Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Week In Cairns

Last week, Drew and I jetted off to Cairns for a much needed vacation...and to escape the cold winter that has descended upon Canberra. As Drew pointed out, it's not that cold in Canberra compared to where we grew up in Virginia; however, my instincts think it should be summer, so it feels like the coldest winter I've ever lived through.

Cairns is on the northeast coast of Australia and has a tropical climate year round, making it a great place to visit during the Australian winter. If you want to sound like a true Australian, you must pronounce it Caahns, with a long drawn out 'a' and no 'r.'
Click on photo for larger image

We chose Cairns as our holiday destination partly because it is the only place in the world where two World Heritage locations meet—the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.

As we drove around the area, I felt like we had entered another country. Palm trees grew everywhere and what I thought were odd looking corn stalks were actually sugarcane crops.
Australia is one of the top ten producers of sugarcane. We were told that when the fluff of the lilac colored tops blows off, then it's ready to harvest. The other primary crop around Cairns is bananas.
It took us awhile to realize that these plants were bananas because the plastic bags covered up the bunches of fruit. The plastic bags help to protect the bananas from insects and sunburn. According to one local that we asked, the banana farms employ laborers to drive around in a small cherry picker and affix the plastic bags over the bunches of bananas. A good laborer can bag up to 500 bunches a day.

The other interesting thing that we saw in the city of Cairns were giant fruit bats. Known as flying fox bats, they belong to the megabat suborder and are the largest bats in the world. I learned two new words when researching this post—frugivorous (animals that eat fruits) and nectarivorous (animals that lick nectar). Megabats are both frugivorous and nectarivorous.
The best photo I could get - all the red circles are bats. The large inset photo is from

The other wonderful thing about Cairns were the beaches to the north. We spent a few days at various beaches near Cairns and found that, with just a 15 minute drive away from the city, we could easily have an entire beach to ourselves.

We also found one of the most beautiful drives near Cairn. Captain Cook Highway runs between Cairns in the south and Port Douglas in the north. It's a lovely winding road that drives past gorgeous beaches and through lush rainforests. Though we didn't see any, I imagine it's a motorcyclist's heaven.

Up next...
More adventures from Cairns: Cassowaries and crocodiles, and reefs and rainforest.  :-)


  1. Oh my goodness, you're always seeing the most crazy beautiful things. Amazing! Hope you're not too cold!

  2. I have been thinking so much about you two on this vacation. The world, Mandy. It's all yours.

  3. Wow, everything looks so beautiful! And now I want a banana...

  4. Glad you had a good trip. Looks beautiful.


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