-No beach: instead there is an artificial lagoon with saltwater in front of the mudflats
-Tourist trap: there are advertisements everywhere you look and the activities are limitless for those who have the money to do so.
-Too many tourists: more Parisians than in Paris
-Free wifi in almost all parts of the city center
-Free hot showers near the lagoon though apparently only in the women’s locker room (sexism here worked in my favor)
-Free parking in designated areas
-Boardwalk: 2km circuit that runs along the mangroves
-Tanks: the city took three ex-WWII fuel-storage tanks and transformed them into art galleries, and performing arts venues
-Weather: with a high of 28 and a low of 18 degrees Celsius, Cairns always feels just right
All in all, Cairns is a city made for tourists. Even though we did not have the money to do any of the costly activities advertised to us, we still found plenty of things to do for free. Furthermore, as backpackers, our personal checklist was complete.
Free showers? Check
Free Internet? Check
Free restrooms? Check
Free parking? Check
All that was missing was free food, which we ended up finding at the supermarket. The meat section was handing out free samples and you can bet that we passed by there twice!
So,….Free food? Check
Oh yes, Cairns has it all but it can be a bit too much at times. Did you forget your camera at home? Well, when you go skydiving after having spent half the day on a boat cruise that takes you scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef, there is a GoPro you can rent in order to record all the money your spending. Oops, I mean all the fun you are having.
Too tired to go to the beach after having spent your entire day shopping, even though it is only 10 km away? Cairns made a saltwater lagoon for you! Don’t want to drive to see the real rainforest? No worries. The city of Cairns created one inside a dome which you can find on top of the Casino.
Of course, the multi-million dollar investment that the city of Cairns spent on creating this city, did not forget the security to protect it.
One night, Mathieu and I tried to drink a few beers next to the sea but as drinking in public is illegal, we tried to be sneaky about it. Apparently, we were not sneaky enough for even though we hid the alcohol from the security guard when he passed us, he immediately turned around and told us that a camera saw us. But, where were the cameras?! In the palm trees?
We were never able to figure out where the cameras were but after three days we realized that Cairns was not the place for us.
Instead, we decided to go to another beach but we took a wrong turn and ended up in the rainforest…. Until next time!