Cairns, Australia

We were looking for a location to travel that wouldn’t be terribly hot and humid this time of year (June). But what ultimately won us over were the $450 round trip direct flight tickets from Tokyo (Narita) to Cairns!! We couldn’t pass this up (JetStar, fare found on google.com/flights).

We were able to rent a car (reserved online beforehand) with a U.S. drivers license. Navigating was easy (google maps works without wifi via gps). We stayed near downtown and would definitely recommend this location for families. We were across the street from a fabulous park (with free fitness classes throughout the week) but more importantly, a free (and awesome!) splash pad.

Since there aren’t any good beaches within Cairns, the city created a free lagoon which is open every day. The city has many great breakfast and coffee joints (which we miss here in Japan) but don’t expect to order a drip coffee, they love their fancy coffee!

Another major draw was a tour to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, which many companies depart out of Cairns. During their summer, some harmful jelly fish inhabit the area, so June was a great time to go. It was a little cool and rainy when we went, but still saw lots of fish. High tide is a much better time, so we’d recommend looking ahead and book a trip during that time.

We drove up the coast to the Daintree Rain forest and along the coast to Port Douglas. There are awesome beaches but be aware of the windy, twisty road, it may lead to a little carsickness. We also drove to Kuranda, a cute little market town in the mountains, near Barron Falls. We also spent time touring the downtown area and the Cairns Botanical Gardens (also free).

Photo: Rex Lookout along Cook Highway, Barron Falls
Photo: Cape Tribulation, Sunrise view from our hotel
Emlyn Mann, June 2017

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