehind the lagoon, restaurants line the street along Cairns Esplanade.

cairns-restaurants cairns-restaurants

cairns-restaurantsCrikey, even Cairns Hospital overlooks the beach!


I wonder if you can book a room with a view? If you could, you’d be looking over this beach from a front window…


And then there’s Marlin Wharf…


marlin-wharfBehind the restaurants though, and behind Cairns Esplanade, Cairns feels far less like a holiday destination and begins to look more like an everyday city…

cairns cairns cairns cairns cairns cairns

cairnsCairns shopping

Cairns has shopping malls, here’s one of them…

cairns-shoppingThe biggest though is called Cairns Central…

cairns-shopping cairns-shopping

Which has the most northerly Myer in Australia…

cairns-shoppingWith Myer recently pulling the plug on plans to open in Darwin, I think it will remain that way for some time, if not forever. Of course, shopping isn’t compulsory as this rather inviting sign points out…


cairns-shoppingCairns versus Townsville

In my post A Stroll Around Townsville, North Queensland, I mentioned the rivalry there is between these two cities. So, I’ve now been to both; which did I prefer?

Clearly you need to take my assessment with a pinch of salt, I only spent two days in Townsville and four in Cairns, but for me Cairns has the edge. I loved the feel of this city, the buzz, even if it was a bit holiday-ish.

Strangely, Cairns felt like the larger city of the two, but isn’t. In round numbers, as at 2015, Cairns had a population of roughly 150,000 and Townsville 180,000. Cairns is much more compact though, covering just 250 odd square kilometres compared with the nearly 700 km² of Townsville.

So I think it is this that gives Cairns the appearance of being bigger than it is. It is probably also fair to say I was in Cairns during one of its busiest holiday periods; winter school holidays.

I would possibly go as far as to say that of all the towns and cities I went to on this road trip, Cairns might just be my favourite. And of course, it’s only 15,127 kilometres (that’s 9454 miles) from London…

londonWhat more could you want?

Well, maybe some lush green rainforest and the world’s largest coral reef? Kuranda and the Great Barrier Reef coming up next.

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