It was when I saw this signpost in Cairns, northern Queensland, that I realised how far our cruise had taken us from home. We spent a relaxed day in the heat of this tropical city, alternating between spending time in air-conditioned shops, galleries and the Museum, and sitting out having a picnic under shady trees on the Esplanade, making the most of the sea breezes.
The Esplanade Beach at Cairns
For someone who has spent countless hours on New Zealand beaches while growing up, it was strange to think that the locals in Cairns can't swim in the sea at certain times of the year because of nasty stinging sea creatures. Instead, they have a man-made 'beach' on the Esplanade. This was a beautiful area with a huge natural looking swimming pool, large grassy areas shaded by trees, even imported sand to give the real 'beachy' atmosphere.
Cairns is a popular port of call on the round Australia itineraries and cruises that go between Sydney, Australia, and Asia. Many of the ship's passengers did an excursion out to the Great Barrier Reef, although rough seas made the catamaran ride unpleasant for some. We were tempted to go on a seaplane flight out over the reef - maybe next time we visit the city.