Eight months,four hours and fifteen minutes after leaving RBYC in Port Phillip Bay Victoria and we are tied up at the Marlin Marina in Cairns.
Cairns is the most northern city we will visit.
We park the boat, tidy up and head out for lunch. The following day we allowed ourselves a treat, two days stay at a five star resort, a pure comfort stop! Fling waits patiently in her berth and I feel a little bit guilty sneaking away from her.
Like Townsville, Cairns has a beachfront promenade, called the Esplanade. It has a swimming lagoon , loads of grass and palm tree’s and it’s streetfronts are full of eateries which come to life at night. There is a night market, which we found to be not much more than a shopping centre food court with a whole pile of tourist stalls and massage shops thrown in. Not very evocative of tropical life in Northern Australia, and a poor representation of Australia to the tourists visiting Australia.The Saturday moring market proves to be much bettter.
We are tied up on the outer arm of the harbour. As are all the other luxe yachts! Ghost, a 122ft yacht from Hamilton BVI came in just before us and a quick stroll along our pier shows that despite the economy, there is still some serious money being splashed about.
November is Marlin fishing season here, so the marina is starting to fill up with huge luxurious motor yachts. The boat next to us is 60 ft long and Jared, the skipper spends maximum time preparing his boat for the season. The vessel is six years old and looks to be in mint condition.
Not all the boats ooze money though, one smaller yacht strives only for comfort, sporting two large battered cane armchairs in it’s tiny cockpit!
We hired a car for a day and headed off to the highlands, visiting the hill town of Kuranda, which is wall to wall craft market stalls and walking through the rainforest to view the Barron River waterfalls before returning to the coast for lunch at Palm Cove. Amazing waterfalls and rainforest walks to be found. We imagine they would be even more spectacular in the wet season.
The day before we left Cairns I wandered off to visit the local fresh food market, Rusty’s. It’s open three days a week and is a culinary delight. I can’t imagine why anyone would shop for fruit and vegetables in a supermarket when thay could come here. Every kind of tropical fruit, fresh herbs, and tasty street food can be purchased for very reasonable prices. I sampled Phillipino Empandas and Thai spring rolls as I shopped. My meal cost $2.50! I could have rounded it off with either fresh coconut juice or pure sugar cane juice. Fresh basil, coriander, watercress and mint joined the corn, apples, watermelon and asparagus in the backpack. I topped up on limes and lemons at 50c each ( When we were last at Hamilton Island the going rate was $4 each) and if I could have remembered our stocks I would have also bought a few avocado’s for $1 each! Mango’s are still expensive though, $6.99 a kilo….it’s still early in the season for them.
On Saturday we headed off to Half Moon Bay Marina at Yorkey’s Knob. It’s just 5 nm from here and will be our home for the next few days. From our base at Yorkey’s Knob we visited the Mossman River Gorge and Port Douglas.