loader image
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 …

01_arrived_early_to_town_oh_wait_thats_not_mine

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.

05

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.

04

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 …

07

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.

06_nemo_plus_video

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 :-)

09_attic

YUM.

10_oops_empty

OMG… empty much?

11_oh_no_its_ok_refill

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!

13_exploring_status_plus_magic_tap

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. .

14_time_for_an_afternoon_beer_with_cooper_at_the_courty

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.

15_sunday_lunch_at_pp

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

Pp

Then? Time for a nap!

 

Fashion at its finest

Fashion at its finest

Runway_girls

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?

Runway_wayne

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!

Ll_collage_sm
Top tour travel tips London and UK

Top tour travel tips London and UK

London Eye Sarah Blinco

Are you considering a tour such as the one I’ve just been on with Back Roads Touring in the UK? Cooper and I are fans of tours because put simply, if you’re short on time / on your own / not travelled much / don’t want the hassle of getting lost or stuck in dreadful accommodation, then generally with a tour you can’t go wrong. There are however, some important factors to remember if you’re embarking on a tour. Further to this, if you begin a tour in London but are a first-timer in the city, here are a few tips that may be of use…

Top tour travel tips London and UK

11 tips/preparing for a tour + first time in London:

  • How long will you be in London – is it worthwhile buying an Oyster (transport) Card? My rule of thumb is that if you’re going to be commuting in London for over three days then buy a ‘weekly pass’ – it’s MUCH cheaper than ‘topping up’ all the time and allows Tube and bus travel in all the areas you’re going to need. If travelling within the city for just a day or two, buy a ‘day pass’ each day, unless you literally are only planning one trip on the Tube for the day (unlikely).
  • Consider day tour options around the city – it’s huge with lots to see. The ‘big red bus’ hop-on-hop-off option is always a good one.
  • Be careful when commuting on buses and the Tube – while these services are efficient for familiar users, sometimes visitors will find the rush of busy passengers overwhelming and insensitive. Be aware that buses can pull off without warning.
  • PLAN what you want to see and where you want to go – Tower of London, Kensington Palace etc. Organise passes in advance. London is vast, and it can be arduous and tiring to navigate if you’re unfamiliar with the city.
  • Most pubs and cafes offer free WiFi, so if your hotel is charging through the roof for this service, chances are there is a free option within just a block or two of your location.
  • On tour, always be on time back to the coach – it is only fair on the driver/guide and fellow passengers, and it’s very stressful for everyone if people have to wait and/or come searching for you.
  • Never go anywhere / leave the coach without a credit card and your passport, as well as contact number(s) for your guide and other emergency contact details – just in case!
  • In the UK, Orange Mobile offers inexpensive pay-as-you-go SIM cards (easy to top up at any ATM) that can be utilised in most mobile phones, iPhones, and even iPad / tablet options. Orange or T-Mobile shops are all over London.
  • Don’t over-pack! Inevitably everyone who ends up with too many (large) bags admits they’ve brought too much, and it becomes painstaking trying to get from one place to another. Also, take clothes that you can mix, match and layer. It helps to bring clothes you can wash together too – you don’t want to be doing ‘separate loads’ on the go. If you’re stopping somewhere for two nights, do your washing as soon as you stop which leaves ample time for drying. Wrap washing in a towel and ring as much water out of it as you can, then hang washing around the room or on coat hangers. Jeans are serviceable, but can be quite heavy if you take too many.
  • Ask your tour guide where the nearest supermarket is, and buy your water in big bottles which is far cheaper.
  • If you see a person travelling on their own, include them in your outings. The more people you embrace, the better. You’ll also get more out of your trip by talking to and getting to know your co-travellers.

 

Travel with: Back Roads Touring UK and Escape Travel Australia

Do you have other tips to add? Please share them with us in the comments below :-)

On the (back) road: travel in the UK

On the (back) road: travel in the UK

You know you’re in the UK when you hear a BBC weather report that states it’s going to be “sunny, windy, cold, rainy with a chance of hail”! knew I should have bought a brolly yesterday!

 

 

Not even the weather report can put a ‘dampener’ on my spirits. I woke up early this morning – even too early for Starbucks! At least McDonalds is open and thriving. More keen for a half hour of internet (and a hash brown) than brekky, because I wanted to pop a mini update online before we head off. Stayed at the lovely Lancaster Gate Hotel last night – a brilliant option because it’s only minutes walk from Hyde Park, Kensington Park, Bayswater and Queensway Tubes and shopping precincts. My room was clean, comfortable and I was very happy to have a chance to unwind from the flight in a warm bath yesterday afternoon. Will definitely add a positive review for this property on TripAdvisor. It’s also conveniently the pick-up point for our Back Roads tour this morning. Speaking of which… better eat my porridge (yes, I did make a sensible breakfast choice after all) because I’m boarding the coach soon. Have a great day / night wherever you may be in the world. SB x