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Help, one week in Cairns with parents...what to do ???

sydney, australia
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Help, one week in Cairns with parents...what to do ???

My parents, myself and my partner are heading up to Cairns in October.

We would like to do a couple of day trips for my parents to snorkel and for my partner and I to dive. Want a good vessel, not too busy, and not a "party atmosphere". Also plenty of time out on the reef rather than spending most of the day to get out there. ANY IDEAS??

Also want to head up to Port Douglas. Been a while since I was there. Any good apartments that are reasonably priced and things to do during the day ?? Does the Wednesday sailing with the locals still take place if you just turn up at the yacht club ?

Also are the Atherland Tablelands and Kuranda worth a visit from Cairns with the folks ??

Any ideas on apartments in Cairns that are near the Esplanade. Need to be quiet and reaasonably priced?

Any ideas for 7 nights with plenty to see for my parents would be GREATLY appreciated !!!

Don't ask too much do I ! :)

Many thanks

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1. Re: Help, one week in Cairns with parents...what to do ???

Never too many questions! Fear not, we are here to help.

As for dive operators in Cairns, Tusa Dive will give you two what you want. 25 passenger boats that are very user friendly. No party boat here! And for M & D, they can snorkel while you are diving and will get a good experience as well. Tusa has a 2hr average commute to the reef each direction, which is the norm from Cairns. They have a roving permit so break away from the crowds and dive in some great areas, which by the way, are usually as good for a snorkeler as a diver so a win/win.

When you get to PD, if you wish to do another dive, look at Poseidon. Larger boat but will give you a 3 dive day and 1.5 hr commute to Agincourt Reef. Maybe do a day with each operator.

Apartments in Cairns. If you choose anything right on the Esplanade, the noise level can be actually bothersome as the traffic noise tends to go up. If you like ocean breezes and open windows, the serenity can be broken by autos at times. The Outrigger Cairns is in a location that cannot be beaten. If the water view is not important, take a 2BR unit on the back side. Drawback there, there is a pub called Courthouse just behind it. Have yet to hear a complaint about noise level, but also cant see how it wouldn't happen either. Another is Breakfree Trilogy and request high floor. Both are terrific locations and you can walk everywhere. Unsure if either offer off street parking, just in case you have a car. OR the Lakes - only a short drive or 40 min walk to the waterfront, or they have a shuttle service. These apt units have proven to be the most desirable in town, price(value) and amenity wise.

In PD, you may check out Hibiscus Gardens - always a favorite.

Is it a good day to the Tablelands - yes, if they are fit and wish to explore, take them to the waterfalls region of the tablelands-some of the areas are just stunning - pack a gourmet hamper and away you go. Only an hour+ to get there and depending on how far you head south, up to 2 hrs to return.

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2. Re: Help, one week in Cairns with parents...what to do ???

And to answer a few more questions for you.

Yes,the Wednesday afternoon sail is still happening in Port Douglas and yes, I would back Hibiscus as a good spot for you,very close to town centre and always gets good reviews.

Not sure if they've visited the Daintree Rainforest,but that would be a good day out for them. If you've done this yourself in the past, then you can easily hire a car and take them there for the day, stopping in at Mossman Gorge along the way.

Another suggestion if you have a couple of days up your sleeve is to hire a 4WD and go to Cooktown if the rain hasn't arrived,the Seaview or The Sovereign are good places to stay overnight and take in the Daintree on the way up and include Bloomfield Falls, then on the way back take the inland road (all now sealed).

The Tablelands is always a good day out. I visited the Mango Winery a few weeks ago for the first time,worth a stop at. Plenty to do up there and plenty of places to stop at.

The men may enjoy a day out fishing either deep sea or Daintree river trying to catch a barra(barramundi),season closes 1st November, so if interested do the barra fishing before then.

Markets in Port on a Sunday are always popular followed by brunch at Soul N Pepper or lunch at Salsa.

Even though you are an Aussie, take in the Toad races at the Ironbar,always a good night out and a laugh.

I'm not a fan of Kuranda, but again they make enjoy the day out.

There's plenty to do in the area and I'm sure they'll thoroughly enjoy their stay.

Rotorua, New Zealand
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3. Re: Help, one week in Cairns with parents...what to do ???

Leaving for our 3rd visit to Cairns in a couple of weeks. Highly recommend that you "do" the Barrier Reef with Dive Down Under on the Osprey V. Smooth and fast trip to two reef sites. They also have a semi-sub for the non-swimmers. What I really loved was that access into and out of the water was easy - just floated onto the bottom step which was the width of the back of boat - no trying to pull yourself up out of the water onto a narrow ladder wearing or carrying fins!! A friendly crew. Smaller numbers on board - max of about 100, which is a lot better than 400 that some operators squeeze in! The reef sites that we visited were also great - far better than the operator we went with the previous year. Will be going out again with them this year. Have always stayed in timeshares so can't comment on accommodation. However, I want to go "cane-toad racing" at one of the local pubs - have heard from others that it is a great night out - sense of humour required!

Mesa, Arizona
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4. Re: Help, one week in Cairns with parents...what to do ???

We did tusa and they are very good. You might also look into Ocean Spirit Cruise. Its a large vessle that has a sun deck. The crew was fantastic so was the food. You can snorkle all you want the 4 hours on the reef. You can also dive. Our dive guide was Marty and he was a great guide even found us my turtle I wanted to see. They also have a semi submersable you can go on to see under the water that was neet great for those who don't want to get wet but still see everything. oceanspirit.com.au/Dive_Snorkel_Australia_Mi…

They might enjoy a dinner at the casion buffet its a different theme every month we went on a Friday and they had Polynesian dancers and drums with fire sticks. The food was good too.

As for apartments don't stay at the Cairns Queenslander very small and outdated and they didn't clean anything.

Make sure they do an evening at the night markets. There is an awsome geleto shop on one of the main enterances.

Rattle and Hum is a good place to eas as is Swordfish if you like sea food.

Hope this helps.

sydney, australia
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5. Re: Help, one week in Cairns with parents...what to do ???

Wow, all of you that have responded have helped a great deal, thanks so much!!

Now I looked at Hibiscus in Port Douglas and it seems they only do a 3 night minimum stay which is a shame as I have decided to do the following itinerary:

Sun - Arrive Cairns PM

Mon - Hire car to Atherland Tablelands spend day exploring

Tues - Drive to Millaa Millaa do the walks there and stop off on the way to Port Douglas seeing other things

Wed - Marina in Port Douglas to sail with a local

Thur - Beach Day in Port Douglas and then Drive back to Cairns PM

Fri - Reef Trip

Sat - Reef Trip

Sun - Fly back to Sydney.

So from this itinerary we are only in PD for 2 nights. Does anyone have any other reccommendations for accommodation in PD ??

I was also not sure about the beach day in PD on the Thursday. Any ideas what we could do on that day instead. Also does itineray sound ok ?

Sorry, more questions !

Thanks in advance !

6. Re: Help, one week in Cairns with parents...what to do ???

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Cairns QLD
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7. Re: Help, one week in Cairns with parents...what to do ???

oooops and Im pretty sure you can go to the reef from port douglas too....

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8. Re: Help, one week in Cairns with parents...what to do ???

Hi hollywoll,

I think you would be better off swapping day two and day three.

Monday, hire car and perhaps even take in Paronella Park, the lookouts and Milla Milla Falls and walks.

Tuesday from Cairns travel the Gillies Highway and head to The Tablelands and do the loop and end the day in Port Douglas for the night.

For the reef,I would watch the weather and see what the winds and the sea is doing and pick the best day to go out to the reef, and this may not necessarily be, Friday or Saturday, you may need to juggle a few days around to get the best day out there.

If you're looking for other things to do besides lay on the beach, take a drive to the rainforest or if you're not too keen on going all the way to Cape Tribulation, go to Mossman Gorge and do a walk there taking a picnic hamper along. You can do this on the wednesday, if it works in, then go sailing in the afternoon.

Take your parents to the toad races at the Ironbar,it's great fun for all.

sydney, australia
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9. Re: Help, one week in Cairns with parents...what to do ???

Thanks again for all your advice.

Have spoken to the folks and they would like to drive straight to the Atherlands on the day of arrival into Cairns and have two nights/two days there exploring and then go up to PD from there. We will definately do Mossman Gorge and Daintree Nat. Park.

Was thinking maybe to do the reef trips from PD rather than drive back down and doing them from Cairns. My folks were asking for smaller numbers on the boats and I thought maybe PD would be better?? Is this the case....are there boats that do both dive and snorkelling that have smaller numbers on them??

Also are there any that do 1 or 2 nights out on the reef ?

Thanks again !

Mesa, Arizona
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10. Re: Help, one week in Cairns with parents...what to do ???

If you want smaller go with Tusa. We did them as well. 90% were divers and only a hand full were snorklers. Very professional crew. They have a lady named Mickey that takes pictures while you our out in the water. You'll have fun no matter whom you choose.