Domestic flights in Australia are a reminder of just how large this country is. I boarded my Cairns-bound flight from Brisbane. The Virgin Australia flight took a little over two hours…between two cities in the very same state. It’s impressive, isn’t it? I was so excited to visit Cairns.
Landing into Cairns is quite a breathtaking experience. You’ve got the azure sea on one side and the lush forested mountains on the other. And in the middle of it all, there’s a beautiful runway, symbolically laying out a black carpet, if not a red one, to welcome visitors. As I stepped out of the tiny Cairns airport, my first impressions were that the landscape was so, well, tropical. Palm trees all over, mango trees, coconut palms, nothing that I had expected of Australia. But as I always say, this country always surprises me. It was indeed a great welcome before I could begin to visit Cairns. IBefore I knew it, I was well on my way to the Cairns Tropical Zoo for a quick visit.
As a luxury blogger, why would I ask for a quick visit to the Cairns Tropical Zoo, you ask? Well, for starters, it really IS the best place to get up close and personal with Aussie wildlife. And, most importantly, it is here that you can actually CUDDLE a koala (yes, in the state of Queensland, certain approved zoos and parks do allow tourists to hold a koala, though it is illegal in other Australian states). Stay tuned for a separate blog post on my encounter with the Aussie animals.
After a warm welcome by the staff at Cairns Tropical Zoo, I settled down to lunch in the open-air restaurant of the zoo, with the slumbering koalas for company, only a few feet away. Lunch consisted of a light spinach and ricotta filo pastry on a green salad bed and (my favourite, an Aussie staple) potato wedges with cream and sweet chilli sauce.
And then I began my walkabout through the zoo….
Here are a few images….
At the risk of sounding absolutely hackneyed, I have to say that I really do love cuddling these koalas and petting these kangaroos. It really is quite an unforgettable experience. If you are planning to visit Cairns, I highly recommend that you make a quick stop at the Cairns Tropical Zoo. You will not regret it.
After the zoo, I drove all the way to Palm Cove, a tiny breathtaking suburb to the north of Cairns. Palm Cove, as its name suggests, has a beautiful esplanade fringed with palms. Without a geographical context, you’d think you were in Mauritius or even Goa. It had a very casual, sleepy vibe to it. I checked in to the Peppers Palm Cove, a resort cum spa located on the waterfront, along palm cove.
Before I went up to my room, I stepped out of the hotel, hopped across the street, stood on the beach, and stared out at the crystal clear waters. I couldn’t help but notice a huge sign that said ‘DANGER – CROCODILES’. Now I know that Australia is THE country for crocodile spotting but to see this sign on a sandy, tropical beach…REALLY? I alarmingly grabbed the GM of the Peppers hotel who told me that there were indeed crocodiles swimming about in those waters…but only because they were swimming between the nearby estuaries. So, from what I gathered, they don’t really live in the sea, but happen to transit past the beach when they swim from one estuary to another. Needless to say, I wasn’t stepping into that water!
I stepped into my room at the Peppers Palm Cove. It was homely and comforting. This spacious apartment featured a large living space, a kitchenette with a coffee-pod machine, a spacious bedroom, a dressing area and a bathroom. The balcony looked out onto the swimming pool. My room really did have the best view in town, in the foreground I could see the swimming pool, then the roofs of the resort, lined with palm trees, and then the mountains and rainforests in the distance.
It’s been a long day and a long journey from India. I think I’m going to make the most of it by enjoying a cup of coffee on the balcony, soaking in the Palm Cove sun.
I can’t wait to visit Cairns and the regions surrounding it. Stay tune for my blogposts…..