It’s not often that I read blog posts that make me angry, but that’s what happened last week when I read a post that branded Cairns as boring with nothing to do.
Err – excuse me? To misquote a line I half remember from SATC: no one talks like that about my city!
The thing is, it’s a really common misconception. So many people blast through Cairns, ticking off the must dos as they go and barely even scratching the surface of this weird little city. I can always tell how long someone spent in Cairns based on if they liked the place or not. If their opinions are on the negative side then I’ll wager they only stayed for a few days at most. For those who fell in love, it’s likely their stay was a long one allowing them to see the things that so many have fallen in love with.
The Foodie Scene
Yep, I wouldn’t have believed it either! But after living there for 4 years I’d barely even scratched the surface of all the possible places to eat, mostly because there were new places opening every week. There are options for everything from amazing ramen to fresh seafood to fine dining. It’s no wonder I didn’t manage to lose too much weight living in Cairns, there’s too many delicious things to eat!
It’s also really easy to make you own delicious meals too, with the weekly Rusty’s markets selling locally grown produce. Seriously, nothing makes you feel more like a grown-up than heading to a farmers market at the weekend. Even if you’re heading there with a raging hangover.
Move over Melbourne, Cairns does great coffee but served up wth about 100% less pretension. In the last few years the coffee culture in Cairns has exploded, and now boutique cafes like BlackBird, Sing Sing and Caffined are popping up all over the city. BlackBird even do coffee flights, an evening where you can sample and taste some of their best offerings.
The Free Fitness
You’re going to need to move that butt if you’re going to stay in shape what will all the food on offer. Luckily for you, Cairns council offers a host of free ways to get that heart rate up! If the gym is your thing, there are workout stations along the Esplanade allowing you to work out with a view. For those who prefer a class, there is an entire timetable of workout classes available for free and ranging from aquaerobics to Zumba. Of course, the famous lagoon is a great spot for a swim and definitely beats lengths in a sweat indoor pool! And getting your heart rate up has never been easier than heading to the Botanical gardens and tackling a few loops of the Red Arrow. Just make sure to apply some mosquiote repellant before heading in for a hike, otherwsie the only weight you’ll lose will be the blood that’s been sucked out.
The Arts and Culture
I know what you’re thinking – isn’t Cairns just a city full of drunk backpackers? Well, no! It actually has a lively arts scene with places like the Tanks Arts centre, Cairns Regional gallery and COCA, all hosting some amazing exhibits and installations. The newly opened Munro martin parklands are a beautiful open air performance space that has hosted operas, classical music concerts and festivals. COCA regularly hosts film festivals and plays, and the local theatre company JUTE regularly performs award winning original work. Sure it might not be Melbourne – but there’s a heck of a lot to see for such a small city.
Oh, and I did mention that Elton John is playing one of his two 2017 shows in Cairns? Damn – why did I move to New Zealand again?
The Natural Beauty
So many people arrive, tick off the Great Barrier Reef, squeeze in a Rainforest tour, and then leave assuming that’s all there is. But that doesn’t take into account the stunning northern beaches, local waterfalls and nearby mountains. I lived in the city and could find myself in the middle of some rainforest in 10 minutes. Walking along the Esplanade in the evening and watching the sun set is amazing. Stand in the city centre at twilight and watch thousands of bats leaving their roosts to feed for the night. Drive for a few kilometres and find yourself in national park.
Perhaps that’s the problem – there’s simply too many amazing things to see. You have to narrow it down somehow!
Have you ever visited Cairns – if you have what did you think? Did I convince you that there’s more to Cairns than meets the eye?