After the 14 hour flight from SFO to Sydney…we had about a 4 hour layover at the beautiful Sydney Airport then boarded Virgin Australia for the 3 hour flight north to Cairns….in tropical and beautiful Northern Australia…in the state of Queensland.

The Cairns Airport is not big and bustling for a port city that is a travel resort destination…but very clean and easy to get around. We were met at the baggage area by our transfer driver…and drove slowly into the City Center. Very tropical and quiet setting, with gorgeous trees and plants….lush growth.

We arrived at the Pacific Hotel…easy check in to our 9th floor room overlooking the park and good views of the Harbor. This is a remodeled old hotels, actually one of the first along the Esplanade, which is the big tree lined boulevard right on the water. Cairns location is key, in that the mountains come right down to the water….so as we look out at the Bay and inlet…we see the mountains. Very dramatic views. The room is very nice, clean, and well done, and large….and after a few moments decided to eat… asked the manager for a good restaurant and he said across the street at the Casino restaurant. Well, in that it is a non-smoking facility, we decided to give it a try and the restaurant was very nice and more of a cafe…..and we had a delicious sandwich dinner…..great food. Back to the hotel and a good nights sleep for both of us to get on Australia time.

We woke early…went down to a full buffet breakfast….then decided to start to see the city….walking. The main shopping streets are Abbott and Shields, which leads to the Cairns Mall. Many shops along the way and the street itself is all pedestrian with huge trees..much like the feel of Hawaii or even Cancun…but very clean and neat….and lots of sidewalk cafe’s….just a neat place to stroll and shop….and literally running right up from the beach and the Esplanade Lagoon.

The Mall was exceptional for a smaller city like Cairns. Very clean and all in white with lots of plants and great decorations…very, very modern 2 levels with a huge 12 restaurant food court, where we had lunch at the Muffin Break…..great quiche for Audy and a cold coffee with ice cream and whipped cream for me…and a bit of the quiche. Great food. We continued to window shop,etc…very nice clerks…just a great place to shop and stroll and eat….very friendly and pleasant in every respect. And, while we were inside, raining off and on outside…and as I write and it is 4 pm…a downpour. Fortunately for the shops to and from the mall….sidewalk areas are covered….so folks are use to a lot of rain…..

Back to the room at 3…..and some general observations…..1. Very clean and very orderly city…a lot of the British influence like Singapore . 2. Merchant attitude is one of friendliness and helpfulness almost to an amaze degree. 3. Virtually no homeless or trashy looking folks around…..minority’s are here but not too noticeable, except for the Japanese…who have been here for years…and many are shopkeepers, etc. 4. Very modern but in a tropical laid back kind of way….no big new skyscrapers, although the views here of beaches and mountains are wonderful.

So, off to dinner shortly, then to visit some of the night shopping markets, which are advertised, so will see that they are all about. More to come on this….and more to come on our day to the Rain Forest, and this is a real one and one of the most famous in the World….tomorrow.  As of now, so glad we came to Cairns….well worth it for one and all…..may add a bit after the night shopping…should be fun.