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what to wear on holiday in cairns

What to Wear on Holiday in Cairns

Cairns has an idyllic position on the east coast of the Cape York Peninsula, where it nestles between the Coral Sea and the Great Dividing Range. We have good rains pouring down accordingly, from November through to May. Thereafter, we have a relatively dry period from June to October with occasional showers. These are our ‘winter’ months when the weather seldom turns cold. Thus, what to wear on holiday in Cairns does vary between seasons, but not markedly as it may elsewhere on the planet.

In truth we have a summer climate all-year-round by European and North American standards. It never freezes, snows nor sleets. Average temperatures vary from 28C / 82F in January our hottest month, all the way down to 22C / 72F in our ‘chilly’ June, July and August. What to wear on holiday in Cairns is strictly a casual affair, and you could swim all year round in our balmy lagoon if you were feeling energetic.

what to wear on holiday in Cairns

Cairns Esplanade Lagoon: Michael Coghlan: CC 2.0

Bathe All Year Round in Our Balmy Ocean

We have average daily sunshine of 7 to 9 hours, although we will be the first to admit we do have cloudy days. Our sunniest months are October to December. While even January to May, and July manage 7 average hours a day of sunshine. This keeps the Coral Sea delightfully warm with a high of 29C / 84 F in summer, and a winter low of 24C / 75F. Thus our ocean provides a delightfully refreshing dip all year round. And you could spend all day soaking it up if you like.

Swimming Costumes on Holiday in Cairns

We have no set values regarding swimming costumes, or ‘cossies’ as the kids call them, as long as they respect other peoples’ values. Cairns has several nude beaches offering overall tans where these are optional extras. Australians are a laid back nation in terms of what to wear on holiday in Cairns, and you will find we offer among the easiest-going holidays anywhere.

what to wear on holiday in Cairns

Cairns Esplanade at Dawn: Paleontour: CC 2.0

We also pride ourselves on our  spirit of invention. While have fabulous golden beaches strung up and down the coast like pearls, there are times when jellyfish trouble us between November and May. That’s when we head directly for our huge lagoon right on the Cairns Esplanade. We shaped it to look like Queensland, and there are trusty lifeguards in attendance all day long.

Please have your sunscreen handy when out in glorious Cairns sunshine, and remember to wear a hat. This is particularly important for small children, and those with fair, sensitive complexions. Our nights are generally milder with light clothing indicated. What to wear on holiday in Cairns at night is delightfully simple too. Dress standards at most restaurants are undemanding, because Cairns is so cool and casual, but do remember to wear shoes.

what to wear on holiday in Cairns

Fabulous Beach North of Cairns: Kiwi Flickr: CC 2.0

What to Pack For Your Stay at Wangullay

Plan for all-round summer weather even in the midst of winter. Shorts, tee shirts and tank tops are the order of the day, with a swimsuit and flip flops essential unless you choose a ‘nudie beach’. By all means dress a little posher for dining out, although most restaurants and nightclubs are equally casual.

Do be prepared for flying insects, especially from November to April. Apply bug repellent several times a day, not forgetting your ankles and your feet for sand hoppers. Your body evaporation rate can be higher than you are used to. Avoid over-exerting yourself, drink plenty of liquids, and carry a water bottle even on a short stroll. Pretty much the same applies to hiking expeditions and bush walks. Wear sensible shoes, carry water and basic emergency gear. Make sure someone knows where you are going, and when you will be back.

Check with the provider when booking a visit to the great barrier reef. Unless they provide them, you will need your own snorkel, mask, and optional wet suit and scuba gear. Take a sensible cossie with you, as you will be climbing in and out of boats and do want to look your best. An underwater camera will provide you with many lovely memories like this.

what to wear on holiday in Cairns

Agincourt Reef: Robert Linsdell: CC 2.0

Sheer Luxury is ‘On the House’ When You Rent Our Holiday Space

For the rest, we take care of almost everything for you during your delicious stay at our delightful rain forest hideaway. We are on the inland edge of town. However Cairns is a small place and you can be anywhere you want in fifteen minutes by car. We originally built Wanggulay as our private holiday cottage. That’s why you will find it so beautifully appointed. I was an airline pilot then and I was earning good money. I could afford the best Bali art, and furniture as you will see.

Things have become simpler since I retired. We rent the place to visitors who value peace and quiet in nature, and the sounds of birds in the trees all day long. There is a lovely river a short stroll away past streams and small waterfalls. There kids kissed by the sun can clamber on rocks, and dive into safe, tranquil water. We’ll even help you order supplies in, and stock the food in the fridge for you. What to wear on holiday in Cairns is the least of your worries. In fact, you should have your most relaxing, tranquil vacation ever.

what to wear on holiday in cairns

Any Time is a Good Time to Relax at Wangullay

salt water crocodiles

Cairns Salt Water Crocodiles – To Treat with Respect

We have the largest of all living reptiles in North Queensland. These ‘saltie’ Indo-Pacific monsters measure up to 6 meters (20 feet), and originally arrived in our estuaries from the open ocean. Since then, they have settled into our mangrove swamps, deltas, estuaries, lagoons, and the lower stretches of our rivers. Salt water crocodiles are large, stealthy hunters best not taken at face value. They are the most dangerous of their species, and formidable and opportunistic predators to boot.

How Salt Water Crocodiles Bear Their Young

‘Salties’ court annually between September and October, when seasonal monsoons ensure water levels are at their highest. The female lays her eggs two months later. She often chooses the nursery site on a shoreline, alongside a tidal river, or on the edge of a freshwater swamp. Once chosen, she and her mate will defend the site against all comers.

salt water crocodiles

Large Salt Water Crocodile: F Van Renterghem: CC 2.0

The nest is a mound of mud and vegetation 1.75 meters long (69 inches), by 50 centimetres wide (21 inches). And with an entrance of half a meter diameter.  A layer of leaves scratched over it helps keep 40 to 60 eggs warm and incubating happily. These eggs are relatively small by species standards, at 8 centimetres long (5 inches) by 5 centimetres (2 inches) wide.

The gender of the newly hatched salt water crocodiles weighing 70 grams (2.5 ounces), depends on the incubation temperature. They are invariably girls when incubated between 28 to 30 °C (82 to 86 °F).  Between 30 to 32 °C, 86% are boys. Above that point, girls predominate again. We have no idea why this is the case. However, the system clearly works, since salt water crocs have been around for at least 6 million years.

Salt Water Crocodiles Make Good Mothers But Not Pets

Do not let a loving crocodile mother fool you for a moment. She is constantly on the lookout for an opportunistic meal as she responds to the yelping cries of hatchlings in the nest, and gently rolls stubborn eggs in her mouth to crack them open. Then she gathers her babies in her mouth and carries them to the nearest patch of open water. By now dad has lost interest, and may already be courting another girl.

salt water crocodiles

Hatchling Salt Water Crocodile: Richard.Fisher: CC 2.0

Baby salt water crocodiles have a tough life, with just 1% surviving to adulthood.  They are exceptionally aggressive – even against each other – and fight among themselves almost immediately after their mother takes them to open water. Here, they hone their fighting skills, and a sense of territoriality that ensures their survival. This is another good reason to back off when encountering an adult in the wild, even in the presence of a guide.

Salties Have Sheer Brute Force in Adulthood When Biting Down

While it takes 10 years for crocs to become sexually mature, they can live for 70 years, with some centenarians reported. Their young are open season for goanna monitor lizards, barramundi fish, wild boars, rats, and flying raptors. However, once they reach adulthood they are generally invincible, with their heads alone weighing 200 kilograms (440 pounds), and the highest bite force of all mammals, including the spotted hyena.

salt water crocodiles

Now Where’s That Duct Tape: AngMoKio: CC 2.5

Despite this immense power, salt water crocodiles have a weak point. Nature invested most of their jaw muscles for chomping, leaving just a few to open their jaws again. They say a few layers of duct tape can keep them tightly shut. We are not about to try this gig. We prefer our crocs under controlled circumstances behind a stout fence.

Salt Water Crocodiles in Aboriginal Tradition

We will let the indigenous Wandjina legends from the mythology of ancient Australians have the final say about Australian salt water crocodiles. For the Wandjina are cloud and rain spirits who have watched over everything since time immemorial, and feature prominently in rock art. Dreamtime legends hold the Wandjina created our landscape, and our nation’s inhabitants that live here. Then they painted their images on cave walls when they died.

When they are angry, they punish the unjust with lightning, floods, and cyclones. According to their tradition, they banished salt water crocodiles from fresh water for becoming full of bad spirits, and growing too large, unlike the freshwater crocodile they somewhat revered. Hence, salt water crocodiles are largely absent in rock art, although a few examples from 3,000 years ago remain in Kakadu and Arnhem caves.

We offer great holiday accommodation in free-standing luxury lodges, if you need a base for exploring Queensland’s numerous natural wonders.

salt water crocodiles

Cairns Luxury Holiday Rental Accommodation at Wanggulay

awesome cairns things

10 Awesome Cairns Things to Do When Visiting

So you are visiting Cairns soon? Well that’s good news, for we have things to see and do all year round. Our 10 awesome Cairns things to do focus on our natural environment and places of exceptional beauty. However this does not include the likes of posh country houses and fancy restaurants. Although we do have a fine spread of art galleries and museums for a more formal occasion.

Now let’s see … which of our 10 awesome Cairns things to do deserves pole position in the adventure we have  for you today? We think a trip to Kuranda is the right way to start, because we can can gaze back down on Cairns from a height, and get great views of the coastal strip and the blue Coral Sea stretching far into the distance.

awesome cairns things

Skyrail Views Back to Cairns: Sheila Thomson: CC 2.0

# 1 of 10 Awesome Cairns Things to Do: Visit Kuranda

Cairns was originally going to be limited to a small port. Where settler farmers shipped their products south to Brisbane, for  city folk who lacked our rich soil and fertile climate on the table land above us. Following a long and winding road up the escarpment turned out a pain, especially after they discovered rich seams of precious metals in the mountains. So they used their mining skills to hack a cliff-hangar of a railway line with their bare hands, picks and shovels.

Our favourite way to visit Kuranda is following that self-same route up the cliff. There’s not a patch of reinforced concrete to be seen, but the spidery wooden bridges are still good and strong. Vintage railway coaches add to the flavour while a powerful  loco takes care of the heavy loading. We can even stop along the way to stretch our legs. When we reach the top, a historic railway station with tropical gardens welcomes us with every imaginable tourist attraction. As an added bonus, we can catch a sky gondola back down to Cairns with views like we showed you in the first photo.

awesome cairns things

Kuranda Scenic Railway Station: Photnart: CC 3.0

# 2 – The Call of the Wild White Waters West of Cairns

The classic pioneer village of Kuranda is some 330 meters (1,000 feet) above the coastal plain where Cairns nestles besides the warm calming Coral Sea. Water temperatures back there are in a stable range of 27–28 °С throughout the year.  Given an annual rainfall between one and three metres (3.2 to 9.6 feet), its unsurprising our rivers turn into dare-devil cataracts. Especially from December through to March when monsoons fall in bursts of pelting water.

This is the season of white water rafting, arguably one of the most awesome Cairns things to do. We can refer you to some of the best skippers, boats and crews we know. Best take some spare dry clothes with you for the return journey though, for at the very least you will be seriously splashed and even sopping wet. The best Cairns white water rafting experiences are under personal guidance of experienced skippers. They know the best way to negotiate rapids for what may be the white river rafting experience of your lifetime.

awesome cairns things

Cairns White Water River Rafting: Gary Bembridge: CC 2.0

# 3 – A Walk Through a Primeval Forest Where Dinosaurs Roamed

Millions of years ago the world was a different place. We were going through a period of global warming when all Australia was warm, humid, and with abundant rainfall. Nowadays, much of our country is very different. However, the combination of the warm Coral Sea and the Great Dividing Range has preserved a memory in the magic place we call the Daintree Forest. Here we can see plants that dinosaurs sniffed, pondered over, and seized in their mighty jaws.

Incredibly, Daintree Forest stretches all the way down to the high water mark, as if waiting for primeval life to walk onto land from the sea. They have treetop board walks over some of the world’s earliest plants, and several ancient families of tree ferns. This is also a globally important bird sanctuary where southern cassowaries,  tooth-billed and golden bowerbirds, lovely fairywrens, and victoria’s riflebirds and pale-yellow robins strut their stuff to the delight 0f bird lovers of all ages. Truly, this is a must-see place among the 10 awesome Cairns things to do.

awesome cairns things

Daintree Rain Forest: Dinkum: CC 1.0

# 4 – More Awesome Cairns Things to Do: The Great Barrier Reef

The Australian Great Barrier Reef is a tropical ocean coral paradise spread over 344,00 kilometres (133,00 square miles). To put this in perspective, that’s about the size of Finland or Germany, or the U.S. state of Montana, the fourth largest. There are ferries to major islands, while private tour operators have fast catamarans. Not to mention air conditioned underwater observatories, and semi-submersibles offering incredible views of life underwater in the coral sea.

The Great Barrier Reef is truly an amazing place. Coral deposits go back half a million years, and attract over 1,500 different fish species. Out to sea, dwarf minke whales, indo-pacific humpback dolphin, and humpback whales make dramatic splashes as they emerge to breath deeply. We have 17 sea snake species, and six types of turtles that come to breed in our placid, sheltered water. Come and join us, the water is warm. Come and immerse yourself, buoyed in warm water in paradise. You will find nothing like this anywhere else on earth.

awesome cairns things

Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef: Wikimedia Contributor: CC 1.0

# 5 – Pay an Early Visit to Cairns Aquarium (But Keep Your Feet Dry)

We had to wait a few extra weeks as the salt water took a while to mature in the tanks. However the promise was already there, and the grand opening was a watershed day for our fair city on the Far North Queensland coast. The Regional Council is already promising ‘a vibrant botanical boulevard‘ connecting through from our CBD. Soon it will be all systems go for the new home of the plants, animals and habitats unique to our remarkable part of the world.

The structure comprises 9,000 square metres (100,000 square feet) of exhibition space spread across three generous levels. The pools and tanks hold 3,000 000 litres (80,000 gallons) of fresh, brackish and salt water. There are opportunities to share our rich diversity of wildlife in ways previously impossible to imagine. The aquarium goals include conservation, education and outreach, research, and invitations to all and sundry willing to participate in this dream.

awesome cairns things

Image: Cairns Aquarium, Great for Families and Kids With Thanks

# 6 – Awesome Cairns Things Happen at the Tjapukai Experience

We are feeling our way through the past when things did not always pan out the way we wanted. We won’t attach blame. The cultures failed to connect, and violence followed. The traditions of the oldest Australians assume new relevance as we reach out to handshake, as we should have done before. Tjapukai is very special place where we can delve into things that some of us never knew existed. The cultural outdoor museum is conveniently not far from the lower Skyrail gondola station that connects by cable to Kuranda.

The Djabugay people own this place and they are our hosts when we visit, making the experience even more authentic.  They offer a shuttle service from Cairns and Northern beaches holiday accommodation, that runs mornings, afternoons, and evenings. During daytime, we can wander freely through the exhibits, and savour Djabugay food baked on organically-fired hot rocks buried  in the earth. In the evening, we could join in the night fire experience, when we paint out faces and join in a truly remarkable celebration we may see nowhere else on our planet.

awesome cairns things

Tjapukai by Night: Image Tjapukai.Com With Thanks

# 7 – Take a Trip to Green Island on a Fast Catamaran Ferry

Green Island is a genuine coral formation overlaid by waves depositing sand and other debris. Nature’s experiment – if you like – has a diverse ecosystem within its 0.15 square kilometre / 0.1 square mile spread. The island supports a variety of plants in a dry coastal beach environment, and an inner semi-evergreen vine thicket hence the name. There is a luxury 46-room resort, although most visitors on a day trip prefer their holiday accommodation in Cairns.

Green Island is a mere 27 kilometres / 17 miles from Cairns so the trip takes under an hour. There is thus ample time to explore the coral reefs offshore by scuba diving. If we are feeling flush, we like to visit the upmarket resort on the island for a light lunch. Their Emerald’s Resort and Bar does a divine smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese, tomato, lettuce, smoked salmon, bay capers, and spanish onion.

Several other islands nearby Cairns offer diverse ‘desert island’ experiences. We provide luxury accommodation in Cairns for discerning guests upon their return. But please stay with us. We have three more awesome Cairns thing to share, while staying in our Cairns holiday rental which is truly super cool.

awesome cairns things

Green Island: Sue Waters: CC 2.0

# 8 – Awesome Cairns Things: Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures at Wangetti Beach

Cairns crocodiles are seriously large creatures and they are naturally dangerous. They grow up to 2.8 metres long from nose to tail (nine feet) at which stage they make African lions look like pussycats which they definitely are not. We ask that you do not go near them unless under guidance of an experienced ranger. Fortunately we can introduce a safe venue where the scales tilt in our direction. To get there, drive north from Cairns for 40 kilometres (25 miles) along scenic Captain Cook Highway on the boundary of the gorgeously deep blue Coral Sea.

Hartley’s has been a destination since 1933 when it opened as a tearoom. Yep, we drank tea then and some still do. Since then, it grew to a large spread where you can watch crocodiles close-up from a boat, or meet a cassowary and other curious mammals of Far North Queensland. While Hartley’s Crocodile Ventures is a business doing crocodile farming, it also has a strong commitment to sustainability and eco tourism. However we doubt the giant reptiles are impressed by this. So do take care, watch the signs, obey the rules, and listen to the friendly guides.

awesome cairns things

Feeling Peckish: Travis: CC 2.0

# 9 – More Awesome Cairns Things: The Barron River Falls

We don’t know why Cairns’ original Aboriginal inhabitants called this mighty cataract ‘Din Din’ but it sure makes a heck of a noise as it comes crashing down in season. Consider these statistics:

Total height 125 metres / 410 feet: maximum width 259 metres  / 850 feet

Longest drop 107 metres / 315 feet: average flow per second 30 centimetres / 12 inches

The dramatic flows you see in tourist photos are only after substantial rain, in wet season which is November through to March.  Outside of this time the cataracts are narrower. The average width is hence 137 meters / 449 feet, but still well worth viewing at any time considered safe.

The top of the falls is near the historic pioneering town of Kuranda, that became a major tourist attraction for families with kids. The water crashes down through virgin tropical rain forest which is a sight on its own. There are five viewing points with varying degrees of access. The Barron Falls Lookout provides dramatic views of the cataract at Barron Falls Railway Station. Then there are other hiking trails, such Wright’s lookout with sweeping views across the Barron Gorge towards the coastal plains of Cairns.

awesome cairns things

Barron River Falls in Spate: Phil Long: CC 2.0

# 10 – Rent a Luxury Home at Wanggulay  Convenient for All Attractions

We have two award-winning 5 Star luxury retreats right on the edge of heritage rain forest, and nature as it should be, unspoiled. They are 15 minutes from Cairns and close to Port Douglas and Palm Cove in North Queensland, Australia. 

The villas each sleep up to 13 guests, and are perfect for couples love nests, honeymoon suites, 5 star family accommodation, pet-friendly holidays, private wedding venues, and executive retreats. if you truly want to experience the sensation of being on your own in the wild, then what can be better than going to sleep here every evening, and waking here every morning to the calls of birds.

Included in these private vacation rentals are all the features you’d expect from a 5 star resort, and including 4 or 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, sleeping for up to 13 guests, pet friendly, free unlimited and fast wifi, an amazing spread of facilities, as well as outstanding reviews from many satisfied guests.

Our properties are light years away from average Cairns holiday resorts. There is no resident manager watching over their shoulder. The only sounds you hear are your own friends and family, and birds singing in rustling trees. Please book early to reserve your space, since we are regularly booked out, and we want to welcome you to our Wanggulay see you soon.

awesome cairns things

Wanggulay Too

awesome cairns things

 

waltzing matilda

Who’ll Come A Waltzing Matilda With Me?

waltzing matilda

Original Waltzing Matilda Manuscript: Christina Macpherson: Public Domain

We have three patriotic songs in Australia we like to sing. First, in moments of colonial fervour we may sing God Save the Queen. Then our official national anthem is Advance Australia Fair which is a tad ‘dull and unappealing to most Australian people’. And thirdly there’s  our national bush ballad, Who’ll Come A Waltzing Matilda With Me. Many Australians prefer it because it represents the true spirit of our pioneering country. Before we tell you more about it, here is the full version of Waltzing Matilda we would like you to enjoy.

Who’ll Come A Waltzing Matilda With Me

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong,
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited ’til his billy boiled,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?
And he sang as he watched and waited ’til his billy boiled,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?

000o00

Along came a jumbuck to drink at the billabong,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he stowed that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
You’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?
And he sang as he watched and waited ’til his billy boiled,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?

000o00

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred,
Down came the troopers, one, two, three,
Whose is that jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?
You’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?
And he sang as he watched and waited ’til his billy boiled,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?

000o00

Up jumped the swagman, leapt into the billabong,
You’ll never catch me alive, said he,
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by the billabong,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?
And he sang as he watched and waited ’til his billy boiled,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?

Now Hear Waltzing Matilda Sung by Slim Dusty

Unpacking the Meaning behind The Australian Strine

Australian settlers were largely cut off from the rest of the world for the first century after they landed. In fact, their ‘old country’ was an eight-month sailing ship voyage away. And so they developed their own culture, and their own extended English vocabulary using  terms cobbled  from Aboriginal languages, and slang used by settlers. We call this strange collection of words ‘strine’. Strine itself is a highly exaggerated pronunciation of ‘Australian’ expressed with an extremely broad accent.

The Unofficially Official History of Waltzing Matilda

We did not have too many museums and libraries when poet Banjo Patterson wrote the words of the bush ballad down in January 1895. He was staying at Dagworth Cattle Station in Central West Queensland when he heard the Celtic Folk Tune ‘The Craiglee March’ played on a mechanical harp by a young girl. Life in the isolated settlement was pretty basic. Since then, some holiday establishments are as fine as our exclusive Wanggulay holiday rental. Banjo decided the tune needed some words to go with it, and based them on a true incident during the Great Shearers’ Strike of 1892.

waltzing matilda

A Group of Shearers During the Strike: John Oxley Library: Public Domain

What’s in a Word, and Title of the Song

The violent end to the shearers’ strike that almost became a civil war, left the Queensland farming industry in disarray. Small groups of farm hands, and individuals became itinerant tramps. They wandered through the countryside with their worldly possessions on their backs, and surviving on what they could lay their hands on because they knew no other way.

waltzing matilda

Elderly Swagman c 1901: New South Wales Government Printer: Public Domain

Australian strine, or slang for wandering was ‘waltzing’. Our ancestors borrowed this from the German tradition of artisans taking gap years after qualifying, ending their indentureship, and wandering the countryside with their ‘matilda’ shoulder bags slung over their backs. There’s something tragically-comical about the poet applying this romantic phrase to a tragic period in Australian history. But then we Australians do have a habit of bouncing back from hard times and laughing about it.

waltzing matilda

Banjo Patterson’s Book of Old Bush Songs: A B Patterson: Public Domain

Let’s Unpack the Strange Words of the Song Together

First Verse of Waltzing Matilda

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong,
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited ’til his billy boiled,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?
And he sang as he watched and waited ’til his billy boiled,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?

A Swagman, meaning a hobo or itinerant worker has paused to rest under a shady Coolibah  tree, being a eucalyptus found growing near Billabongs, or waterholes and shallow ponds. We can assume he has his worldly belongings wrapped up in a blanket or Swag, and is planning to have a jolly old time catching up with himself.

First he gathers together some kindling. Then he lights a fire to boil tea in a Billy tin can with wire handle, and sings ‘Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?’ He is calling out in his heart for a lady friend to join him. But alas, he only has his ‘Matilda’ Tucker Bag containing his food supplies slung over his shoulder for company.

waltzing matilda

Billy Can on Campfire: Flickr user “Johan Larsson“: CC 2.0

In those days an itinerant wanderer was said to be ‘waltzing matilda’ as his tucker bag swayed to and fro across his back. All is peace for a while though. Matilda is at rest. But there is opportunity on the horizon for some ‘grub‘ i.e. fresh food …

Second Verse of Waltzing Matilda

Along came a jumbuck to drink at the billabong,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he stowed that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
You’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?
And he sang as he watched and waited ’til his billy boiled,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?

As luck would have it a Jumbuck, or sheep strolls down to the waterhole for a refreshing drink. Our swagman grasps his opportunity with both hands with glee, being great delight. After he stuffs it in his tucker bag he knows this will swing more slowly on his back.  The pace of the song slows a little too, for there is trouble brewing as surely as the tea is in his billy can nestling in the embers of his campfire. A shepherd and his dogs are out hunting for the missing sheep …

waltzing matilda

Australian Red and Blue Merle Sheepdogs: Tshay: CC 3.0

Third Verse of Waltzing Matilda

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred,
Down came the troopers, one, two, three,
Whose is that jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?
You’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?
And he sang as he watched and waited ’til his billy boiled,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?

The story and the song gain pace. A squatter, meaning a wealthy rancher or owner-farmer rides up on his expensive horse. He is in the company of three troopers, being mounted policemen the equivalence of local cavalry. Poaching was a serious problem in Australia back then.  Between 1787 and 1852 16,280 men, and 920 women were exported from Britain for stock thieving and arrived with the required skills loaded onboard…

The rancher will want to present the swagman, and his matilda to a local magistrate as evidence. Conviction could earn the swagman a lifetime of hard labour. Hardly the way an itinerant  worker would choose to end his days after roaming on the plains.

Fourth and Final Verse of Waltzing Matilda

Up jumped the swagman, leapt into the billabong,
You’ll never catch me alive, said he,
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by the billabong,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?
And he sang as he watched and waited ’til his billy boiled,
Who’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me?

We hope you’ll come to stay in our luxurious accommodation in Cairns. We have super-comfortable facilities for couples of all ages, their children, and their pets. At a pinch we can accommodate twelve people provided the kids don’t mind roughing it a little. While you may not go dancing matilda in the moonlight we are confident you will love what you find. 

waltzing matilda

Wanggulay 5 Star Accommodation

Let’s Hear Waltzing Matilda Sung by Slim Dusty One More Time

the catch at cairns

Catch at Cairns – A Fish to BBQ at Wanggulay

What’s the catch at Cairns, we hear you say. How can our superb location possibly be so affordable, and so incredibly quiet and peaceful outside of peak season? And our beloved Wanggulay holiday rental. Why is it a fraction of what you might expect to spend at other top-end locations? We’ll let you into a secret. There is no catch at Cairns, or Wanggulay for that matter, except what’s swimming in the ocean, reservoirs, rivers and lakes.

We are a bit of a bargain actually. Because of that we have bookings all year round. We earn more money than expensive resorts that may stand empty week after week which enables us to deliver the very best. The only catch at Cairns is the rich harvest of fresh and seawater fish waiting for you to catch. And deliciously barbecue at our exclusive, private holiday home on the fringe of Cairns we call Wanggulay. Why not stay on, and revel in our part of paradise? Who knows, you might decide to book our place when next in Cairns.

the catch at cairns

Chargrilled Baramundi: Kurman Communications: CC 2.0

The Catch at Cairns – Cast Your Hook and Relax

Cairns and its environs are a perfect place to cast your hook and relax. First, we have a warm tropical climate and we are far from being over-fished.  Secondly, our generous monsoon season keeps our rivers and dams full. So, make your choice. Dangle your hook in fresh or salt water as you prefer.  We can’t promise you a record catch while you are staying at Wanggulay on the forested fringe of Cairns. But we may be able to suggest the best fishing places depending on the season.

Cairns and its environs are an ideal place to discover the immense fishing potential of Far North Queensland. The vast Coral Sea offshore and the lakes, rivers and reservoirs inland abound with marlin and barramundi barracuda deliciously grilled over an open fire using a recipe we may share. There are many more tasty species besides for you to relish and enjoy. Many visitors say we are as close to an angler’s paradise as anywhere on earth.

the catch at cairns

Marlin Caught off Cairns: Kris Hamilton: Public Domain

A Broad Take On the Catch at Cairns That’s Available

Shall we dive in, so to speak and see what’s for supper tonight? We will, but first we have some Cairns fishing basics to share with you …

  • We are a regional city in the ‘wet tropics’ of Far North Queensland, Australia. Therefore we have a wet season from November to April (our summer). We have regular monsoons that fill our rivers and create spectacular waterfalls and cataracts. Our drier season is from May to October (officially winter).  The water temperature in our Coral Sea seldom drops below 23 Celsius (73 Fahrenheit).
  • You will have better luck catching certain fish at particular times of the year.  Barramundi (Asian Sea Bass) come inshore in summer when the water is warmer, while Marlin spawn  from September to December when they are easier to hook. Trevally, Kingfish and Queenfish are regular visitors to river mouths during dry winters. They may even swim inland a short distance.
  • Cairns is an easy-going place to fish because a virtual wilderness surrounds us. And we have a generous number of fresh- and saltwater fishing spots. Being a popular angling destination guarantees abundant tackle shops. These range from ‘moms and pops’ offering personal advice, through to warehouses with every imaginable hook. line and sinker.
  • Locals and visitors do not need fishing licenses, except for privately-stocked ponds and ‘closed waters‘ reserved for conservation. We ask you not to return Carp, Tilapia and Gambusia because they are invasive species. Here’s a list of Coral Reef legal sizes and take limits.

Barramundi can grow to 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) and weigh 60 kilograms (130 pounds), but that would be an exceptional size, seldom seen except in aquariums …

the catch at cairns

Large Barramundi with Barcoo Grunter in Background: Nick Thorne: CC 2.5

The Catch at Cairns: River Fishing Trevally and Queenfish

Cairns has great sand bars, weed holes and riverbeds  to cook these delicious fish. The best spots are the Daintree River 110 kilometres north of our luxury family accommodation,  and Mulgrave and Russel Rivers south of us. Use 4 t0 10 kilogram tackle (9 to 20 pound) to land a good one. We have healthy populations of blue salmon, bream, estuary cod, flathead, and whiting king waiting to challenge your angling skills. Rest assured these fish are good fighters.

Rich Estuary Fishing in Trinity Inlet off Admiralty Island

Let’s pause for a moment at a remarkable spot offshore from Cairns. This was where the Mulgrave River once entered the Coral Sea before volcanic activity shifted its course. Sediments accumulated over volcanic rocks during this event. These gave birth to the mudflats, mangroves, and the muddy Admiralty Island  these great fish love.

The Trinity Inlet does more than shelter inbound berthing for the Port of Cairns, the region’s sole tanker berth, and a Royal Australian Navy base. It also hosts renewable resources of barramundi, flathead, fingermark,  grunter, mangrove jack, trevally, and salmon in 90 kilometres of waterways where you may freely fish. Although subject to quota to preserve the rich resource.

the catch at cairns

Flying Fish Point: Archmage01: CC 2.0

Beach Fishing Off Golden Sands for Families with Children

The catch at Cairns beaches may not be the richest in the warm Coral Sea, but this is a super way to introduce kids to the open air joys of angling. Take Flying Fish Point for example, where fishing off the beach may land a plump barramundi, or a fighting red mangrove jack. Other popular spots are Palm Cove, Yorkeys Knob, Port Douglas, and along the Captain Cook Highway between. All have good facilities, with a likelihood of landing queenfish, trevally, whiting, and mackeral too.

Cairns beach fishing is a great recreational activity for everyone in the family. Because our beaches offer golden sands for suntans, rock pools to explore, and safe swimming with lifeguards. And places to build sandcastles while the barbecue sizzles under your fresh catch of Far North Queensland line fish. And for those that prefer it, we have some quiet, private naturist beaches too. The catch at Cairns you get is what you fancy, on the day.

the catch at cairns

Sweetlip Emperor Fish: Jean-Lou Justine: CC 4.0

‘Bottom Bouncing’ the Catch at Cairns off the Great Barrier Reef

Our Great Barrier Reef is rich in sea-bottom-feeding fish, with some real whoppers lurking there including red emperor, coral trout and nannygai saddletail snappers lurking in the depths. The gorgeous sweetlip emperor fish in the photo grows up to 90 centimetres long (35 inches) from head to tail. Fry the fillets in extra virgin oil. Then spoil them with a half tomato finely sliced, a tablespoon chopped pine nuts, two teaspoons oregano leaves, and the juice of a lemon freshly squeezed.

Bottom fishing, or bouncing is a matter of trawling a 30 to 45 kilogram (60 t0 100 pound) hand line to attract predatory, carnivorous fish rifling through the larder in the sand and coral formations below. This gives you the best possible chance of snagging one, since they are already in a feeding frenzy. You may like us to recommend an experienced charter for your fishing holiday when you arrive. You can’t do this easily from a distance, because the right choice depends on the climate and the season on the day.

the catch at cairns

Boats Ready to Deliver The Catch at Cairns: Neal Jennings: CC 2.0

Deep Sea Fishing – The Catch at Cairns for Serious Anglers

The Great Barrier Reef, and the continental shelf nearby us are both great places to hunt for our local denizens of the deep. Our black marlin are always ready to put up a fight and may win. Our numerous smaller barracuda, dorado, sailfish, wahoo, and spanish mackerel make tasty eating.  It’s no wonder there always seem to be fishing charters leaving Cairns harbour. You could enjoy great views of them from the Cairns Esplanade where the seafood restaurants are excellent.

The preferred times for deep-sea angling in Far North Queensland are from November through to March. Charters travel a way out to sea, and so the rates for basic services are $395 per person assuming  a party of at least five. You could pay up to $1,950 to deep sea fish under the guidance of a an expert. If you want just the two of you on board, then budget up to $5,000 for an experience you could remember for a lifetime. And perhaps have a magnificent trophy for your den too.

The Finest Catch for Serious Holidaymakers at Cairns

When you have done your day of fishing – and we sincerely hope have landed a great catch – thoughts turn to a pleasant evening dining on the tasty proceeds. We have several restaurants in town that will prepare and cook it for you with pleasure. However you may prefer to do the same at our holiday rental some angling parties have called ‘the best catch of all’.

We have super outdoor barbecue facilities, and a five star kitchen with all the appliances you expect to find at home. Our freestanding, very private accommodation nestles cheek and jowl with pristine, indigenous rain forest. And there’s a river a short walk away where you may find no one else besides yourselves. So do come on in and enjoy. Enjoy the finest holiday rental in Cairns. We can’t promise that you will land the catch of your lifetime. But we do promise to do our very best to make you feel welcome as our very valued, very special guest.

curious mammals of far north queensland

Curious Mammals of Far North Queensland

The wet tropics of extreme northeast Australia extend 450 kilometres (280 miles) along the coast. Rain forests watered by seasonal monsoons  maintain a moist environment where curious mammals of Far North Queensland roam. UNESCO lists the region as ‘an area possessing outstanding scenic features, natural beauty, and magnificent sweeping landscapes’. It praises ‘an exceptionally high level of diversity of both flora and fauna’ too.  This diversity includes rare plants, unusual birds, strange reptiles, and 107 mammal species living in dense vegetation, some seen nowhere else.

curious mammals of far north queensland

Swimming Holes but Mind the Crocs: Jim Bendon: CC 2.0

Curious Mammals of Far North Queensland to See

These cute, and not so cute and cuddly creatures are among the oldest surviving species in the known universe. Scientists divide them into three main groups. These categories are:

  • Egg-laying monotremes (platypus and  spiny ant eaters)
  • Marsupials with ‘kindergarten pouches’ (kangaroo and wallabies)
  • Unusual mammals that bear fully-formed youngsters like us

Some of these curious mammals of Far North Queensland live in trees, from where they peer down upon inquisitive humans curiously. One lives in the water and lays eggs. The rest live on the forest floor, often near human settlements where we may disturb their prey. Please do drive carefully at night through Far North Queensland rain forests, because some may forage for freshly-killed food on roads. Night-adapted eyes are sensitive to light. Car headlamps and torches can distract attention for one critical moment, and then their life is gone.

curious mammals of far north queensland

The Agile Wallaby: Glen Fergus: CC 3.0

The Agile Wallaby Macropus Agilis, or Sandy Wallaby

Although Agile Wallabies are solitary creatures, they may feed together in ‘mobs’ in open pasture to guard each other. The males weigh between 16 and 27 kilograms (35 to 60 pounds), with a head-to-tail length as much as 1.7 meters (5.5 feet). The females are on average one third smaller. These curious mammals of Far North Queensland raise their babies in their pouches for eight months, and finally wean them after eleven.

These generally harmless creatures were once endemic to northern Australia, especially in grasslands, dunes, heaths and open woodland. They prefer to feed near rivers, and bilabongs being isolated ponds. They are close to becoming a threatened species owing to farmers hunting them legally to protect their crops, and cars colliding with them on roads. This short report suggests our Cairns Agile Wallabies are among the last surviving mobs in Queensland.

curious mammals of far north queensland

Bennett’s Tree-Kangaroo: Sandra Lloyd: CC 3.0

Another Curious Australian Mammal – Bennett’s Tree-Kangaroo

These elusive creatures have adapted to living semi-permanently in trees, although they can bound between them if they need to, across open ground.  They have been seen leaping as much as 9 meters (30 feet) down to a lower branch. And drop 18 meters (59 feet) from a treetop to the ground without harming themselves. This surely qualifies Bennett’s Tree-Kangaroo for the shortlist of the most curious mammals of Far North Queensland. The females weigh 8 to 10 kilograms (17 to 23 lbs), and the males some 25% more so they must have ‘springs in their legs’.

Bennetts Tree-Kangaroos are a ‘near threatened species’. Although their numbers are increasing, we only find them between Daintree some 125 kilometres (8o miles) north of us, and Cooktown a similar distance further on. Their habitat extends for some 50 kilometres (30 miles) inland through tropical rain forest leading to isolated mountains. The shy creatures are herbivores hunted by pythons and wild dingo dogs.

curious mammals of far north queensland

Daintree Ringtail Possum: Australian Wildlife Conservancy

More Curious Mammals of Far North Queensland – Ringtail Possums

This rare, elusive creature inhabits upland and highland forests far away from dingo territory. From head to tail is measures around 65 centimetres (25 inches), of which the latter makes up half. Its favourite habitat is high-rainfall, misty tropical rain forests, where it lives on tree leaves and a few choice fruits. The solitary creature rears its young in a pouch kangaroo style, and shelters in daytime in hollow trees.

It is vulnerable to attacks by pythons, owls and other raptors, especially when it carries its older young on its back before weaning. The Australian Wildlife Conservancy is doing it’s best to preserve the three remaining colonies at Thornton Peak, Mount Windsor Tableland, and Mount Carbine Tableland. The best time to spot ringtail possums is at night, when driving slowly along Mount Lewis Road with flashlights some 150 kilometres (100 miles) north of our luxury holiday rental home on the fringe of Cairns.

curious mammals of far north queensland

Yellow Bellied Glider Receiving Tender Care: Doug Beckers: CC 2.0

Rare and Curious Australian Mammals that ‘Fly’

We have no idea what happened to this little fellow, but he seems happily content. Good photos are hard to come by, because Yellow Bellied Gliders AKA Fluffy Gliders live high up in tall eucalyptus trees, and glide between them. They manage this by leaping into the air and spreading out their arms and legs. This in turns stretches out a membrane between their 5th fingers and their ankles. After leaping forth from up on high, Yellow Bellied Gliders have been known to travel 100 meters (320 feet) through the air high above the forest floor.

These marsupials about the size of rabbits are gregarious, preferring to spend their days together in family groups in tree hollows. They are possums and so from the same tribe as the Daintree Ringtails. These curious mammals of Far North Queensland enjoy a delicious diet of nectar, honeydew, insects, pollen, and sap from eucalyptus, corymbia, angophora, and lophostemon trees. The furry little fellows are classified vulnerable, owing to loggers and farmers chopping down their habitats without providing sustainable alternatives. The Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland is trying its best to mitigate by proving nesting boxes, but results are inconclusive.

The Arboreal Herbivorous Marsupial We Call a Koala Bear

We hate to a spoil a secret but a Koala is not a bear at all. It’s closest relatives are wombats.  Koalas are also somewhat irritable, preferring to sleep for 20 hours a day. That’s about the only other thing Koalas do besides snacking on their favourite take-away eucalyptus leaves. They are also fairly solitary, spending an average 15 minutes a day socialising, or 1% of their time.

If another Koala bothers them they snarl and grunt and bite. Sorry to have to dispel your illusion of cuddly Koala Bears. We think it best you know they have an attitude and are best viewed quietly from a distance in the forest. Koalas are commonest in South Queensland, although you could likely spot one in riverine rain forests north of Cairns.  Koala Gardens in Kuranda provides close-up views of Koalas looking cute, eating eucalyptus leaves, snapping at each other, and yes, sleeping.

curious mammals of far north queensland

“Duckbilled” Platypus: Peter Scheunis: CC 1.0

So Mammals Hunt on Dry Land and Give Birth to Babies?

The last of our curious mammals of Far North Queensland is the oddest of them all. National Geographic goes as far saying early scientists believed ‘nature’s most unlikely creatures‘ were a hoax. “The animal,” they explained,  “is best described as a hodgepodge of more familiar species: the duck (bill and webbed feet), beaver (tail), and otter (body and fur). Males are also venomous. They have sharp stingers on the heels of their rear feet and can use them to deliver a strong toxic blow to any foe.” Well, we Aussies always have been an independent lot!

Fortunately for us, platypuses are not particularly large. Males average 50 centimetres (12 inches) and weigh a maximum 2.4 kilograms (5.3 pounds) with females slightly smaller. They are meat eaters that find their prey through electro reception, by detecting the electric fields muscles cause when they contract. They hunt under water  by covering eyes and ears with folds of skin, and closing nostrils tightly. At Wanggulay we do the opposite by being sensitive to guests’ every need.

curious mammals of far north queensland

Al Fresco Dining On the Deck at Sunset: Image Airbnb

At Wanggulay,  We Are Sensitive To Your Every Need

Guests come from around the world to our tropical paradise on the fringe of rain forest, where you may spot a few curious mammals of North Queensland yourself. We wish we could, but we can’t promise though. Cairns is a modern city of near 150,000 residents, and the animals are gradually retreating deeper into the shadows of moist tropical forests. Our government has nature conservation well in hand, and their numbers are stabilising and then increasing.

It would be wonderful to welcome you some day to Wanggulay. We built it for ourselves to use on holidays, and so you will find it quite different from other holiday rentals. Our family still comes here from time to time. We never fail to marvel at how close we are to nature, and how perfectly the timbers of the building merge into the forest almost within reach. A short stroll away are there are peaceful streams and waterfalls, and gorgeous coloured butterflies and birds. We would really like to welcome you some time to Wanggulay, your exclusive holiday home and springboard for trips to the Great Barrier Reef.

curious mammals of far north queensland

Blue Starfish on Great Barrier Reef: Copyright (c) 2004 Richard Ling: CC 3.0

cairns art galleries and museums

Cairns Art Galleries and Museums

Cairns is a young city by european standards founded in 1876. Although when Captain Cook visited Far North Queensland in 1770 he found a well-established Walubara Yidinji indigenous population that may have been there for tens of thousands of years. Settlers and aboriginal people  fought tooth and nail during a period most Australians would hope to move on from. Today the two cultural streams are learning to share a common vision. The Cairns art galleries and museums we feature salute our history, and the new directions we are moving in.

What Makes Cairns Art Galleries and Museums Unique

Far North Queenslanders are proudly different. Hence our art galleries are not exactly the Louvre in Paris, or the Tate in London on the River Thames. In a similar vein, please do not expect a replica of the Victoria and Albert Museum when you come and visit us. Instead, experience our art as a reflection of our diverse range of humanity in all its facets. Because our Cairns museums are the store of the tangible, and intangible record of our endeavours, and we tell it as it is.

cairns art galleries and museums

Function Venue: Tanks Art Centre

The Multi-Function Tanks Art Centre in Edge Hill Cairns

No, we are not talking about the Australian Armour & Artillery Museum here. That one comes up next. The connection here is the buildings look a bit like a collection of round water tanks if you scroll down at that link. The Tanks Art Centre is an eclectic self-supporting place some say is the best contemporary music venue in our region. It also also hosts local and visiting arts expo’s, where you can wander through and see work in progress unfold before your eyes.

But that’s not all by far. Tanks also entertains visitors staying in our luxury holiday accommodation with drama productions. These sometimes feature adaptions of Shakespeare’s well-known plays, and they also present children’s theatre too. They have great workshops for learning exercise and dancing, while their Monday Monthly Market Day is the perfect place to experience a unique slice of culture in the tropics. We recommend this highly.

Armour Displays at  Cairns Art Galleries and Museums Newbie

The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum is one of the newest Cairns art galleries and museums, having opened in May 2014. The curators dedicate themselves to showcasing tanks, artillery pieces, and armoured vehicles from World War I onward. This is a rare opportunity to see a part of Cairns history less traveled nowadays. For many young men from Cairns and further afield have left our shores to do battle, and never returned.

The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum hosts armoured vehicle rides super for kids. They even have a shooting range for older ones and adults, where they can test their shooting skills with British and German bolt action rifles. There is a great souvenir and gift store with construction toys for children. On the 2nd and 3rd September every year they fire up a dozen historic armoured vehicles, so visitors can experience ‘actual combat conditions’ although some may find this an uncomfortable way to spend their time.

cairns art galleries and museums

Doongal Aboriginal Art: Cairns Today

Discover the Unwritten Culture of Australia’s Original People

Australia’s oldest citizens did not have a written language. They expressed themselves in words instead, and set their thoughts down in song and dance and art. You can sense their souls in the remarkable gallery of Doongal Aboriginal Art. The display is regularly refreshed, as the current generation makes its own unique additions to the growing collection.

Our Wanggulay, bali-style holiday rental reflects the unique architecture of our remarkable region. We are conveniently located for visits to Tjapukai Cultural Park where the Djabugay people celebrate their joy of living with fire and flame. Cairns in Far North Queensland is an amazing mix of cultures. You really ought to visit sometime. After we meet and greet, our Wanggulay becomes your own exclusive space you share with nobody.

cairns art galleries and museums

Clearing Mangrove Swamps: Cairns Museum

The Cairns Historical Society’s Record of a Pioneering Past

The Cairns Historical Society formed in 1958 to preserve the history of North Queensland in Australia. Its showcase display is probably the leader among Cairns art galleries and museums in terms of size of collection. For it has 3,100 books, 23,000 photographs, 2,250 maps and 25,000 documents on local and area history. These provide a must-see timeline for anyone interested in how our city evolved.

There are four main galleries, plus a fifth one for temporary expo’s. Thus you have a choice of a broad timeline, a snapshot of early days, a view into what it is like living in the tropics, and how a settlement became a modern city. The Cairns Regional Museum is generally open Monday through to Saturday from 10am to 4 pm. However it is closed from 25 to 26 December, on News Year’s Day, and Good Friday when the staff take a well-deserved break to spend time with their families and friends.

cairns art galleries and museums

Cairns Indigenous Art Centre: UMI Arts

A Non-Profit Among Cairns Art Galleries and Museums

UMI Arts in downtown Cairns has an indigenous board of directors dedicated to helping aboriginal people participate in, maintain and protect their cultural identity. It’s remit includes those living in Far North Queensland, and the islanders of the Torres Strait beyond which lies New Guinea. The UMI Cairns Indigenous Art Centre is part of this outreach, for it exists in turn to encourage local artists.

UMI is a creole word meaning ‘you and me’, and we need to work together to keep our culture strong. The gallery partly funds itself through facility and equipment hire, and event management services. It also has an active program of visual arts, music, and performances. From time-to-time they hold street markets to showcase indigenous creative business If the idea twangs a tune a tune in your heart then visit them. You could end up buying an original work to treasure for a long time.

The Winding Walkway: Crystal Caves Cairns

The Crystal Caves – René Boissevain’s One Man Vision

Our dictionary insists a museum is ‘a building in which objects of historical, scientific, artistic, or cultural interest are stored and exhibited.’ Well that certainly is the case at the Crystal Caves, one man’s vision of the beauty he desired. After a lifetime searching he still travels to every corner of the world, to add to his collection of crystallised fossils, gemstones, mineral specimens,  and rocks of all kinds. Only the most perfect are good enough for René Boissevain’s collection.

There are over 600 works of natural art in the virtual caves this remarkable person built. They create the impression of entering deep grottoes underground, and discovering the formations for yourself. In his own words, René and his young family arrived from Holland in 1964. It took a while for his interest in minerals to develop, but when it did there was no looking back. Crystal Caves, for us, is a tribute to the multi-faceted society we call Australian.  As also is this post: Saluting our history, and the remarkable talent in Far North Queensland on show in Cairns art galleries and museums. We’ll sign out, but just for now. See you soon.

luxury shopping in cairns

Luxury Shopping in Cairns: The Lowdown from Locals

Cairns is a modern, vibrant city in North Queensland, Australia, with a population of approximately 150,000 people out of a regional  total of around 240,000. Consequently we have fabulous shopping districts, made extra special by the relaxing sub-tropical coastal vibe. Many folk who come to stay at Wanggulay indulge in serious retail therapy while they are here. Because being on vacation, they can spend all day doing luxury shopping in Cairns if they wish.

We created Wanggulay, arguably one of Cairns’ best luxury holiday rental’s, to reflect our community’s laid-back atmosphere best enjoyed outdoors in nature. Therefore, we ensured Wanggulay’s day room gazes out across pure heritage rain forest, with a generous balcony with space for outdoor dining. As you can see we have included every luxury, so all will be here when you arrive. In the fact the only thing that’s missing is YOU relaxing with friends and family in those comfy chairs!

luxury shopping in cairns

Wanggulay Holiday Accommodation Stunner

Luxury Shopping In Cairns at the Cairns Central Arcade

The Cairns Central Shopping Arcade incorporates the main railway station making access particularly convenient. There are three large department stores, namely a mid-to-upmarket Myer, a budget Kmart, and a mid-priced Target. Then there is a Coles for food and groceries, plus a six cinema movie house for family chilling later. But that’s not all by far, because Cairns is always full of surprises.

Cairns Central also hosts a variety of smaller niche retail businesses, such as fashion, fashion accessory, health and beauty, leisure, home, and a variety of other outlets too. There are food and dining opportunities far too many to mention. Some guests have commented you could dine around the world beneath one single, spreading roof. Regular shopping centre hours are from 9:00am t0 5:30pm Monday to Saturday, and from 10:30am to 4:00pm on Sundays. However a number of businesses, notably restaurants and diners are open before and after these times.

luxury shopping in cairns

Cairns Central: Fosnez: Public Domain

More Luxury Shopping in Cairns Down at the Pier

While Cairns Central is superbly good at being just that, The Pier Cairns pips it to the post in terms of ambience down at the yacht harbour. Its marketing people certainly are correct when they say it is unlike any other venue for luxury shopping in Cairns. It has specialty clothing stores, precious mineral jewelers, its very own art gallery, and a string of great restaurants along the boardwalk.

We think these restaurants really are the star attraction, although there are naturally other fine dining establishments elsewhere in the city and surrounds. That said, there are great choices of cuisine on offer at The Pier Cairns too, including steak, seafood, barbecue and grill, and Italian and Asian cuisines to mention only two. They also have a regular round of specialty niche events, so you are bound to find something to suit your tastes here.

The Pier Cairns: Mhenr18: Public Domain

The Direct Factory Outlet for Luxury Shopping with No Frills

In case you haven’t come across them yet, DFO Direct Factory Outlets are a relatively new Australian innovation. They are large-floor warehouse type buildings with air conditioning  and partitioned stores where national retailers sell excess stock, or overruns from the previous season. Direct Factory Outlets are great places for finding bargains, provided you shop with an open mind because you may not find exactly what you hoped for.

The Cairns DFO is a short drive inland from the Cairns coastal strip. They have 3 supermarkets, 24 fashion / apparel stores, 5 shops to browse for handbags and luggage, and 3 footwear outlets, but that’s not all. There are 12 specialty shops, 11 lifestyle and beauty boutiques, 5 home and furniture places, and 1o restaurants and diners. If you cannot find a way to spend money here, then you were not meant to. Happy shopping …

luxury shopping in cairns

DFO Cairns: Image Sentinel Property Website

Evening Shopping at the Cairns Night Markets and Food Court

Cairns people gather on summer evenings when the heat of the day is gone, and the balmy waters of the Coral Sea and our laid-back nightlife beckon. Our open air night market is increasingly popular and no wonder. What a marvellous opportunity the stands present to discover the true nature of the place and people, as they come out to play after a day at work. Take the Cairns Night Markets and Food Court, for example.

While there are elements of luxury shopping in Cairns here too, the vibe is generally more casual with opportunities for fine dining alfresco. Your lighthearted company will spice up specialties like Chinese takeaways, and New Zealand ice cream for hot balmy nighty with stars twinkling over the ocean. The 131 stalls cater for lovers of clothing, accessories, indigenous crafts, jewellery, alternative healing, and of course souvenirs. Dress casually as you like.

luxury shopping in cairns

Night Market in Cairns: Elder Matias: CC 2.0

A Prime Position for Luxury Shopping in Cairns, Abbott Street

Abbott Street is the first road inland from the Cairns Esplanade and Yacht Club, and hence prime retail property. The DFS Galleria presence in Cairns provides an exclusive selection of top accessory, fashion, jewellery, and watch brands. This is the perfect place for gifts for yourself, or special friends. International travelers qualify for duty free prices on food and wine too. Remember to bring your itinerary and passport when visiting this luxury space.

The DFS Galleria Cairns is part of a global network promising ‘world-class service with a personal touch. Returns, repairs, and exchanges are possible at any store, anywhere in the world in person or by mail. The range of brands on offer in Cairns is impressive. We go there quite often to wander through and dream. This is an A1 place for a rainy day afternoon.

DFS Galleria Cairns: Shopping Court

North, South, East, or West Wanggulay’s Best for Relaxing

We created Wanggulay – one of Cairns’ most exclusive luxury holiday rentals – to reflect our community’s laid-back atmosphere and the exquisite tastes of our guests. We ensured Wanggulay’s luxury day room gazes out across pure heritage rain forest, including a generous balcony with space for outdoor dining. As you can see we have included every luxury, so all will be here when you arrive. In the fact the only thing that’s missing is YOU, relaxing with friends and family in those comfy chairs over your favourite beverage!

The above is a just grab sample of where to go for luxury shopping in Cairns. We did not get around to visiting Smithfield Shopping Centre for family purchases. Or Stockland Cairns with big names like Amart, Big W, Coles, Target, and Woolworths. Rest assured Cairns is no ‘aussie backwater,’ although we are still friendly and approachable like country folk. Come and visit us. Come and spoil yourself with luxury shopping in Cairns, after drifting across the Great Barrier Reef all day long. And seeing the untold beauty of nature beneath the water, almost within reach so you could touch.

luxury shopping in cairns

Agincourt Reef (Part of Great Barrier Reef off Cairns): Robert Linsdell: CC 2.0

cairns waterfalls

Cairns Waterfalls Tumbling from The Tableland

The eastern edge of Far North Queensland is a low-lying narrow coastal strip. The Great Barrier Reef is close by in the Coral Sea, while to the west there are lush green rain forests populated with flocks of colourful birds. Further inland, the terrain rises steeply westward to the fertile Atherton Tableland. Thanks to generous rainfall we have gorgeous Cairns waterfalls throughout the year.

The best time to visit Cairns waterfalls is from January to March, when the monsoon season dumps vast quantities of rain throughout the region. Streams become rivers, and cascades mighty torrents raising spray into the sky. After the bounteous bonanza clears, the waterfalls become more gentle playthings. At the height of summer, some of Cairns best waterfalls like Milla Milla provide delightful natural swimming pools, with large smooth rocks the delight of families.

cairns waterfalls

Tinaroo Falls: Owen Allen: CC 2.0

The Mighty Barron River Waterfall

Tinarro Falls is just below Tinaroo Dam high up on the Atherton Tableland. During monsoon season, this tributary of the Barron River sends huge volumes of tumbling water through the Barron Gorge. Barron Waterfall marks the point where the river begins a series of four cascading drops totaling 107 meters / 351 feet on its way to the Coral Sea.

At the height of the monsoon rain season these drops become thundering cascades across a width of 259 meters (850 feet). After this is over, they reduce to trickles, owing to the remaining water diverting to a hydroelectric power station. There are three great ways to view the largest of Cairns Waterfalls. First, the Kennedy Highways passes just upstream. And then we also have a skyrail cable car popular for informal weddings, and a retro passenger train providing dramatic year round views.

cairns waterfalls

Barron Falls near Kuranda, Australia One January: Ashlsimm: Use for Any Purpose If Attributed

Onward to Mungalli Falls Near Cairns, Far North Queensland

The Barron Waterfall undoubtedly takes the cake for brute power among Cairns waterfalls in season. However Mungalli is more beautifully delicate as it drops 90 meters in several cascades over  sheets of rock. There are great photo opportunities from the viewing platform. Delightfully, there is a great swimming hole at the bottom of the falls just an hour’s or so drive from our luxury accommodation rental with genuine natural rain forest at the bottom of the garden.

There’s a nice view from the top at the Mungalli Student Village, Wilderness Retreat, and Outdoor Education Centre. Thereafter, walk along the track past a wide rocky cascade to the bottom of the falls. The trail continues onward for a short distance before terminating at the viewing platform in the photo. Swimming is permitted. By all means be our guest on a summer’s day.

cairns waterfalls

Mungalli Falls Near Cairns, and Wanggulay: Jim Bendon: CC 2.0

Millstream, the Widest Drop of All Cairns Waterfalls

There are two waterfalls to see here. This makes the 147-kilometre trip from Wanggulay even more worthwhile. Once you reach reach the old pioneering town of Ravenshoe – well worth a visit – follow the signs to Big Millstream Falls. Inquire locally for the route to Little Millstream Falls which is delicately pretty on a more minor scale.

Big Millstream Falls plunges over the edge of a columnar basalt lava flow in spectacular style. There are several walking trails in the shadow of the Great Dividing Range. There are also World War II remains to visit at this, the highest point of North Queensland. Much of them are ‘as left’ when 1,000 troops departed in 1945. Tread gently here for some of the boys who swam here never returned. A lovely, but sometimes bittersweet place …

Big Millstream Falls: Mike Lehmann, Mike Switzerland: CC 3.0

Cascading Water at Another of Our Lovely Cairns Waterfalls

Not all waterfalls have to be that dramatic. A gentler flow often creates a larger, more generous swimming hole as is the case with Malanda Falls. It doubles as a swimming pool for the locals, so a great opportunity for the kids to meet new friends. The water from the North Johnstone River is prone to spilling over in the rainy season. This creates a great conservation area with two 20-minute trails to follow.

Malanda is an old mining town dating from the tin and copper rush, and from where Malanda Milk comes you’ll find in supermarkets in Cairns. There’s a great historic resource center in the town itself, and interesting hotels and pubs from pioneering days. Malanda Falls have another claim to fame you won’t often see. You can swim with platypus at the bottom of it if you can find one, because the water is crocodile free.

cairns waterfalls

Malanda Falls: Joel Annesley: CC 2.0

Mount Hypipamee National Park and Dinner Falls

This gorgeous national park is some 120kilometres (75 miles) from Wanggulay along the Gillies Highway but definitely worth a visit. The attraction centers around a volcanic pipe that once blasted gas, but is now a deep, tranquil lake.  While the 400-metre (1,300 foot) path is longer than the other waterfalls we write about here, you will be rewarded by a viewing platform providing uninterrupted views into the crater.

The walk to the bottom of the waterfall through rain forest will take you forty-five minutes in total, but it is well worth it because of opportunities to see tree kangaroos and possums. There is also great bird life including  victoria’s riflebird, bridled honeyeaters and golden and tooth-billed bowerbirds. Entrance is free but organised and commercial groups do require permits. After all this writing we are ready for a swim in another of Cairns waterfalls you should visit. See you there.

cairns waterfalls

Dinner Falls: Spalti: CC 2.0

 

 

Natures Wedding Venues in Cairns, North Queensland

Cairns is a magnet for couples marrying, not to mention those on first and second honeymoons too. Our pleasant, laid back environment inspires thoughts of living together forever in the future. The city and surrounds have numerous commercial wedding venues at resorts, hotels, and country retreats. Some couples feel there have been so many weddings in these places, that it is almost like a ritual repeated many times before. Thus they prefer to make their promises in nature without a formal ceremony. We wrote this post to introduce four of natures wedding venues in Cairns.

Here we share some of the loveliest natural spots we know of in our tropical paradise. In this regard please note we don’t make arrangements, conduct marriages, and lay on banquets afterwards. We are simply custodians of one of the best places for loving couples, and perhaps their guests to stay. We can accommodate up to two dozen people in two separate luxury holiday rentals. One has a flatlet on a separate level on its own. We will introduce you to local people we know well, who do make arrangements, conduct marriages, and lay on banquets afterwards. Does this sound like a good deal to you.

natures wedding venues in cairns

Luxury Living: Wanggulay Master Suite

Natures Wedding Venues in Cairns at Waterfalls

Cairns has almost a dozen gorgeous waterfalls within easy driving distance of our luxury Wanggulay holiday accommodation. We believe the loveliest of them is Millaa Millaa, the aboriginal world for the elaeagnus triflora rain forest vine with deliciously tangy fruit high in antioxidants. The falls plunge 18 meters and are approximately 100 kilometres from Cairns on Gillies Range Road.

Millaa Millaa was once a regular camping spot for mule trains traveling to and from remote settlements and mines. The area they leveled for bivouacking has since become a grassed viewing area surrounded by indigenous vegetation. There are toilets, barbecues, a shelter shed, and information displays in bus shelters. This is also a lovely swimming hole for a quiet dip out of season. The water is crisp, but equally refreshing. This is one of the best of natures wedding venues in Cairns we know, albeit it not for winter swims.

natural wedding venues in cairns

Milla Milla Falls: John Hill: CC 4.0

Cairns Botanic Gardens Make a Divine Wedding Venue Too

The Cairns Botanic Gardens has the best collection of tropical plants anywhere in Australia. You may have heard it called the Flecker Botanic Gardens after the founder but the two are the same thing. There are gentle trails for walking through the Flecker and Gondwana Heritage Gardens,  pausing at the Watkins Munro Martin Conservatory, relaxing on lawns around the Freshwater and Saltwater Lakes, and perhaps quietly exchanging promises in the Zhanjiang Friendship Gardens.

The Cairns Botanic Gardens are open all year round from 7.30am to 5.30pm, and entry is free for all. A dream wedding could happen right here in this divine setting. The Cairns Regional Council  hires wedding venues if you prefer a formal ceremony. There are a variety of guided tours available to familiarize yourself with the layout, and a visitor centre although this is closed on Christmas Day, and on afternoons on public holidays. The gardens are rich in birds and butterflies.  The paths are all wheelchair friendly, except for a few in the Flecker Heritage  Garden. Our guests praise this venue highly.

natural wedding venues in cairns

Tropical Rain Forest in Cairns Botanic Gardens: Brewbooks: CC 2.0

A Private Space for a Quiet, Intimate Ceremony in the Clouds

The Barron River Canyon is a 30-kilometre gorge carved out between the mountains with rugged hiking trails. Fortunately for loving couples seeking solitude there is a cable way crossing over it on its way up to historic pioneer Kuranda Village.  There is also a period railway line snaking up the mountains through 15 tunnels, and over 37 bridges. It is possible to combine the two, so you go up one way up from Cairns, and back down the other way.

The Cairns Skyrail cable service comprises 11 ‘diamond view’ gondolas spaced 7 minutes apart. They also have a more hectic, open plan ‘platform’, with guard rails and a ranger in control. The gondolas seat five passengers making them perfect for a bridal couple plus two friends as witnesses. We suggest reserving the fifth seat for the champagne and tasty snacks you bring along with you. This could be the coolest of natures wedding venues in Cairns.

natural wedding venues in cairns

Cairns Skyrail with Coral Sea Beyond: Amayagan: CC 2.0

A Secret Wedding Treading Water On The Great Barrier Reef

We saved the best of all our natures wedding venues in Cairns until last. Let’s say you are determined to promise your undying allegiance and love, but your family or friends are not ready for whatever reason they have. Perhaps they will never be comfortable with your relationship, but you are in love and that’s what matters. At Wanggulay we welcome all loving couples to our romantic holiday accommodation, because we believe that love has no boundaries or fences.

So here’s our suggestion for your private wedding. Take a ferry from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef an hour’s fast catamaran ride away.  When you get there, change into swimming costumes with hidden pockets for your wedding rings. Slip into the warm, embracing water. After you swim a short distance slide the wedding rings over each other’s fingers and declare your undying love. Share a lingering kiss under the great blue sky. Nature is your witness. Now you are finally wed, forever, in endlessly creative nature.

natural wedding venues in cairns

Endlessly Creative Nature: Kyle Taylor: CC 2.0

Your Super Honeymoon Accommodation at Wanggulay on the Edge of Cairns

We invite you to spend your honeymoon at Wanggulay, regardless of the wedding venue you select. You don’t have to choose one of natures wedding venues in Cairns as we suggested. There are many excellent, more formal facilities in numerous city hotels and resorts. But for intimate accommodation, can you think of a better place than Wanggulay, the retreat that belongs to loving couples. We are the the place you always dreamed of staying after you make your marriage promises, and set off together on life’s journey.

We have two super private luxury rentals from which to choose. They are Bali-style, with upstairs bedrooms and spacious wooden decks. The only thing you will see from bed are treetops around the house, and birds twittering in the trees. We equipped the units with comforts you expect to find at home, because we use them for our own holidays too. You will find everything clean and in good working order, and we are attentive to your requests. We will even stock the fridge and larder for you, with no service charge when you place your order. Do we have a deal? We’d love it if you came to stay in Wanggulay!

natures wedding venues in Cairns

Private Plunge Pool at Wanggulay