© Cairns Backpackers Guide 2013
Cairns Backpackers Guide
Free things in Cairns
Cairns has more free things for backpackers to do than meets the eye. Check out the following which you can do without a car: Chill out or cool off at the lagoon Have a BBQ with some room mates at the Esplanade Do the red arrow rainforest walk Visit the Botanic Gardens area and grab a chocolate waffle Participate in some free fitness classes at the Esplanade or just jump on a free fitness machine. See the bats Take a skateboard down to the skatepark. Join in on some free volleyball at the ‘Nade. Catch a bus and head down to a beach The   lagoon   is   basically   a   free   swimming   pool   for anyone   to   use,   but   it   is   surrounded   by   sand   and grass   and   has   a   great   view   of   the   ocean.   Many backpackers   love   to   spend   all   day   sunbaking   on the    grass    with    their    favourite    book,        perhaps moving under a tree for a bit of a nap. The   bbq   areas   (and   there   are   12   of   them)   are   all free    so    why    not    take    some    mates,    grab    some meat    on    the    way    through    and    spend    a    fun afternoon   on   the   Esplanade.   You   will   of   course need your own cutlery etc.  Right   in   the   heart   of   the   city   you   can   see   thousands of   fruit   bats   (spectacled   flying   foxes)   ,   next   to   the library   on   Aplin   st.   In   the   daytime   they   just   hang from    the    trees    not    doing    too    much    (look    hard though   and   you   may   see   babys   suckling   on   their mothers-look   in   the   armpit   area   of   the   adults).   In the    evening    they    all    wake    up    ready    for    their nightly   forage   for   fruit,   pollen   and   the   like   and that   is   when   you   can   see   them   making   all   sorts   of caucus   as   they   ready   themselves.   Then   as   dusk sets    it    is    quite    a    sight    as    they    fly    off    to    their feeding   areas.   See   the   Bats   Conservation   website   for   more   info.   If   you   find   any   injured   bats   on   the ground      DO      NOT      TOUCH -      they      can      carry transmittable   and   very   serious   diseases-instead   call the BAT Rescue hotline on : 0488 228 134. There   is   a   range   of   free   fitness   classes   on   at   the Esplanade    such    as    boxing,    yoga,    pilates,    aqua- aerobics,    zumba    and    beach    volleyball.    See    the Cairns   Esplanade   Website    f or   more   details.   As   well there   are   several   fitness   stations   on   the   esplanade with   various   machines   for   you   to   show   off   your bulging muscles and appeal to other backpackers. Head   along   to   the   volleyball   court   on   the   ‘Nade anyday   in   the   late   afternoon   and   join   in   on   some free      volleyball.      There      are      always      lots      of backpackers playing and it is easy to join in. Not   far   from   the   volleyball   courts   is   the   skatepark. Free   of   course,   you   just   need   to   BYO   skateboard or   a   bmx   bike.      Even   if   you   don’t   skate   it   is   good fun just to hang around and watch. The Botanic Gardens is next to the Red Arrow Walk and backpackers often do both in the same day. After doing a leisurely circuit of the gardens (an hour or 2), you can grab lunch or just a coffee at the Cafe. The   Red   Arrow   Walk   is   very   close   to   the   Cairns Botanic   Gardens,   about   3   kms   from   the   city   centre (easily   accessible   by   bus)   and   is   a   steep   rainforest walk   that   takes   about   an   hour   return.   From   the top   you   can   see   Green   Island   on   a   fine   day,   and   if you   have   the   energy   you   can   keep   going   from   the top   to   complete   the   Blue   Arrow   Walk   (altogether about 3 hours). From the Lake street side of Woolworths supermarket in City Place you can catch a public bus to one of the many beaches. All the stops are sign posted, but the most popular beaches are Palm Cove, Trinity Beach and Holloways Beach.  A bus will set you back between $6 and $12 return. See the Sunbus website for timetables and bus routes.
Although there is lots you can do without a car, you can do of course even more if you have one: Have a swim at Crystal Cascades Drive to Port Douglas for the day Do a lap of the waterfalls circuit Drive up to Cape Tribulation Drive to Lake Morris Just a 30 minute drive from Cairns, Crystal Cascades is a crystal clear river in the rainforest where you can spend all day swimming and just chillaxing. An hour north of Cairns is Port Douglas, with it’s great beach and trendy coffee shops. Just 10 minutes past Port Douglas is Mossman Gorge, another rainforest where you can go swimming or just walk around admiring the trees.   You need a whole day to do the waterfalls and lakes circuit up at the Atherton Tablelands, but it is definitely worth doing. Best way is up the Gillies Range and down the Palmerston Highway.   A good 3 hours drive away (but a beautiful drive) is Cape Tribulation in the Daintree National Park. The best beaches in Australia and some fantastic rainforest boardwalks will want you to stay overnight (which you can easily do by staying in one of the backpackers there). Well known by locals but not so much by backpackers is Lake Morris, about 1 hour away. On the way is the best lookout of Cairns, very romantic at night. Lake Morris itself is a large dam set in the rainforest, and has a great cafe where you can drink your cuppa and just mellow.
Rent a car and see more Lagoon Red Arrow Walk BBQ Botanic Gardens Free Fitness classes & machines Beaches Crystal Cascades Port Douglas/Mossman Gorge Waterfalls Circuit Cape Tribulation Lake Morris Flying foxes in Cairns in the daytime on Aplin St.
Barbeque at the Cairns Esplanade Free fitness classes in Cairns for backpackers Free Volleyball on the Esplanade Backpackers in Cairns playing volleyball Free skatepark Free skate park in Cairns for backpackers
See the bats