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July 2007: 10 days in/around Cairns

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July 2007: 10 days in/around Cairns

Hi folks,

We are a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children ages 6 and 8) and are currently planning a trip to Oz next ydar. Current itinerary in Oz is roughly:

2.5 weeks Central Coast (with relatives), during which - 2/3 days in Sydney and a 3-day trip to Red Centre (adults only).

Drive to Brisbane and on to Gold Coast for 1 day in Theme Park

1 week Sunshine Coast

Fly Brisbane - Cairns. Approx 10 days in / around Cairns. Want to see Great Barrier Reef and Rainforest.

We are aware that we must not try to do too much with the children, but yet want to do as much as we can without exhausting them.

Also, we probably need to stay somewhere nice and restful (and preferably near the beach) for a quiet week before the long trip home.

I'm looking for advice right now in relation to where is a good place to stay in / around Cairns? ideally with good facilities for children. Would like comfortable, air-conditioned accomodation, with good swimming pools, and prefereably not too far from nice beaches.

Should we stay in Cairns? or Port Douglas? or somewhere else?

Do you think I need to book a long time ahead?

Any advice / help would be greatly appreciated.


St. Augustine FL
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1. Re: July 2007: 10 days in/around Cairns

I am planning an extensive trip similar to yours, so am anxious to see the replies you get. Thanks.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: July 2007: 10 days in/around Cairns

Sounds like you've got a great trip planned.

I would definitely choose Port Douglas over Cairns. Its smaller, but has all the facilities you need and is much more attractive. Its got a great beach (Cairns doesn't)and is closer to the Reef and the rainforest.

Most of the accommodation in Port D is low-rise apartments. They nearly all have air conditioning and pools, The nearby beach is very safe and is patrolled at the northern end. There are loads of apartments to choose from. Generally i would recommend staying at a place adjacent to the town, rather than on the long road in. July is a great time for North Qld, weather-wise. If you are planning from mid-July onwards, the school holidays will be over and accommodation should be much easier to get. You might get an idea for accommodation options at www.wotif.com.au, but how late you can leave booking I'm not sure.

Loads of activities in the area. From Port Douglas there are loads of operators doing trips to the Reef. With 2 small kids, maybe Quicksilver is the best option. Wait until you get there and book when the weather conditions are best. Just outside Port Douglas is the Rainforest Habitat, which is a small zoo worthy of a few hours. About halfway between Port D and Cairns is Hartley's crocodile park which is excellent. Another must is a trip to Mossman Gorge, Daintree River and up to Cape Tribulation. There are organised tours or you can self-drive. Of course, there is also the Kuranda Railway/Skyway, just north of Cairns.

Brisbane, Australia
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for Brisbane, Noosa
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3. Re: July 2007: 10 days in/around Cairns

Search on previous posts for Cairns Coconut resort, it has been called as a 5 star place for kids. Not near the beach so a car would be advisable.

Adelaide, Australia
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4. Re: July 2007: 10 days in/around Cairns

Hi Betty Blue, my thoughts are as follows - we spend a lot of time in this area and are off up to Cairns today for the next 3 weeks. One consideration might be - what is the timing of your flights into and out of Cairns. For instance, you will not want to drive up to Port Douglas at night as it can be a dangerous night drive but is also a beautiful drive during the day when you can appreciate the scenery. Similarly, if you have an early morning flight out of Cairns, it may be difficult to organise the children to get from Port Douglas to the Cairns airport for an early morning flight. It is about a 50 minute drive. It is true Cairns City doesn't have a beach, but they have a great esplanade development with all sorts of walking tracks, playgrounds etc. and there are plenty of apartments with nice swimming pools. It is not true that Cairns (in general) does not have beaches. The northern suburbs (20 - 30 mins out of central Cairns) have beautiful beaches - Kewarra Beach Resort - Yorkey's Knob (see reports for Golden Sands Resort) and Trinity Beach are all great and have plenty of lovely apartments right on the beach and make for an easy drive to the Airport. For instance Yorkey's is l5 mins from the airport. Palm Cove (which is about 30 mins north of the airport between Cairns and Port Douglas) would also be a suitable place for you to stay. All the northern beaches have restaurants etc. We actually now prefer the northern Cairns beaches to Port Douglas beach. Much quieter - not so touristy. You could also consider driving up to Cape Tribulation and staying the night - then you would have time to walk Mosman Gorge, do the Rainforest Canopy walk, take a boat trip on the Daintree River etc. It is a lot to do in on day, but all worthwhile. On the weather, keep in mind that although Cairns only has a mild winter season, but some of the swimming pools and ocean can get quite cold in July/August. Sept/Oct would be better. Good luck with the planning.

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5. Re: July 2007: 10 days in/around Cairns

Hi everyone

Thank you all so much for your advice. I'm stunned to receive so many replies so quickly. The information is really useful.

Hartley's Crocodile Farm sounds like a fun place - will definitely have to fit it in!

By Irish standards, the cold July / August water will probably seem really warm - so I don't think I'll worry too much about that. Do hotels / apartment-complexes have heated pools?

The times of our flights into and out of Cairns are flexible, but currently booked for approx mid-day / early afternoon. So that should not restrict our choice of location.

What sort of distances are involved between Cairns / Port Douglas / Daintree / Cape Tribulation?

Thanks again so much!

6. Re: July 2007: 10 days in/around Cairns

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