Cairns

Old Sep 3rd, 2011, 06:30 AM
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Cairns

My family (husband, 15 year old son, I) are doing a ten to twelve day trip to Australia and New Zealand. The original plan was to go to New Zealand, but my husband wants to dive in the Great Barrier Reef. And we have enough free miles to do this. So I am thinking that we will be flying into Cairns from Auckland, staying about five days. We are looking at doing a one or two night liveaboard, and what I'm wondering is this: where should we stay and what should we do on the other few nights that will give us a (small) taste of Australia? Is there a small town nearby that has some local flavor? Or other activities that we shouldn't miss? Thanks for any ideas you have!
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Old Sep 3rd, 2011, 09:55 PM
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Are you planning on hiring a car? If so, what about driving south of Cairns to Mission Beach (about 100 km), have a night or two there. On the way have a look at The Boulders at Babinda, wander around Innisfail and visit Paronella Park (www.paronellapark.com.au). You can do this easily in one day and have a day to relax on the beach at Mission Beach. From there drive north-west to the Atherton Tablelands and wander through the small towns as far north as Mareeba, perhaps spend the night somewhere then return to Cairns via Kuranda. Another good place to visit or stay is Palm Cove - about 25 km north of Cairns, and of course, there is Port Douglas and the Daintree area.
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Old Sep 5th, 2011, 01:05 AM
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Other options would be Undara or Chillagoe for the outback feel. Overnight in Yungaburra as it is central to the delights of the Atherton Tablelands.
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 06:55 AM
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I was just in Australia last week in that very area (Cairns and points north). I thought Port Douglas was lovely, but it's clearly a holiday resort destination and didn't really have much of a local feel. What it does have, however, is a spectacular beach, so it's a good place to go if you want that. The Sheraton, which is a great albeit expensive resort, is a little further out of town than I'd like, but it's got some really good rates now, and there are a lot of apartment options in Port Douglas itself, within walking distance to restaurants and shops.

Similarly, Palm Cove is a nice resort area that is not overwhelming or too busy (to me) with a lovely beach. There are a lot of resort and apartment options there.

As far as a smaller town goes, I passed through Mossman, which was lovely. And I spent two nights in the Daintree, which was amazing and highly recommended.
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 07:59 PM
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Thanks for your help, everyone. I am thinking of spending a couple of nights at Cairns (so my husband can dive), and then a night or two at Cape Trib, and then another at Yungaberra. Passing through Port Douglas and Daintree. What do you think of that?
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Old Sep 8th, 2011, 11:31 PM
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Sounds good. Go up the coast and south to Yungaburra via Mt Malloy so as to see a bit of different country. At Mareeba one can see Eastern Grey Kangaroos on the gold course and Mareeba Rock Wallabies at Granite Gorge.
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Old Sep 9th, 2011, 06:54 PM
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That should have been "golf" course.

Apart from the Hypsi most of our mammals are nocturnal or at least crepuscular. Yungaburra would be a good place to do a nocturnal tour.
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Old Sep 11th, 2011, 04:08 PM
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Thanks for the ideas. This gives me enough to go on in terms of trying to get my free flights. I won't be going till next summer, but will have a million more questions before then! Kangaroos and wallabies: how amazing!
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 12:46 AM
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On one exceptional night recently we saw 7 species of possums (four of which were gliders) and three of kangaroo in less than three hours. Earlier in the day we had seen Platypus and three other species of kangaroo.
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