Cairns, located in Far North Queensland and considered as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, holds a very special place in my heart.
It’s where the majority of my extended family live, and it’s the only other place in the world (other than my hometown of Canberra), where I truly feel at home whenever I visit.
I have visited Cairns at least twice a year, every year since I was born, and every single time that I visit – I see and experience so many new and wonderful things.
I remember when I was younger, I would travel up to Cairns as an unaccompanied minor flying with Qantas, during the July school holidays. I would count down the weeks and days until I flew up there on a big calendar that was stuck onto my wardrobe. For me, this trip was always the highlight of my year.
Being an only child means that I am close to my cousins and extended family members, so a trip up to Cairns in my school holidays always meant that I got to play with my cousins, and spend heaps of time with my grandparents, aunties and uncles – and I looooooved it!
Of course, whenever I had to return back to Canberra at the end of the trip I was always in tears at the airport, and for much of the flight home. Then, I would start counting down the weeks and days until we headed back up there for Christmas!
And it’s for this reason that Cairns is like my second home.
My recent visit to Cairns over the Easter long weekend was up there with one of the best visits I’ve had, and here’s why:
On this particular trip up to the Far North, my boyfriend Sam travelled with Mum and I. This was Sam’s first time visiting Cairns, and it was a great opportunity to show him the many sites, as well as the areas in which my family live.
Because it was the Easter long weekend, we spent pretty much the entire weekend with family, playing outdoor cricket, having long lunches and BBQ’s, and just having a whole heap of fun catching up.
My uncle and his family live out in a small town just outside of Cairns, on a property that is surrounded by cane fields and palm trees. It’s where my grandparents used to live before they retired, and its a place that holds many fond memories for me.
Playing outdoor cricket on a balmy Sunday afternoon with the entire family, was an absolute highlight of the trip. Spending time with family over Easter always makes for a memorable weekend!
CLIMBING WALSH’S PYRAMID
Walsh’s Pyramid, the highest freestanding natural pyramid in the world is something I have wanted to climb for years and years – and on this trip, we finally did!
On Saturday morning Sam and I made the 922m trek to the top, which was A LOT harder and steeper than what I thought it would be. If you think you’re fit and healthy, wait till you attempt to climb this!
When you reach the top, you’re welcomed by some spectacular views over Gordonvale (a town just south of Cairns), as well as over to the city and out to sea.
It took us around 1 hour 30 minutes to get up, and then 1 hour, 20 mins to get down, which from the research I’ve done of others who have climbed (i.e an Instagram stalk) – is pretty good!
Walsh’s Pyramid is one of the most distinctive landmarks of the Far North, and would you believe that every year in August, a “Pyramid Race” takes place where hundreds of competitors run up the hill and back again!? This is reserved for super dooper fit people who like pain, but if you think you might like to give it a go there is $5000 up for grabs!
STAYING AT THE REEF HOTEL CASINO
On Saturday evening, Sam and I were hosted for the night at the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, situated smack bang in the middle of Cairns – right near the Esplanade.
This was an absolute treat for us, and a very welcome stay which was just what we needed after such a big hike that morning!
The luxurious five-star Pullman Reef Hotel Casino is nestled alongside Trinity Inlet, and our room had one of the most spectacular views. Having always stayed with family on my trips up North, it was super fun playing tourist for the night!
Our accommodation included:
- Breakfast in Tamarind Restaurant
- Complimentary WiFi
- A drink per person in Bar36
- Self car parking
- Select mini bar items
- Nespresso coffee machine in our room – aka all the things you need for an overnight getaway!
The hotel, which recently underwent a massive refurbishment aims to set itself apart from it’s competition, with a new look lobby, expansion of it’s Tamarind Restaurant (where we dined for dinner on Saturday evening and breakfast on Sunday), a refresh of it’s Bar36 and Live Lounge (where we enjoyed a complimentary pre dinner drink), and the addition of a cute little hole-in-the-wall – Merchant Cafe.
The best part about our stay? The mega bathroom that had a view to die for! Tell me who wouldn’t appreciate this view and bath?
And when it’s a bath and glass of bubbles combined – what more could you ask for?
For dinner we were treated to a three course feast at one of the hotel’s five restaurants – Tamarind which recently won the 2017 Australian Good Food & Travel Guide Chef Hat.
We got stuck right into their delicious exotic sensory menu with it’s rich Thai-inspired flavors and colours, mixed with delectable local produce.
And when you’re in the Far North, you’ve got to experience the local seafood, right?
We were absolutely SPOILT at the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, and really did have a fantastic and super relaxing stay.
On Easter Sunday morning before our family lunch, we enjoyed a wander around the city, soaking up the warm summer-like weather.
Overall it was a fantastic long weekend away, made better by the fact that it was spent with people that I love most. It also helped that we were granted with spectacular weather too! As always, I’m looking forward to my next trip up there.
Have you visited Cairns, or anywhere in Far North Queensland before?
Pullman Reef Hotel Casino is kindly offering a special discount to all of you, with 10% off their best available accommodation rate at time of booking. Just quote “LUX17”. Only applies to direct phone bookings – call 07 4030 8888. Terms and Conditions apply, subject to availability.