Cairns: Tilt all the way
Aside from using Airlie Beach as a base for visiting the Whitsundays, we didn’t do a whole lot else there. The strip along the beach is there for the sole purpose of earning tourist dollars. We went into town for our evening meals, but steered clear of it apart from that. As we sat on the balcony of the Hogs Breath Cafe, bats swooped down out of the trees sending people scattering and ducking which would have been more amusing if we weren’t eating quite so close to their flight paths. Even at a quiet time of year music belted out of every building. After dinner we would stroll back along the lagoon passing blue-lit restaurants and encountering the odd stray bird furtively making its way along in fits and starts. Sprinting for seven paces, halting, scoping out the surroundings before risking another quick sprint.
Leaving the party town of Airlie Beach behind, our last train journey in Australia was to bring us all the way up to Cairns. There was the option of stopping off somewhere like Townsville along the way, but Cairns was supposed to be a nice place and we needed to take a few days to rest in one place and regroup. We were back on the Tilt train for this one which was only about an hour late. As they’d never told me our seats on the phone, we were left wandering up and down carriages in search of an attendant to find out which ones we’d been allocated. Happily all the carriages on this train seemed to be first class so we had extra space for the 8 hour day we were going to spend in those seats when we finally found them.
While usually I would spend my time watching the scenery pass by, there wasn’t a whole lot to see on this journey. A repeating cycle of flat fields or buildings with hills in the background. With the sun coming in the window it became unbearably hot and the curtain had to be drawn. As I tried to read or write on my laptop I found myself in the unusual situation of feeling motion sickness For a while I put that down to the stuffy air in the carriage, but eventually twigged that there was more to it than that. Once I relocated myself in an empty seat on the far side of the train where I could leave the curtain tied back, I started to feel in much better shape. Soon after darkness fell we finally began the approach into Cairns.