I think we’ve probably experienced every type of weather on this trip, from the cool and rainy mountainous regions of New Zealand to the warm and humid rainforest area of northern Australia. Our second-to-last stop was in Cairns (pronounced cans), which is a small tropical city located just a few kilometers from the Great Barrier Reef.
The atmosphere was just beachy with lots of young backpackers sunbathing in the city’s open park and public pool. We delighted ourselves in the same sort of laziness, but not without indulging a bit while we were there. We were sure to try some of the local beer and an ice cream cone or two from one of the city’s many gelato shops.
We had one of the best meals of the trip at a little Greek taverna called Fetta’s. Sadly, this was the only night of the trip that I didn’t feel like lugging the camera along, so I have no documentation of all the dancing, drinking, and plate smashing that took place. Needless to say, it was a pretty wonderful evening.
Thankfully I remembered to pack one lightweight, breezy dress for walking along the boardwalk. However, I did forget my hat, so I just picked this one up from one of the souvenir shops.
As for local beer, my grandfather recommended XXXX Gold, a nice light, full-flavored beer. Perfect for beach drinking.
Cairns is also full of some pretty wild street art. We spotted this giant mosaic conch shell along the boardwalk and had to snap a few.
We spent one day in Karunda, which is a small touristy type town up in the mountains. It’s full of cute souvenir shops and I was sort of tempted to buy one of these little backpacks in the shape of a kangaroo.
We also had the opportunity to check out some captive-bred koala bears and kangaroos. At first I was a little taken aback by how differently these animals interact with humans in captivity. In the wild, we weren’t allowed to get closer than 25 meters or so from the kangaroo, and even if we did they just bounced away. And the koala bears were completely still in the wild because they try their best to blend in with the trees and go unnoticed.
Not in captivity. Our guide said that most of the animals have been hand-fed and nurtured since birth, so it was slightly refreshing to know that they were used to being that close to humans. The kangaroos were hopping and lying around loose in the open wildlife area. We easily approached them and could even feed them by hand.
And I couldn’t get over the adorable koala bears. They were MUCH more active than the wild ones as they climbed around, ate, and did what looked like koala acrobatics.
We ended the day with one of those army duck rides through the rainforest and into the river. Have you ever been on an army duck? One of those giant, noisy tank looking things that can ride on the road and float on the water? We have them in Austin, and I always thought they were sort of goofy. But they are perfect for riding around in the rainforest.
See what else has been happening in Australia.