Arriving in Cairns, which is located in the Northern tip of Queensland, we are definitely paying the price for our gorgeous calm sea day yesterday. Cairns is located in a tropical rain forest and this is the wet season. Well the weather didn’t disappoint, as we experienced the equivalent of a monsoon.
As we docked in Cairns, this was my first view of the shore OMG !! Viking have taken us to heaven, with a brewery at the bottom of the gangway. Life just doesn’t get any better.
I headed up to Deck 8 about 06:00, having just missed a torrential downpour, but the decks were still covered in water. Got almost an hour of walking before the ship was hit with another squall and torrential rain. Saw it coming from the port side and just made it under cover, forward of the pool. Decided that my walking was over, so headed back to the cabin, after some stretching.
Since we departed Australia to visit Noumea, the Australian authorities required another face to face meeting before going ashore in Cairns. The ship arranged this rather well, so we had minimal delays before our included tour.
- Tour Type – Ship’s Tour, Included
- Tour Name – Panoramic Cairns
- Duration – 2.5 hrs
- Summary – Scenic drive around the Esplanade, then visits to Botanical Gardens, Ellis Beach and Palm Cove.
As designed, the tour provided a great summary of the local area, but the weather and especially our guide and driver made this a memorable experience, but for the wrong reasons.
Started well, with a drive along the Esplanade, which runs for about 2 miles along the waterfront. Really great area with lots of shady trees, huge pool, exercise equipment and huge kid’s playgrounds. The tour included a 15-20 min walk through the Botanical Gardens, but as we arrived, the rain started, so our walk was changed to a drive through. Next stop was the Karunda Railway, where we were scheduled to take a trip tomorrow.
This was a perfect stop in the rain, as on departing the bus it was only a few feet until we reached cover and the entire station was under cover.
We walked past the ticket office and shop, then through the cafe, seen above.
We hopped back aboard the bus, where again they had covers until the last step before boarding the bus. Departing the station we headed up Capt Cook Hwy about 17 miles north of Cairns to Ellis Beach, where we saw the beach and then the bus turned around and we headed to Palm Cove, which was only a couple of miles.
At this point, we were in the middle of a full blown monsoon, with torrential rain. The water at the side of the road was 4 to 6″ deep and running like a river. Needless to say, we didn’t get off the bus. We observed a very tourist area, with lots of condos, cafes, bars, restaurants, etc and the rain forest extending down to the water. However, upon return to the ship, pax on other buses told us this is where Captain Cook landed and they are restricting the height of buildings. By keeping buildings below the tree line, they are retaining the same view that Capt Cook had on arrival. Our guide mentioned that Capt Cook was killed in Hawaii, but omitted the local facts.
Our driver thought he was a race car driver, driving way too fast for the conditions. We went through standing water so fast the water was higher than the bus windows. Going around roundabouts was also interesting. The guide was simply in the wrong job, as she rambled on about trivial matters completely unconnected to our tour.
Ron & Alison were also on our bus and had a similar opinion of the tour. We joined them and another couple for a few drinks in the Living Room, reminiscing and laughing about the tour.
We had already agreed to meet Alison & Ron at their table for a quick dinner, before taking a stroll ashore to same the local wares from the brewery.
Quite a good selection of craft beers, with the Scotch Ale having just been released. Also had a rather pleasant Westcoast IPA, but no stouts or porters.