Arriving in Cairns after spending four days in the bustling city of Sydney felt like gliding into some sort of paradise island situated within deepest, darkest Peru. As we flew closer and closer to our destination, not only could we see the incredible Great Barrier Reef out to our right (window seats are always a good shout), but directly below we could see nothing but lush, green rainforest. When we left Sydney it was cloudy and drizzling, just the same as it had for our entire stay, however as we flew north to Cairns the clouds had cleared and the sun was beating down, with a gorgeous thirty plus degree heat to go with it, which was the arrival we’d seriously been praying for.
As soon as we landed I was overcome with this bizarre feeling of excitement, and yet also regret. Why had we just spent four days in rainy Sydney when Cairns was the most gorgeous, tropical, hot area of Aus that we’d been missing out on? Despite this, we’d had the most incredible time exploring Sydney, rain or no rain, so I quickly encouraged myself to get over it and simply appreciate the fact we were now able to enjoy this part of the country with such glorious weather.
We immediately checked into the Dreamtime Travellers Rest Hostel for our upcoming three night stay. What a sweet little place! I won’t lie, it was beyond basic and even just standing in our room was quite possibly the sweatiest, most humid experience of my life, but the hostel’s atmosphere was so relaxed and both the staff and other guests were so accommodating. After unpacking I calculated that we had approximately half an hour until the sun set, so we pegged it down to the beach to watch the light disappear behind the mountains. What made this even better was the fact that we were in the company of the most stunning pelicans, which perched so delicately on the sand beside the locals and tourists. We explored the area for the next hour or so and then decided to grab a bite to eat, which ended up being a Chinese buffet in the middle of a food hall. Why? I have no idea, but it was amazing.
We spent the next two days on trips to the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef (keep your eyes peeled for those blog posts!), but on our fourth day we had until our 1am Greyhound bus to explore more of Cairns. Sadly it absolutely peed it down, which was typical as they’d not had rain for over two weeks, so admittedly we spent a lot of time sat in the outdoor, sheltered part of McDonalds with various snacks and drinks to keep us occupied. Thankfully by lunch time the rain had cleared a little so we were able to walk along the beach, and even ended up paddling in the beautiful, free entry lagoon. Oh, and we also scoffed two Peanut Butter Magnums each, because that’s what holidays are all about.
Staying awake until 1am was almost impossible, however we did our best to stay busy by attending a traditional Aussie BBQ with entertainment back at the hostel, before the midnight trek across town with our 65L backpacks began. I won’t lie, sitting in a bus shelter in the middle of the night with a herd of drunk Aussies hanging around you isn’t the most comfortable feeling in the world, but before we knew it our Greyhound bus pulled in and we were able to spend the next eight or nine hours sleeping comfortably as time ticked by.
Although our stay was short, Cairns totally captured my heart, and on arrival I had no doubt that us being us would make the absolute most of every minute we had there, and that we did!