Cairns Hilton and The Reef Hotel Casino
Cairns is a small city by internationally
standards. Located by the sea it boasts a good balance of
laid back tropical lifestyle and the excitement of a major
tourist destination with lots to see and do. The
international airport is only about 6km from the heart of
from closest major city
is located approximately 1729 km north of Brisbane.
Captain James Cook was the first known European to visit the
site where Cairns is located, arriving on Trinity Sunday 1770
and naming the area Trinity Bay.
A little further north Cook's ship the
Endeavour went aground on the reef and he was forced to beach
the vessel at the site now known as Cooktown.
On 1 November 1876 Trinity Bay was
declared a port of entry and clearance. It was renamed after the
then-Governor of Queensland, Sir William Cairns. In spite of
these official actions Smithfield remained the more popular of
the two settlements. By November its population had reached 150
and it was growing rapidly. The next year, however, Smithfield
was totally destroyed by a freak flood on the Barron River.
However, instead of moving to Cairns, most of the population
resettled in Port Douglas, which immediately took the bulk of
the maritime business away from Cairns.
Cairns looked like it would pass into obscurity until it was
chosen as the starting point for a railway line that serviced
the Atherton Tablelands taking workers and supplies and
bringing back tin and timber. Sugar Cane farms were developed
close to Cairns as there was now access to transport the cane to
Southern Mills. Cairns began to gain a reputation as a tourist
destination throughout the 1970's. In 1984 an international
airport opened and a major tourism boom began which converted
Cairns from a sleepy regional town to a thriving city.
Without a doubt tourism is the number one industry in Cairns.
Industries that service tourism have grown proportionally over
the years with the most notable being the building industry.
Cairns is home to a large commercial fishing fleet that catch
prawns in the rich waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria and Torres
Feel of the town
Cairns is a very green city built on the banks of the Trinity
Inlet. There are parks and gardens throughout the town, large
shopping centers and a few high rise buildings. Cairns is
surrounded by high forested ranges that provide a very lush
backdrop to the city. The Esplanade is the area of most
activity. This is a waterfront parkland where tourists and
locals alike tend to congregate to relax and enjoy the views.
The Pier Marketplace is a feature on the Esplanade. It is a
great place to visit for excellent shopping, restaurants and
Aboriginal Cultural Park - Photo By Peter Li
Aboriginal Cultural Park
- located at Smithfield this unique attraction highlights
the culture and lifestyle of a local Aboriginal Tribe, the
Tjapukai. There is a museum, live theatre (which has some
stunning special effects) and an Aboriginal Camp set up to show
visitors bush food and medicine, how to light fires, throw
boomerangs and spears and play didgeridoos. There is
nothing like this park anywhere in Australia.
The Kuranda railway is probably the most scenically beautiful
railway line in Australia with one section actually running
across the face of the Stony Creek Falls and other sections
winding around the hillside and through no fewer than 15
tunnels. At various points there are views back across the Coral
Sea. It was built by John Robb between 1886 and 1891 and is
recognized as a masterpiece of railway engineering. In 1915 the
Railway Station at Kuranda was completed.
We did not take
the railway since the clouds were very low and poor visibility
This spectacular 7.5 kilometer journey over rainforest from the
top of the escarpment to Caravonica Lakes Station north of
Cairns must rate as one of Australia's most memorable tourist
experiences. There is nowhere else on earth where you can travel
across a tropical river, beside a huge waterfall and across
untouched tropical rainforest and experience the beauty without
damaging the landscape.
Returning to the cableway, the passenger then
passes over the top of the rainforest before arriving at Red
Peak Station where, again, it is possible to break the journey
and inspect the rainforest from a wooden walkway. The diversity
of the rainforest is evident with palms, ferns, epiphytes and
towering rainforest trees surrounding the station.
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