It was a long day indeed, getting up at 1.00am and driving into Wellington Airport. With our flight to departing at 6.00am, we had a long drive to arrive at the airport by 4.00am. Our first flight of the morning, from Wellington to Brisbane, had a spot of bother. Try as they might, the ground crew couldn’t detach the air bridge from the plane. So we waited as they tried, and tried some more, and finally, after a delay of half an hour, we were good to go. Luckily the time was made up, as we had a connection to make. And we made it easily, boarding our second Virgin Air flight of the day.
Landing safely in sunny Cairns, we were really starting to get into holiday mode. And what’s this, a great big cassowary waiting in the airport terminal to get into some holiday photos. He was very popular and when he had been snapped by many other tourists, I finally got the chance to say hello. These huge birds live in the rain forests , but have been known to attack people with their lethal clawed feet, goodness me, better keep well away from a real one!
Our shuttle bus finally arrived to take us to our hotel, and this is our room, cooled down by a large ceiling fan spinning quietly around. Cairns is a tropical city, so I presume that ceiling fans are a necessity in this part of the world. We could hardly wait to take our shoes off and remove our compression socks which we had worn while flying. No carpet here, just nice cool tiles underfoot. Robin had donned his shorts as quick as a flash, much too hot to wear long trousers here. And we have the bonus of a lovely little balcony overlooking the pool.
Our room, and the pool looking down from our balcony
Cairns is a delightful place, and is teaming with tourists. Although the temperatures are very warm, there is a gentle breeze blowing which is very pleasant and cools things down a little. We have already seen some interesting sights, such as this spectacled bat nursery in the middle of the city. And there they were, just hanging about, and making quite a noise indeed. It seems there was quite a controversy about the bats and their trees and some of the large trees had been felled. But then the council reversed their decision, the remaining trees were saved and the bats protected. We had never seen anything like it! Our New Zealand bats are small and secretive.
Spectacled bat nursery in a large fig tree
Another unusual tree was found in the adjacent park, with large hanging fruit, or maybe nuts, about the size and shape of rock melons. Seems the tree is known as a Cannonball Tree, and originates from South America – never seen one of these trees before.
We went to the “World Famous in Cairns” Night Market and the place was full of people all looking for bargains, or just looking to see what was available. There was everything from clothes, souvenirs, a Food Hall, and calls of “come and have a massage” as we walked quickly by. I did buy a pair of jandals (Aussies call them thongs) which I thought would come in handy to slip on after I slip out of my sturdy sandals after a hard day’s sightseeing. Or even better, wear them when we finally get to have a dip in the hotel pool. They were very inexpensive, as most things are at the Night Markets, and came with a special message. “These sandals are one of the Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami Recovery Programs – buying them shows that you care, thank you very much”. I’m so pleased I chose these from that particular shop, every little bit helps, doesn’t it.
Helping the tsunami recovery
I didn’t bring any hand stitching to do on this trip, as I thought we would be kept too busy with sightseeing. But I did pack this bag – who can remember this?
What’s in the bag?
You may remember that last year when we embarked on the Ghan Railway trip, I brought along this bag full of little blocks I had stitched from Australian fabric. I’m using the blocks as a memory travel quilt, writing down where we had been, and places we had stayed. As I had plenty of “unwritten” blocks left, I decided to use them in this Aussie holiday too. And here is our first day’s travel recorded.
First block of this trip
So that’s what we have been up to so far. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow, 11 hours travel, and need to be outside the hotel for an early pickup at 6.30am. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, as they say, for a great day’s coach trip. More about that next time.
Remember – you are very welcome to log on to our travel blog at www.romanyrambler.com for a fuller version of our holiday travels.