After spending a large proportion of the Australian summer experiencing winter in Europe, I was desperate for some sun and warmth. To make up for missing most of summer, we decided to spend a week of the April holidays in Cairns soaking up the sunshine. Unfortunately the weather had other plans. About two weeks before our trip, Far North Queensland was impacted by a rather late season cyclone. Fortunately this didn’t effect us or our travel plans, however, the damp weather proceeded to hang around for just about all of our week. Suffice to say we didn’t see a whole lot of sun. On the positive side though, temperatures were warm which almost made up for the lack of sun. Due to the rain, I sadly didn’t do much photography at all, but did take a few shots of some of our excursions which I’ve finally gotten around to editing.
After studying the weather forecast, we picked the day which had the least likely chance of rainfall and took a 2 hour drive south to Innisfail. There isn’t much at Innisfail but that wasn’t why we went there. Our reason for the day trip was to visit Paronella Park, located just outside of Innisfail. My sister and brother-in-law visited Paronella Park on their honeymoon and after posting a few pictures on Instagram, I knew that I had to visit should I find myself in Cairns. The history behind Paronella Park is quite amazing. It was founded in 1929 by Jose Paronella, a Spanish migrant, who dreamed of building a castle. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Jose but in the end he did get his castle as well as a magnificent garden. Today, the ‘castle’ is a ruin, yet the effect of the buildings and lush tropical gardens are beautiful and somewhat resembles Jurassic Park! We did a walking tour of the park and I was able to photograph some of the landmarks.
You can’t really tell from the photos, but most of these were taken in the pouring rain while juggling an umbrella.
In it’s heyday, Paronella Park would have been quite something! If you ever find yourself in Cairns, make sure you take a trip to Paronella Park as it is well worth it (and hopefully the weather will be better for you than it was for us!).
The drive between Cairns and Innisfail features some lovely scenery. There are plenty of sugar cane crops as well as lookouts over waterfalls and picnic spots. One stop that we did make was at the Babinda Boulders…
On our last full day of the trip, the sun finally decided to appear from behind the rainclouds and we headed north to Port Douglas. If you haven’t visited, Port Douglas is rather touristy (a bit like Cairns), however there is a nice lookout and some beautiful beaches. Here’s the view looking out over Port Douglas
One of the local icons of Port Douglas is St Mary’s by the Sea. It is a gorgeous building set in a beautiful location making it a very popular wedding ceremony venue. I’d love to photograph a wedding there someday!
The photograph below is of an ornamental ginger plant which you see a lot around the tropics in Australia and beyond. I remember first seeing these plants in Vanuatu several years ago and thinking that they were quite unique.
The main beach in Port Douglas…
The image below was taken during a little walk we took to kill time before our flight home. As you can see, the weather was spectacular, just in time for our departure. Oh well! Plans for our next sunshine-filled holiday are underway and hopefully the weather at the end of September is a little more cooperative.
That pretty much sums up our trip to Cairns. The whole week I only shot 106 photos, most of which were at Paronella Park and well below my usual average number of photographs. One positive about all the rain was the forced relaxation that it resulted in. I spent one day of the trip editing all of my Europe photos which reminds me that I still need to do my review post of our big adventure. Watch this space!