After a great night’s sleep (and we really needed it) we awoke refreshed and ready to go. We breakfasted in the little café on site, purchased a bottle of water,which are very necessary as we are not used to these really hot temperatures. Then off we went to explore central Cairns. What’s all that noise, we wondered, as we passed by some huge fig trees. Not parrots, as we thought, but a spectacled bat nursery. And there they were, just hanging about, and making quite a noise indeed.
Spectacled bats in their nursery
It seems there was quite a controversy about the bats and their trees and some of the large trees had been felled. But then the council reversed their decision, the remaining trees were saved and the bats protected.
A young French tourist asked us to take her photo by the bat tree and then returned the favour. So here are are, both sporting our new bargain priced hats.
Standing by the protected bat nursery
The area along the Esplanade is a marvelous asset to this city. A boardwalk runs along the waterfront, and there is an enclosed lagoon (paddling pool) looked over by life guards. Children and adults alike can swim in the deeper part of the pool, or frolic around the edges. BBQs are available, as well as toilets, showers, changing rooms and locker facilities. All very nicely done and something to be proud of.
The lagoon pool
And what was really exciting for us to discover, is that we were looking out at the Coral Sea. We didn’t know that before – and doesn’t it sound so exotic and alluring.
Looking out at the Coral Sea
We came across a rather strange tree in the adjacent park, with large hanging fruit, or maybe nuts, about the size and shape of rock melons. Seems the tree is known as a Cannonball Tree, and originates from South America. So that is another first for us.
The Cannonball Tree
Cairns is teeming with tourists, it is a very busy place indeed. Young backpackers, family groups, and older couples like us, all out to enjoy their trip to Cairns, it seems. Although the temperatures are very warm, there is a gentle breeze blowing which is very pleasant and cools things down a little. After a bit of R&R in the afternoon, we later walked back to town for an early evening meal. Our choice was “Frydays”, a casual café with plenty of outdoor seating.
Dinner tonight at Frydays
What a nice meal it was, we both chose fish. Robin had battered hoki with salad and chips, washed down with a bottle of Aussie 4X beer, and I chose coconut prawns, a new dish for me. One of the great things about holidays, is trying new food, we always think – although hoki of course is common in NZ.
Casual dinner for two
The Night Market beckoned, and we joined the crowds. There were lines of stalls everywhere, everything from clothing, jewelry, chocolate, and souvenirs, all aimed at the lower end of the market. I’ll admit I purchased some macadamia nut shortbread – after all, we do need something to nibble after all our busy sightseeing. We passed a whole line of massage stalls, with the staff calling out for us to come and try their wares as we hurried past. There is also a very busy Food Court, which we checked out for future reference.
At the Night Market
From here we walked down The Esplanade, full of higher end restaurants. We were amazed at the amount of customers in each establishment, some seated inside, but most seemed to be quite happy eating outside. And why not, it’s certainly very enjoyable eating outside on such lovely warm evenings. It was good to check out all the different restaurants to see what was on offer, and some, we noted, had lines of people waiting for tables – that’s always a good sign. And what could be nicer on a very warm evening than to relax at an outside table with an ice-cream each. So we did, sitting there watching the crowds walk by.
The sun had set, and we walked past the bats in the fig trees. They were still chattering noisily, and we saw the large bats swooping around in the darkness. No wonder they looked huge, their wing span can be up to 1.6m.
Time to head back to our hotel and rest our weary legs, it had been another great day. And do you know, we have been so busy and returning tired that we have yet to turn the TV on in our room.