Far North Queensland

Cairns is the best known destination for tourists who want to travel to north Queensland. Mainly, I suspect, as there is an international airport at Cairns and therefore foreign tourists have convenient access to the area.

As much as people travel to north Queensland for the beaches, Cairns itself doesn't actually have sandy beaches! The city does have a 'lagoon' as part of the esplanade, it's free has toilet and changing room facilities and it's popular with tourist and locals. There are a variety of market stalls closeby.

There's a boardwalk along the water's edge and at low tide the mudflats can be seen.

The tide coming back in, looking north towards the airport and a plane taking off. The beaches are the past the airport going north.

The marina.

A lovely tree canopy walk from the marina to the lagoon.

Cairns was originally establish in the 1870s to serve the miners who were going to the inland goldfields, later the fertile land around the Barron river was used for agriculture. During World War II it was a major training base for the Pacific war, and after the war tourists started coming to the area. The biggest explosion of tourist numbers came with the opening of the international airport in the 1980s. Cairns is a major destination for tourists who come to Australia to visit the Great Barrier Reef.

I happily traipsed around the small city centre looking for historic buildings and found some, along with signs giving information about the building. I'm a local historical society's dream tourist, I avidly read all their information signs!

It has a regional art gallery.

The Palace, now a backpackers, but it had been a dancehall. I loved the story on the regional history sign. The dancehall didn't serve alcohol, so the local men would take their girlfriends to the dance and then go across the road to the Hides Corner hotel to drink. That left a lot of girls on their own at the dancehall, much to the delight of the immigrant workers who had come up to work in the cane fields.

The Hides Corner Hotel, there's been a hotel on this site since 1885, the current one dates to 1928. It's a Cairns landmark, the hotel goes around the corner and has a larger frontage on that side.

Initially when I saw the sign 'The Cairns Post' I thought "Oh the postoffice"!! Then realised it's the newspaper, still being published today.

Pretty much the largest building in any Australia town is the pub or pubs, and Cairns didn't disappoint! The Central Hotel, covered verandahs and iron lace.

The tourism industry in Cairns offers visitors more than just going out to the reef. Outside the town, all basically next to each other are the Skywalk, the cable car up to Kuranda.

Tjapukai, an aboriginal heritage centre.

And a museum of armour and artillery.

You do need a car to visit these sites, but there are also tours you can book from Cairns that will take you out to Smithfield where these places are situated.