We spent two weeks in and around Cairns, which included two dive trips, and a four days in Herberton at Heather’s ‘tree house’ in the Atherton tablelands. The weather was hot and sticky, typical for tropical Queensland in the summer. But we enjoyed the weather, remembering all the ‘winters’ we’d spent in the U.S. with blizzards, freezing temperature, icy roads, and shoveling snow. We also enjoyed the tropical foliage, palm, banana, tree ferns,, magnolia, mangrove, and gum trees. As well as the exotic colorful birds and wildlife.
Cairns was casual than other towns we’d visited been in Australia. The coastal town is a major tourist destination for cruise ships and divers coming from around the world to experience the Great Barrier Reef. Australians also come here, traveling in vans, campers and RV’s, staying at the many vehicle camping places we saw.
Downtown Cairns was pedestrian friendly with wide sidewalks, parks, shade trees, benches, and cafe tables to enjoy people watching. Streets aren’t clogged with traffic and cross walks are well-marked and safe. Most buildings downtown are two or three stories, with only a few high-rise hotels and apartments, but no sky scrapers. It’s quite pleasant, letting tourists and walkers enjoy views of the mountains and forests west of town and the beautiful bay and marinas.
Our last Sunday in Cairns we took a boat to Fitzroy Island to spend two days at a resort. On our way to the marina to board our boat, we walked through an open air farmer’s market in a walkway between two streets. Stalls were selling a variety of produce, crafts, souvenirs, and jewelry.
The most eye-appealing stalls were selling tropical fruits grown locally: coconuts, banana, mango, pineapple, papaya, grapes, and exotic fruits we hadn’t seen.
Fabrics, clothes, crafts, and jewelry were attractively displayed.
Tropical flowers were colorful.
Walking through Cairns was a bit eerie; fruit bats the size of kittens flew over the city, roosted in tall trees, hanging upside town, fanning their bat wings, making raucous screeching noises. They looking somewhat menacing, but eat only fruit from area orchards and farms. All during the day, and especially in the late afternoon and early evening, the sky was filled with these bats which are called, ‘fur-headed flying foxes.’ They’re considered a pest by many for the messes they make on lawns and sidewalks, but they’re a protected species.
We heard there was a steep fine for anyone who interfered with the bats. But from the numbers we saw, they don’t need protection, they’ve adapted very well to their tropic paradise. We’d also seen the bats in Sydney and Melbourne in botanic gardens where they have plenty of trees to roost in, breed, and raise their young.
I have a video of the noisy ‘flying foxes’ roosting in the trees which I’ll post in the future. My still camera was acting up our last few days and the only pictures I took were with my video camera.
* * * * *
Next: Cairns lagoon
As many of you know, I also write mysteries and romantic suspense novels.
I recently published my first international thriller, Thirteen Days in Milan, which is available on Kindle as well as other ereaders, tablets, and smartphones.
I’m back in Europe for the summer to hire a translator and to research my next book which will also be a thriller based in Milan. I’ll be posting soon from Milan, Stresa, Zurich and other locations.
I have a few posts on another blog, Anatomy of a Thriller, where I write about the process of researching and writing an international thriller. I’ll add more posts there as well.
Please share these links with writers or readers who might be interested.