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What didn’t I do in Cairns this past weekend?

What didn’t I do in Cairns this past weekend?

Things to do in Cairns Queensland

The weather has been so perfect here that I decided to take the chopper out for a spin …


Oh wait, that’s not mine – I get so easily confused these days. Alas, I was on foot on Friday, headed firstly towards Canopy Arts Space on Grafton Street to find out all about Inkfest initiatives (awesome!)  + Inkmasters as part of Festival Cairns.


Inkfest is an innovative addition to Cairns Festival showcasing the fascinating and diverse artform of printmaking 17 August – 2 September, 2012. The Inkfest program includes a number of inter-related printmaking activities, for indigenous and non-indigenous artists, emerging and experienced professional artists, and community engagement. It includes two exhibitions, at the Tanks Arts Centre and Canopy Artspace (pictured below), where some of the best local print media artists will be showing works alongside Australia’s most celebrated printmakers.


Visitors are welcome to drop by the gallery on Grafton Street – it’s huge, interesting and informative. Well worth it!

Next on Friday’s adventure …


It’s not as scary as it looks. A bunch of travel journalists and I visited James Cook University’s Cairns campus to explore some uniquely ‘Tropical North Queensland’ areas of education.


Baby Nemo! :-)

We went behind the scenes of a marine research centre that is used to film nature docos including the BBC’s The Great Barrier Reef that aired internationally earlier this year. And we discovered impressive research into the Eliminate Dengue project.


It was actually really interesting to hear about this research, and we did learn that mozzies are attracted to those of us who have ‘hotter body temperatures’ or people wearing dark clothes – so be warned.

The aim of the experiment is to breed the dengue gene out of the mozzies that have it, then all these new mozzies are released into the ‘wild’ to hopefully breed with the other evil mozzies. Such amazing stuff – but we don’t envy the poor guys at JCU who are continually getting bitten!

All this talk of mosquitoes made me thirsty, so we decided to nip out for a quiet Friday afternoon drink at The Pier Bar. A few champers later and it was time to dance, so we visited one of my fave clubs in town, The Attic. Even discovered an awesome new mix of Super Bass mixed by Liam Keegan (love it).

Attic DJ you *rock* for sharing Liam’s details with us! Cheers to you :-)




OMG… empty much?


Panic over… thank you kind lady. BTW these fab cocktails (think Appletinis, Cosmos, Martinis) are all just $6 at The Attic on Friday nights – they have a new menu and are testing it out. Bargain!


We’re looking to reno our bathroom soon (too much The Block for us, methinks) so paid a visit to Status Plus‘ fabulous showroom in Cairns on Saturday morning. Good timing too – they were hosting an outdoor broadcast with Zinc FM, there were cook-offs, demonstrations and much more. Big thanks to Shar’ron for all her knowledge and help during the morning. One such delight we discovered was this magic tap – the stream is blue when it’s cold, and red when … you guessed it, hot.

Beer o’clock (actually, we were waiting for Cooper’s mum who got lost among the Cairns shops – as you do), so we decided to take a quick pit stop at The Courthouse, sipping on $4 Coronas under the winter sunshine. .


On Sunday, after a little morning clean up and walk with the dog, we took a drive to stunning Paradise Palms Resort & Country Club for a catch-up with some friends and family. Nice day for it too.


There’s a beautiful under cover dining area, and Sunday was blissful here. We ate, drank and were merry.


Then? Time for a nap!


Fashion at its finest

Fashion at its finest


The Profile Magazine chicks were lucky enough to attend Runway Twenty.Twelve on Saturday night. A super fab fashion show presented by Cachelle Model Management in Cairns at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Champers, cocktails, music, food and fashion … what more could a girl ask for?


Maybe to meet a celeb or two? We did bump in to uber cool top designer, Wayne Cooper, who I discovered is from the same part of East London as we loved. He even hung out at Broadway Market like we used to!

But who really wants to read about a fashion show when you can watch one? A sneaky peek sample here x


Long lunching in Port Douglas

Long lunching in Port Douglas

Port Douglas in Far North Queensland – it’s a truly charming little beachside town brimming with boutique stores, delicious dining options and of course, beautiful beaches. Each year the Port Douglas Carnivale attracts thousands of visitors – celebrities, socialites, locals and travellers alike – from all over Australia thanks to a line-up of enticing, well produced events suitable for everyone in the family. We headed up from Cairns to attend the Long Lunch, which was admittedly, fairly fabulous, featuring fine food, fashion and a little (or lot, as the case may be) champagne. The drive to Port Douglas is breathtaking in any type of weather – ocean views to one side, and rainforest to the other. Similarly, the Long Lunch was held at one of the town’s most spectacular venues, Sheraton Mirage Country Club. If you’ve missed it this year we’d highly recommend attending next year. It’s not too late to enjoy Carnivale festivities though – check out the event planner online – Carnivale’s on for another couple of weeks and even includes a masquerade ball! If you’re looking for somewhere pleasant, convenient and well-priced to stay, try the Best Western Lazy Lizard – the staff were lovely – two enthusiastic thumbs up for this property. Port Douglas, we’ll be back again soon!

Too hot? Too wet? So what?! Add FNQ to your dream destination list this year.

Too hot? Too wet? So what?! Add FNQ to your dream destination list this year.

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For some reason many Aussies perceive that Cairns is simply too hot to visit. Further to that, thanks to so much negative press regarding cyclones people often assume it’s hot and wet. Has anyone been watching the weather channel this summer? Temps everywhere else in the country over Christmas, for example, were over 35 degrees yet Queensland, and in particular the Far North, were cool – under 30. Granted, it’s not always like that, however, everywhere in Australia is hot over summer, so don’t let this be a factor deterring your trip to the gorgeous tropical north. Similarly, the wet season is a part of life. Again, where has it been raining severely this year though? Down south!

Importantly, when you’re on holidays does it really matter if it’s hot and wet? No!

As a fan of North Queensland, and as someone who has been lucky to see some amazing places around the world I’d like to set the record straight. Not only is Far North Queensland one of the most gorgeous places in the world – literally – think about what you would be missing if you judged the region on negative connotations?

Nowhere else can you visit The Great Barrier Reef in all its glory. You’ll also discover rainforest, super chic clubs, bars and restaurants… it’s like Summer Bay!

Recently, Chinese visitors told us that this is a perfect area to experience what life is really like in a small Aussie city by the sea. Not only is Cairns a terrific city – unlike any other small city in Australia – but from this base you can choose your own adventure – head to Tully for some exciting White Water Rafting, go up the mountain to shop at the Kuranda markets or bungy jump with AJ Hackett. Not keen to hang out in the city if its due to rain? Easy fix – take a drive to the Atherton Tablelands and visit Mareeba – famous for its sunny weather 300 days a year! Escape to a sublime beach not overcrowded with tourists – try Trinity Beach just twenty minutes from Cairns, or drive along the highway to luxurious Palm Cove or Port Douglas. On this note, if you want to experience one of the most beautiful drives in Australia, take the coastal road from Cairns to Port Douglas – you’ll see what I mean!

Shopping, dining, spas, animal adventures, reef, rainforest, typical Aussie country towns – from a city by the sea to the true blue Aussie Outback – it’s all accessible within one idyllic location. Consider a $5000 budget for the ultimate vacation… I’m dreaming of lush resorts at Palm Cove, several divine spa treatments (why not one in each luxe stop – Port Douglas, Palm Cove and Cairns), delectable dining at L’Unico Italian Restaurant (Trinity Beach), cocktails at Salt House by the marina in Cairns, a shopping spree at DFO and several trips to the rainforest and the reef!

Perfect for families, couples, backpackers or honeymooners. Everyone who visits Cairns loves it! It’s the ideal place to boost Vitamin Me levels, and with more flights just added to the schedule from all major cities into the Far North, there’s never been a better time to design your own unforgettable adventure under the Queensland sun. And if it happens to rain, who cares? There’s always something fabulous to do in FNQ regardless!


Image from TTNQ/TQ.




What does a guest from China really think of North Queensland?

What does a guest from China really think of North Queensland?

Mostly on the Sugoi! Travel & Style blog I’ve written about my own travel adventures. This week I had the opportunity to meet a Chinese visitor to the region so I asked him about his own thoughts and experiences here in Cairns…needless to say I’m pretty sure he’s leaving as a fan of the north.

Carl2Carl Li
From China (Taiyuan and Guangzhou).

What was the highlight of your visit to Cairns? It’s my first experience in Cairns, so an adventure! I went skydiving for the first time, went to the Reef for the first time and visited a small country town (Mareeba).

Why did you choose to go skydiving in Cairns and what was special about the experience? You can’t do this in China! We envy experiences like this. There were people from all over the world skydiving with me. It was interesting to meet such energetic people. The feeling of being in the sky and challenging fear is one of the best memories you can have in your life.

What did you like most about taking this trip with Skydive Cairns? They were professional, very skilful and made us (feel) safe – we had a safe experience and customers felt confident, which is really important.


How did you enjoy your trip out to the Reef? I went out with Reef Experience. The company was very good for someone on their first try. Most of the travellers on that boat had little experience scuba diving. On this trip we were provided with a good opportunity to scuba dive, snorkel, and the staff were professional and friendly. I was sad to miss seeing the big turtle and shark but I did get to see lots of different kinds of fish, coral, marine life. You always see this (the Great Barrier Reef) on TV but this was real – a good memory and experience in my life.

I’ve realised on this trip though that having a strong, healthy body is important – in skydiving and diving in the reef you can feel your strengths and weaknesses. I’ve realised I think I need to exercise more, or learn to swim better – I’m inspired to be better next time I try these activities!

What would you suggest are the main reasons someone should visit Cairns? Most important is the Great Barrier Reef – it’s the biggest one and most beautiful in the world. After that is the coastal life – Cairns offers a typical Australian cultural experience by the sea. I love the small coastal city, sunshine, beaches – very beautiful. You can meet people from all over the world here too, it’s very multicultural. Cairns is a fresh city and it’s easy to make friends. People are very nice here compared with people in big cities. I’ve loved it so much that if/when I have money I’d love to buy and stay in a place like Cairns. It’s peaceful and enjoyable.