Our cruise in January 2020 departed from Brisbane and took us to Cairns via Airlie Beach. The P&O Aria docked overnight. We have been to Cairns before so took the opportunity to just relax. Cairns is a reasonably large city with about 120,000 people. There are lots of tourist attractions which we have seen. I’m sure that a ship with 1700 passengers injects something to the local economy.
There is a dedicated cruise terminal which luckily has a craft brewery called Hemingways right on the wharf. I can report that the beer is good. Ships dock right in town and its only a ten minute walk to town and the main shopping areas.
Having been to Cairns before there is not much to do. We walked around town a couple of times. Amusingly there were bats in residence near the town hall quite a large colony. Surprisingly noisy and active in the daytime. I thought that bats were exclusively nocturnal. We did have a beer at the Grand Hotel which has a carved crocodile head in the front bar. Full of local drinking XXXX beer in very dirty stubby holders. Local colour I guess. According to the pub’s website it was founded in 1926 so its part of the fabric of Cairns.
Something amusing were the bats hanging around the town hall. I’m not sure is this is a cryptic metaphor for what goes on in the town hall. Initially it sounded like colony of birds. I was surprised how noisy the bats were in the daytime.
Then it was back on the ship and onwards to Willis Island. A small island far enough of the coast to make the cruise eligible for duty free shopping. Just a small speck in the ocean. Then south toward Brisbane.