I stepped off the plane yesterday in Cairns and immediately got hit with a warm tropical breeze. It was a drastic change from the cool San Francisco-like weather of Melbourne. I loved Melbourne, and wished I could stay longer, but this short trip mandates that I keep moving so I can experience everything I planned.
The flight up yesterday on Virgin Blue was a lot of fun, because apparently if you’re flying from Melbourne to Cairns, it means you’re going on holiday, so everyone on the plane was in a great mood. When the pilot came on to announce the temp in Cairns was a balmy 30 degrees (about 86F for the Celsius-conversion-challenged) the entire plane cheered. It may have helped that we had an entire football team (Aussie Rules) on board with us, and two couples that were heading up to Port Douglas for their wedding.
On the advice of many Aussies, I didn’t stay in Cairns at all, opting instead to catch a bus down the coast to Airlee Beach and the Whitsunday Coast. Instead of going all the way in one day, I decided to stop in Townsville and stay for a night, so that’s where I am this morning. A nice small town, true to its namesake, and quite deserted right now. A beautiful walking strip right along the beach called The Strand just got built up in the last five or six years according to my hosts at a charming little hotel last night. Not a whole lot here, but there are great views off the coast toward Magnetic Island. I get the feeling here no one is in a hurry to get anywhere.
This afternoon, I head the rest of the way down the coast to Airlee Beach, where I’ll plant myself for five days as a base to explore the Reef and the Whitsunday Islands. Looking forward to the relaxation.
After that, I’m heading back up to Cairns to catch a flight to Christchurch, New Zealand, where I’ll meet up with John Allsopp for a few days of snowboarding at Mt. Hutt.
From the beaches of Queensland, to the amazing slopes of New Zealand within 2 days… the contrast doesn’t get much better than that does it?