By Rama Gaind.
|This is the first of a two-part feature on Cairns where you’ll rediscover fun in the manner you’ve become accustomed to.
No matter what the weather, wherever you go, always take your own sunshine with you. However, there was no need for an extra dose of sunbeams after arriving in Tropical North Queensland as it was a glorious 28 degrees in Cairns!
The Cairns region is renowned as the gateway to two of the world’s greatest natural attractions: the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest. One of the seven wonders of the natural world, Great Barrier Reef is the only living thing on earth visible from space. It’s blessed with the breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef.
Then there’s a tiny pocket of tropical rainforest that has survived for millions of years, from the time dinosaurs wandered the earth. It’s quite unlike any other place on the planet. This extraordinary, World Heritage-listed landscape is the oldest tropical rainforest that has been described by English broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough as “the most extraordinary place on earth”.
The scene is set because attractions in Cairns rank as some of the most original and exciting in Australia today. Golden sunny beaches flanked by the Daintree and Cape Tribulation rainforests … it’s a region that literally has it all.
Take the time to savour the wonders of the deep blue seas of the Reef (a Marine Park and World Heritage Area), along with the scenic rainforest railway, up-and-down the Skyrail and the lagoon on the Cairns Esplanade. The latter is a fabulous highlight – right in the heart of the city where the swimming pool immediately overlooks the Coral Sea and the Pacific Ocean in the distance.
This pool is a very popular picnic spot where you can swim, the children have a ball and the infinity pool effect is amazing!
Do combine Skyrail Rainforest Cableway with the famous Kuranda Scenic Railway for an experience to remember. Skyrail is a 7.5km long cableway – hop on-and-off along the way to explore the boardwalks and ranger-guided tours in the forest. It’s an amazing experience over Australia’s World Heritage-listed tropical rainforests. Enjoy bird’s-eye views as you glide just metres over the canopy, before exploring the forest floor and learning more at two rainforest mid-stations. Ensure you get a ranger-guided tour and a visit to the rainforest interpretation centre as part of the experience.
Kuranda Scenic Railway provides a historic, scenic journey between Kuranda ‘the village in the rainforest’ and Cairns, as you unwind your way through a tropical paradise framed by rugged mountains with waterfalls tumbling forever into deep ravines.
The journey, rising from sea level to 328m, to Kuranda passes spectacular rainforest waterfalls and into the stunning Barron Gorge. Meandering through picturesque scenery, you travel through 15 handmade tunnels and across 37 towering bridges that stand as a monument to the pioneers of the north. Open are a range of popular wildlife attractions including Kuranda Koala Gardens, the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and Birdworld.
Once in Kuranda, spend a few hours exploring the arts and crafts of the local galleries or sample the delights of the gourmet chocolates, wines and sweets from the boutique shops.
It’s perfectly positioned for a relaxing lifestyle. Combining a tropical lifestyle with cultural activities of a thriving region, Tropical North Queensland offers the best of both worlds. The region has some of the most beautiful parks and beaches in Queensland.
When in Cairns, it’s a warm and friendly welcome to the Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort, The Esplanade. During one stay there, I found lasting memories were made after meeting people who go the extra mile when it came to service. Thank you Natalie Railsback, Vivian Hsu and Kathy Lim for your attentiveness. Special experiences!
Stay high above the ground, overlooking the Coral Sea, in surroundings with a personality of its own. Riley has a sophisticated character. Make the most of accommodation that promises a fresh approach to hospitality.
The hotel is located close to the Esplanade Boardwalk where you’ll find shopping, entertainment and dining options. If you’re interested in exploring more of Cairns, the Aquarium, Centre of Contemporary Arts, Cairns Civic Theatre and Great Barrier Reef Departure Terminal are all within short walking distance.
Crystalbrook Riley is the ultimate great escape, with a wow factor. Check it out. Qantas Holidays has a special package where you can save up to 55% on this limited time offer. It’s a hotel with little luxuries, from the noteworthy service to the refreshing outdoor pool. The rooms are chic and sustainably modern. The facilities are top-quality and there’s a variety of dining options to choose from, with rooftop cocktails and Mediterranean share-style food at Rocco or a taste of Asia at Paper Crane.
The three-night accommodation package includes daily à la carte breakfast at Paper Crane, complimentary self-parking, late checkout of 2pm and 15% discount across Crystalbrook Collection restaurants and bars. Stays and packages are available from 18 April to 20 December 2021, subject to availability.
Inarguably, Cairns is wonderful one day and glorious the next! You’ll be sunshine happy because as Tim Cahill said: “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles”.
Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort
131-141 Esplanade, Cairns City QLD 4870
T: (07) 4252 7777