Boasting an infectious energy and a lush tropical setting, Cairns is unashamedly a tourist town, and its popularity is global. On Cairns’ foreshore, Korean bird-watchers swivel 15cm lenses, local ladies aqua dance at the very public lagoon pool, Islander families share picnics and fitness types jog along the Esplanade where pelicans cavort on mudflats. Overhead, planes take off with amazing frequency, and yet the straw-sucking sound of geckos still lingers in the air. But mostly crowds come to visit the Great Barrier Reef, which sits offshore and shapes the city’s character. It’s one of the world’s most popular diving sites and the number of tour/dive/snorkel/cruise operators operating here is mind-boggling. Cairns can offer you bungee jumping before breakfast, as well as tours to the Atherton Tablelands, Port Douglas and beyond. In between all this fun, you’ll discover it’s a popular place to hook up with fellow travellers.
Old-timers go misty-eyed when they talk about ‘old Cairns’ and lament it’s ‘getting too big for its boots’ but the satellite suburbs that surround the tourism inner sanctum continue to grow, and each week at least 50 new residents arrive in Cairns, each chasing a dream.
Last updated: Feb 16, 2011
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