After a blissful night’s sleep, we had breakfast and enjoyed the beautiful view. Jan (she is the lady of the house, a bit confusing because in Belgium it’s a male name) and John (also not really a Chinese name, despite his Chinese heritage) provide a breakfast basket every day containing bread, jam, honey, butter, yogurt, muesli, and fruit.
We’re pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but Jan told us about a shortcut to the bus stop. This shortcut is a dried-up creek (which means a small river here). We suspect it has been dry for years because grass and dozens of trees have grown. It’s wonderful and peaceful for walking. You better not come here at night, though, as there is no lighting, and we heard from the locals that this neighborhood is a bit like “The Bronx.” I was a bit suspicious hearing all the barking dogs, and Ely thought he might encounter a snake. Luckily, we were both safe :D.
We took the bus to the city center to explore the area and shop at Woolies (this is Australian slang for Woolworths). During our bus ride, we realized everything here has an American vibe, despite Australia’s historical connection to England. We felt like we were in “Beverly Hills 90210” with all those huge villas.
Arriving in the city center, we walked under trees filled with bats. Apparently, Cairns is known for this. They’re trying to eradicate this nuisance because they think these creatures make too much noise and poop all over the streets. We found them fascinating to admire!
Our stomachs were protesting again, so we looked for a place to have lunch. We found a cozy place called “Courtyard.” It reminded us of Jonas and our last enjoyable lunch with the Briand family at “Backyard” in Antwerp. Ely went to order food at the bar and quickly conversed with the friendly bartender. He gave us tips for outings.
In Australia, it’s customary to place your order at the bar. Opening a restaurant with table service could be a good business opportunity here. (Eveline and Jonas, that’s not a bad idea 😉 )
We walked along the promenade towards the sea but only saw a muddy beach and no waves. They can thank the many marshy areas in this vicinity for the muddy beach and the lack of tides. However, we did come across a lagoon (read: the local outdoor swimming pool with a truckload of white sand added). Walking around here made us feel more like we were on vacation on the Spanish Costa than ‘Down Under.’ It’s fantastic that you must travel for 34 hours and cover 17,000 kilometers to get here.
We decided to visit the travel agencies because the Great Barrier Reef is at the top of our bucket list. At the first stop, we were delayed for over an hour. A busy Englishman kept rambling on. I had long lost interest, but fortunately, Ely became more assertive and eventually waved him off. Ely is good at negotiating, and I happily take advantage of that.
Hopefully, travel agency number 2 brings better luck. Honestly, we weren’t in the mood for more sales pitches, but we have to endure it, right?! We booked a trip to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree National Park, where Ely’s negotiating skills guaranteed a nice discount.
We were really ready to leave Cairns City and just wanted to chill by the pool, but a stop at Woolworths was still essential. When we arrived back at the Airbnb, it was already dark. We made an omelet and planned our further travels.
We had already booked our hop-on/hop-off tickets but had nothing else planned. An hour later, we had booked our first train to Magnetic Island, and our hostel was right in the middle of a koala reserve. Promising indeed!
Tired but satisfied, we crawled into bed. Ready for our trip to the Great Barrier Reef?
X Inez & Ely