Our drive to Cairns yesterday was unrushed and pleasant although getting to the ferry across the Daintree River meant dealing with some vicious speed humps. These have been built on the road wherever people are likely to be present – near homes, beaches or visitor attractions. The worst are the ones in which rocks have been embedded to make you really slow down. They are obviously the work of a local traffic control maniac. Some are really hard to see in the pattern of bright sunlight and deep shade from the rainforest trees.
We stopped at a couple of beaches to take some more photos. They were all beautiful and we are very happy that we have been able to see them.
Our car was filthy with dust from driving up to Emmagen Creek so we found a car wash near Port Douglas and gave it a good wash and vacuum. We keep finding how helpful Google is in finding local attractions and service. Gone are the days of paper tour guides and travel maps! We detoured into Port Douglas for a sandwich at the cafe in a bookshop. We found a parking place just across the road and it was easy to get across the road. Unlike other busier cities, drivers here even slow down and stop for old pedestrians.
I find that the tropical landscapes around here, even though simple, are very interesting. Maybe I have watched movies like South Pacific too many times, but even simple views like these palm trees and mountains are very pleasant.
We reached Cairns by mid afternoon and found our hotel. Our room was not quite what I had expected and we were grateful that we could upgrade to a room with a walk-in shower rather than one over the bath. We are on the 11th floor of the Rydges hotel on the Esplanade and we have good view over the city towards the harbour. There are no real beaches here as the mangrove trees come right down to the shore and when the tide goes out the mud flats become very extensive..
We watched as HMAS Melville, a naval patrol boat set sail out through the channel this morning. At the same time, a US Coast Guard cutter arrived. The Marina is full of expensive looking boats includung an enormous 220 foot long yacht owned by Steve Jobs’ (ex Apple CEO) wife. It had sailed in from Tahiti but it’s a bit hard to see because it is moored at the very far end of the marina. We can see many ships sailing along the coast in the far distance from our balcony.
This morning, as we did a self drive tour of city sights and beaches, we came across a group pf women near the wharf looking very resplendent. They were certainly dressed ‘up to the nines’. While there are no horse races in Cairns today, this was a celebration of ‘Fashions in the Field, as would be held at any large race meeting. The Cairns Central Fashions on the Field is a showcase of racewear in the region. It appears to be a highly-anticipated and hotly contested annual event with local and interstate fashion competitors.
We spent a very enjoyable few hours at the local Aquarium. It has a wonderful display of local reptiles, fish and reef-life that are very colourfull. I’m afraifd that I don’t know the names of all of them, but these are some of my photos of the displays.