Walking on sunshine

Walking on sunshine

Coast of Cairns

Walking on sunshine

The mall was an excellent place to sit and look around. It was early morning, and I wanted to have a cup of freshly-brewed coffee. In fact, coffee is grown on the highlands nearby.

I walked out of the café, on to the pavement, looking for a place to sit. I was in Cairns, a small town in tropical Queensland, with various attractions like The Great Barrier Reef, Kuranda tropical forests, and the great outback experience.

The town itself has a nice promenade, with a plaque commemorating the arrival of the Olympic torch for the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. Cairns also has beautifully-landscaped public gardens, a casino, art galleries and shopping malls.

I was pleased to lunch at an authentic Indian restaurant, a polite family-run business. I sat on a bench in the mall, but soon became aware of the cacophony of sounds of bats in hundreds, which had made a big tree their home.

What impressed me was the discipline — even in the pubs where food is not supposed to be taken outside, proper dress code is needed after 7 pm, and it is an offence to serve alcohol to anyone who is disturbed or is already intoxicated. The town has good public transport, cheap and reliable.

A shuttle bus takes the visitors to the domestic or international airport. I was happy to note that Cairns has a diverse ethnic population with immigrants from China, Japan, Korea, Thailand and India, making this quaint little place their home.

Cairns may not be on a regular tourist map, but it has a lot to offer. It has come a long way from the days in 1876, when it was first discovered. The town could be made the starting point for exciting trips to The Great Barrier Reef and the Kuranda Heritage Village, as well as the tropical forest.

There is much to explore in the outback and one can learn about indigenous people’s culture and lifestyle. For a relaxing holiday, the best time to visit Cairns is during Australian winter, which falls between June and August.

As I sat on a bench on the lovely promenade overlooking the sea, waves lapped gently on the shore, and everything was peaceful at once. A few tourists like me just sat on the benches and gazed at the magical seascape. Joggers carried on bravely in the hot weather.

Children splashed around in delight at the nearby water fountain. There was little noise to detract the peace and tranquillity. I just sat there savouring these precious moments.

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