Monday, 18 June 2012

‘Living the Dream’ in Cairns

I have spent the last few days in Cairns, Queensland, Australia where I have been ‘Living the Dream’. 

I had the rare privilege of being part of a small group of invited people to capture the flavour and feeling of Cairns Festival’s 2012 program as well as the destination itself.

Accommodation was provided for the three nights at the Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina, Cairns, Queensland Australia. This was an idealic base as it was right on the waters edge at the marina and close to all the attractions and venues in Cairns city itself.

In the coming days I will write about my experiences in Cairns in detail. In the meantime, this is a brief rundown.

Thursday, 14 June, 2012
Caught the early morning train from Muswellbrook to Newcastle. Flew from Newcastle Airport to Brisbane then on to Cairns with Virgin Australia, arriving about 4.30pm, then transferred to the Shangri-la Hotel. That evening we were welcomed by the Cairns Festival Team at Ba8 (pronounced Bait), the restaurant adjacent to the lobby of the Shangri-la Hotel.

Friday, 15 June, 2012
The day was spent being introduced to Tropical North Queensland’s Cultural City. After having breakfast at Shangri-La Hotel, we walked to Rydges Plaza Cairns for a hosted RISE breakfast at LILO on level three. The Rise breakfast has just been recently introduced as a ‘market fresh’ approach to what is the most important meal of the day. We were greeted by Mr Fareid Taheri, General Manager, Rydges Plaza Cairns.

We then walked to Canopy Arts in Grafton Street and met Hannah Parker who showed us printmaking techniques and learnt about Inkfest, an innovative addition to Cairns Festival showcasing the fascinating and diverse artform of printmaking, and the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.

Lunch was enjoyed at the Paradise Palms Resort and Country Club’s Restaurant 59.

In the afternoon we went to James Cook University in Cairns, which in 2012 is celebrating 25 years and is in Gold partnership with Cairns Festival. We were greeted by host, Dr Stephen Weller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor University Services Division and Head of the Cairns Campus. We were then shown the Mosquito Research Facility by Professor Scott A. Ritchie, the Marine Research Aquarium and natural history filming studio by Associate Professor Jamie Seymour and the Australian Tropical Herbarium by Professor Darren Crayn, Director, Australian Tropical Herbarium  The Uni tour was rounded off by wine, cheese and coffee on the Deck at the Boathouse at the University..

In the evening we were entertained at the Tanks Arts Centre by Shaolin Afronauts.This is a 9-piece band of young masked marvels from South Australia who brought their bodacious brass and electrifying guitar driven mix of afrobeat, funk and jazz to the Tanks.

Saturday, 16 June, 2012
The day was spent being introduced to the Natural Wonders of Tropical Cairn

After breakfast at the hotel we made our way to the Reef Fleet Terminal and boarded the ‘Big Cat’ for a day trip to Green Island. Activities included a buffet lunch, semi-submarine and glass bottom boat coral viewing tours, and snorkelling.

That evening we enjoyed a Dinner with Jimmy at the Hanuman Restaurant, Hilton Cairns

Sunday, 17 June, 2012
Departure Day!

After breakfast in the Shangri-La Hotel, I enjoyed the morning at leisure exploring the Cairns Esplanade and shopping areas, then went to the Cairns Airport for the afternoon/evening flight on Qantas.

Keep watching for more articles about Cairns and the Cairns Festival.

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