Having just returned from 5 days in Queensland’s tropical north “the gateway to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef”, I’m enduring a horrible case of post-holiday blues.
It’s actually quite sad how few (long) holidays I’ve had in the past 5 years; a con of being an expat is that all your travel savings end up going towards a visit back home for some reason or other. I love the UK, but it’s no sun, sea and sand!
However, at the start of the year, Joe’s family booked a holiday to Australia, choosing to stay at Trinity Beach, Cairns. Of course, we booked with them and I was counting down the days ever since. Trinity Beach has a relaxed, tropical setting and is 20 minutes north of Cairns so you’re out of the hustle and bustle.
There are many holiday apartment options here, but we booked at On The Beach Holiday Apartments as that’s where Joe’s family were staying. What a great choice! I really couldn’t recommend it more. The apartment was affordable, clean and modern, and the complex itself was really quiet so we had the pools and BBQ areas to ourselves.
Our balcony had an amazing view overlooking the esplanade, and it was just steps away from the beach. Having the option to wake up in the morning, and to stroll to the ocean was a fun lifestyle experience – I could definitely get use to that! It was nice knowing each day that the weather was going to beautifully sunny – it just adds to that holiday feeling with the smell of coconut sun-cream.
The water is also lovely and warm – it felt like a bath some days! As we visited during marine stinger season, the beaches have stinger nets in the water, which act as protective barriers. I did hear through the grapevine that a stinger got through and stung a child, so it can still happen, but it’s far less likely when you swim between the nets.
There are a popular variety of cafes and restaurants along the esplanade (a couple have yummy cocktail menus which is always a bonus), as well as a shopping centre close by. One particular place we stopped at for breakfast is Tranquility Cafe, which has a bit of everything on the menu. Simple but good quality. We couldn’t resist taking a box of their home-made decorated cupcakes with us. The couple who run it are from Melbourne, and came to Trinity Beach for a holiday. They loved it so much, that they went back home, sold their house and returned 6 months later to live. We are temped to do the same!
Although we floated between the pool and beach most days, we did manage to cross a couple of things off the travel list. First up was snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef with Compass Cruises. We did the $109pp day trip package, which includes snorkeling (with equipment) at two reef locations, as well as a BBQ lunch and wine on the way back.
Snorkeling is definitely a lot trickier than it looks! In the end, I found it more comfortable to hold my breath and swim under for as long as I could manage, but perhaps I need more practice in shallow waters before hitting the ocean. Joe was a natural at it though and really enjoyed looking at the underwater reef world. It was a long day, but well worth it, even if I did burn my face to tomato level. The boat crew were really friendly, but I think if I plan to do the experience again, I’ll look around at other boats and maybe pay extra to be more comfortable for the day with fewer people.
We also went into Cairns city for the day, which has a man-made swimming lagoon in the centre – how perfect for when you’re shopping and need to cool down. There are also stunning mountain views from here if you want to sit and relax. As it was more of a relaxing, family holiday, there’s so much stuff we didn’t get around to doing, but I am so keen to visit again soon for round two now that we know the place a little better.
Joe stayed a little longer and managed to fit in a trip to Port Douglas and Palm Cove, which he said are beautiful places, so these are definitely on the future to-do list, along with the Daintree Rainforest and getting up close with the crocodiles. Another perk of our location is that there’s a busstop just up the road with regular buses to Cairns city, and a lot of the day-trip tours do pick ups from there if you don’t have a car handy.
I’m extremely sad to be home, but how lucky we are to have somewhere like this just a short flight away. Until next time, Cairns.