Throughout the coming year, I will be posting articles that I wrote as I was traveling around Australia in order to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of that trip. Here is the latest installment:
Stuff to write home about Volume 2 Issue 1 – Cairns
I have left the chilly autumn weather of Melbourne for the tropical paradise of North Queensland, called Cairns. Cairns is a backpackers delight. In fact, I found that backpackers are everywhere…crawling the streets looking for jobs in the bars, restaurants and hotels, or looking for cheap meals and drinks. I admittedly am not a true backpacker. I travel with a suitcase on wheels, but I am frugal like a backpacker ought to be. As far as culture shock goes, I have had my first taste of it, however mild. One might not expect there to be much difference in going from Canada to Australia, but there is quite a difference between Melbourne and Cairns. Aussies will even admit to this. The population of Cairns is reportedly over 100,000, but the evening I arrived, I was wondering where everyone was. True, it was evening and it was raining a little and so nobody was at the beach/ lagoon. Cairns doesn’t have a beach that is usable, but there is a big lagoon where everyone hangs out as they would at a beach. There are beaches outside the city, but you have to drive or take a bus. Also, the hostel I stayed in had a saltwater pool….a nice pool I actually swam in too. The weather in Cairns was warm and humid during the day, but felt damp at night. I am starting to meet a lot of people from either England or Germany. There are also more Canadians here than I found in Melbourne (maybe because of the weather), including someone from Welland (anyone who knows where that is raise your hand).
As I usually do to learn about the city I’m staying in, I walked around. As I walked around, I expected to see more surf-clothing and beach-wear shops, but there weren’t that many. There is a mall with chain stores. I took a look around, but it wasn’t that exciting so I moved on. I still needed to learn to relax at this point, so I waited for the sun to come out so I could sit by the pool or lagoon, or enjoy some adventure activities. Cairns is also a great place to base yourself for participating in adventure sports. I decided what I wanted to do and then sat down with the lovely person at the hostel’s travel desk to book some tours. My first day in Cairns, it rained…not a good day for the beach, but a good day to plan my activities in Cairns. The advantage of travelling north at this time of year is that the stingers are gone…important when I do go out into the sea for some diving and snorkelling. I was excited to try a bunch of things I had never done before and see things I had never seen.
More to come….