A couple of weeks ago, Jordan, Evie and I went on our first family holiday to Cairns. With heavy restrictions still in place in the sunshine state, we are still unable to travel home to Victoria. So, we figured might as well make the most of our situation and do some exploring a little further north of Townsville instead.
One positive to come out of COVID is that there were less people to compete with when it came to booking accomodation. Our trip was planned only a couple of weeks out from when we decided to go (during the school holidays as well) and it was surprisingly easy to find somewhere nice to stay. In saying this though, it is really disheartening to know that the tourism industry, and in particular small businesses are suffering as a result of the travel restrictions. While I’m glad we got to see Cairns without having to compete with hoards of tourists, hopefully by this time next year businesses will have a little more bookings in place.
So, onto our trip. Cairns is about a 4 hour drive away from Townsville and there’s plenty to see on the way. We left on a Tuesday morning and on our way up we decided to make a pitt stop at the MAMU Tropical Skywalk. Being our first long car trip with Evie, we weren’t quite sure how long she’d last in the car. We wanted to make sure we had options to break up the day. That and don’t they always say that half the fun of a road trip is the places you visit along the way?
For those of you back home, you may be familiar with the Otways along the Great Ocean Road. This rainforest walk was like the North Queensland equivalent of the Otways. Before entering the park, we had a packed lunch at a cute little picnic table. While eating, we got bitten by lots of march flies, which was a new and unpleasant experience for me.
The views were incredible and it was a really good activity to do with a toddler. Evie had an absolute ball toddling along the walkways, even if it was a little scary for me seeing her so high above ground!
I’m a little scared of heights and even with a railing firmly in place, my legs still feel like they’re going to give way from underneath me at times. That being said, I was able to climb to the lookout and get a photo from up top. Even if the photo was taken a few metres back from the edge, I still count this as a win.
After our skywalk adventure, we headed up to Cairns and met our friend Michelle for a little afternoon grazing at NOA. I treated myself to a cocktail and it was a lovely way to ring in the trip. We booked accommodation in Palm Cove, which is about 25 minutes out of Cairns city so we headed there afterwards for a quiet night in.
When planning our trip, Jordan and I decided not to put too much pressure on ourselves to do too much. Travel with a small human is verrrrry different to what it would normally be like, so it was essential that we managed our expectations. It certainly made our decision making a lot easier once we figured out what was achievable.
On Wednesday morning we decided to head back into Cairns and do some exploring. We went to the Botanical Gardens for a walk and it was just beautiful. The weather was humid, but not any more so than Townsville, so it was nice to already be somewhat acclimatised. It was also nice that I didn’t have to carry Evie!
We saw lots of bush turkeys along the walking track, which was pretty cool.
It was so green in Cairns, look at that lush grass.
After our walk we headed to Muddy’s Cafe for brunch. I decided to lean into the tropical holiday vibe and had an Acai bowl, which hit the spot just perfectly and made me feel like the healthiest woman alive.
In the afternoon we decided to go for a walk around Palm Cove, which as you can see was just stunning. Palm Cove is a coastal suburb of Cairns and definitely feels a lot more ‘resorty’ than Cairns city. The beachfront was full of cute cafes and restaurants and surrounded by palm trees.
It’s still such a strange concept to me to see such beautiful beaches with no one swimming in the water. That is the reality of life up north though, there are just too many dangerous things swimming around that it’s rarely worth the risk.
After our walk we hit the hotel pool and had sushi for dinner.
The Thursday morning we headed up to Port Douglas which is a small town further north along the coast.
Taking pictures with an active toddler is not without its challenges!
I loved this little church we stumbled upon.
It was hard to get capture the view on camera, but it was very picturesque.
We had a pretty relaxed morning walking around and then stopped in at Mocka’s for a chunky steak pie.
That evening we met up with our friends Rachel and Sean – who live in Townsville and were conveniently also holidaying in Cairns – for dinner at Hemingway’s Brewery.
We had burgers and beers and it was the perfect way to end our trip.
On Friday morning we headed home, but not without a detour first to Zarraffa’s.
Halfway through our journey, we stopped in at Josephine Falls to have a look. It was perfect weather for a little dip, although we didn’t go in the water. There were certainly plenty of people around!
All up, our first family holiday to Cairns was amazing. Even though we were only there for a few days, it was just the right amount of time for our first taster trip to the far north. I’m looking forward to getting to know this part of North Queensland a little better and fully intend on taking advantage of how easily accessible this part of the world is to us. There is still so much left to explore!