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Birding and Exploring in Cape York peninsula, Queensland, Australia
Birding and Exploring in Cape York, Queensland, Australia

Pictures of Roma, Queensland, and Surrounding Towns
Pictures of Roma, Queensland, and surrounding towns

Aboriginal Australia

Frog and Toad's Aboriginal Australia

Frog and Toad's Aboriginal Australia

Aboriginal Languages

Aboriginal Languages











kimonos & japanese clothes // tanks art gallery

CAIRNS :: PARTY TOWN AT THE END OF THE EAST COAST LINEI JUST HIT THE GROUND IN CAIRNS, NORTH QUEENSLAND, AND ONCE AGAIN AM STAYING AT THE BOHEMIA RESORT WITH MY FATHER. This is actually the third time I have been to Cairns in the past 18 months, and the town has become a kind of north pole or home away from home during this current spell in Australia (a spell which will expire, I expect, in early 2014.) Cairns was the place I fled to like a refugee, after the great Tohoku Earthquake rattled me out of my 10-year slumber in Japan, and propelled me on to the path of True Vagabondism. It was a reintroduction to the land of my birth, and a refresher course in Australian culture (loud dance and rock music, guys with their shirts off, strangers saying "G'Day" to you heartily on the street). Such a different world to the one I had left behind in the Land of the Rising Sun, just a couple of aftershocks earlier! I was only in town for half the morning and half the afternoon, but the town exerted a profound effect on me. About four months later I was back again, this time with my Dad, who wanted to winter here and check out some birds... we ended up staying nearly five weeks! My online income was booming at the time, and I thought this long tropical adventure was just a taste of the global Vagabondist wanderings which awaited me, once I had repaid my debts: this was the template for how I wanted to live my life, a Digital Nomad travelling from Paradise to Utopia! Cairns was the place I dreamt up the One World Orbit, the ongoing blueprint and mission statement for this website (and my life). I walked around town, looked up at Aboriginal art galleries, drank in the bars and clubs every night, and imagined that one day soon I would be able to support myself financially just from writing about these experiences. Carried aloft around the world, by the winds of online income! It was an idealistic dream; the weather changed, the winds changed direction, and I met a big reality check, about two months later, while I was living with my parents down in NSW. My online earnings slumped, and have not yet recovered. Ma, iya, as they would say in Japan... shou ga nai!. The show will go on, and I will make the Orbit happen, one way or another. That so much is beyond doubt. What is in doubt, however, and this is what it struck me shortly after arriving in Cairns today with my father... can this town wow me for a third time? It wasn't my choice to be here, and I am spending money that could be going for my ticket to Cambodia in 2014, or entrance fees to Angkor Wat. Much as I loved this place last year, I fear I am pushing my luck, in expecting to deliver life changing magic three times in a row. In any case, at least I am back in the tropics!

One of the first things I noticed, on my second visit to Cairns with my Dad in August 2011, was the high number of colourful, custom painted vans and cars on the street.

Saturday markets, on the Esplanade in the centre of Cairns.

Thanks to the 4-hour delay in Japan and the long, long outdoor walkway connecting the international and domestic terminals in Cairns, I missed my morning connection to Sydney. This might have been bad news for my Mum and Dad down on the NSW Central Coast who were dying to meet me, but it was an opportunity for me. In the spirit of One Mile at a Time, I scented freebies. Unlike the bearded guys in the queue behind me, who had missed their flights out of general tardiness, I had a valid excuse... the Great Tohoku Earthquake. To be fair, I had kind of ambled my way along the long walkway from the international to domestic terminals, weighed down by my luggage, and ogling at all the flowers. I suppose if I had run, I would have made it, but I was now on tropical time. I didn't care if I was late! By the time I made it to departures and waited in line for my serve, the plane was already out on the runway. D'oh! I hadn't slept properly in at least a week, due to all the aftershocks and radiation fears in Tokyo, and I hadn't really eaten either. But at least I was safe, on Australian soil, and in one of the most beautiful cities in the southern hemisphere. As Lucky at One Mile at a Time would say, being bumped can be a blessing.

Low Cost Cars, on the outskirts of the city, kind of on the way back to the airport.

An hour and a few apologies later I had been rebooked on the 4.15pm Qantas service and presented $20 in food vouchers. Winning! Apart from the hills and the beds of flowers there was not much to see around the airport, so I caught a cab downtown. I had an Indian man for a cabbie, and we had a leisurely midmorning chat about floods and tsunamis and life in Far North Queensland (or FNQ, as it is called here.) Before too long we were out of the lush cane fields and into the outskirts of town. The suburbs were classic country Queensland, but with an undeniably international edge. Rustic houses on stilts to protect themselves from floods, but plenty of foreigners around with their foreign ways.


Beach House: Sheridan Street, Cairns. Website: website here.

If I bought a car in Cairns, I could drive it to Thursday Island, sleeping whenever I felt too anxious to continue. It is a quiet, chilled vibe in contrast to the hustle and bustle of the downtown bars. Mostly backpacker crowd: English, French, Germans, the odd Japanese. Events on virtually every night of the week: Tropical Tuesdays, trivial pursuit, beach volleyball on their sandy court. From time to time a plane fell from orbit to cut across the bright blue sky, on its approach to the airport. This being Queensland, there had to be at least one establishment in spitting range called the School of Arts Hotel.

Blue Sky Brewery

Our hire car, near Mission Beach, south of Innisfail.

According to a post I read on Global Gossip's noticeboard, Blue Sky Brewery is the only bar in Cairns which makes its own beer. They sell copious quantities of the Pilsener, with jugs costing only AUS$6 from 5pm to 7pm. If you miss Happy Hour, you can nonetheless enjpy a bottle of the stuff for $3. Torwood, Bulimba, Vanrook, Dorunda, Inkerman, Kowanyama, Rutland, Koolatah, Dunbar, Drumduff, Highbury, Gamboola, and Wrotham Park! But if you want to drive it instead, check this site
Pyramid Peak south of Cairns, viewed from the back of our hire car.

There were a lot of boats berthed at Trinity Wharf, as a matter of fact.


Fronting the wharf are the ...


...including this one practically groaning beneath greenery.

Tanks Art Gallery: .

Steel gates lead into the Tanks Art Gallery, near the Botannical Garden, North Cairns.

Rounding the corner I came upon the Coral Sea, bristling with windsurfers, sailboarders, and even the odd helicopter heading off to the reefs.


Small live bar with an intimate atmosphere and older clientele; I also found it a good place to interact with the local Aboriginal culture. Some of the performers I saw here were Aboriginal, including a wizened elderly gentleman who held his guitar upside-down. "You're holding ya guitar the wrong way!" a gin yelled at him, but it didn't seem to matter... that was the way he had learnt to play it, and he could play it reasonably well. He belted out a song called "Walkabout" which was popular with the indigenous members of the crowd, and further enamoured me to the nomadic life.



...as has the Asian food invasion. A Japanese friend of mine, Ken Anazawa, reckons this food court looks just like those in Singapore. "Australia is becoming more like Asia all the time," he said. Ken-san was right... Cairns is a little slice of Asia amidst the cane fields and wide verandahs. For Australians it is a gateway to Asia, and jets from its airport fly to exotic destinations such as Singapore and Papua New Guinea. I would never have known that, if I hadn't spent a few lunch hours walking around the place.




 

world shops & markets guide australia - denmark - egypt - japan - korea - thailand - ho chi minh city (vietnam)


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