Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Heated Affair; Tropical North Is a Great Place to Relax

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Heated Affair; Tropical North Is a Great Place to Relax

Article excerpt


Cairns is Australia's gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, but what do you do when you're back on land? There is plenty on offer before or after a reef excursion, as I found during a weekend.

Until then Cairns had always been that place I flew into to get on a boat for a scuba diving holiday or to drive further north to Port Douglas or the Daintree.

But a day or two in Cairns is filled with good food, wine, art and the outdoors.

The Cairns Botanic Gardens is a great place to start.

Surrounded by luscious green foliage comprised of more than 4000 plant species, a 1.5km, 4km or 10km walk is an invigorating start to the day.

There is also an information centre and the Tank Arts Centre, which is a complex built around three concrete fuel tanks where there is always a free art exhibition on display.

A short drive or Skyrail ride will take visitors to Kuranda, the 'village in the rainforest'.

At 330m above sea level, Kuranda is the ideal spot to escape the midday humidity.

Grab lunch or a coffee and tour the shops and art galleries.

There is a plethora of original Aboriginal art. If not in the market for artworks take a design home on a scarf, tea towel or tea pot.

No trip to Kuranda is complete without a taste of the locally made mango wine.

Golden Drop Winery has a shop featuring sparkling and white mango wines as well as a range of 'cellos'.

They are all made from the mangoes grown and harvested by the Nastasi family in the nearby Atherton Tablelands. Each bottle of wine is made from kilos of mangos, which give a subtle finish to sweet and dry whites.

For a more intense flavour there is the mango cello, a fortified liqueur wine. The dragonfruit cello is a pleasant surprise.

The tasteless fruits are condensed to make a Turkish delight-like liqueur for use in cocktails and desserts.

The newly opened Cairns Aquarium is another way to take in the wonders of the reef without donning a mask, snorkel, fins and stinger suit. …

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