Five first impressions from Cairns/Queensland

nzmuse queensland great barrier reef

Basically all everyday items were cheaper than they are here in NZ. I base this on a few separate supermarket visits, the price of petrol (and cars for that matter), and one ad I saw for unlimited broadband. The one bakery we went to, however, was stupidly pricey.

Portions are huge. Check this out for an entree – this is a full size plate, and the bread is loaded up with toppings (Barnacle Bill’s – stay tuned for recommendations in my next post). I assure you that the equivalent here in NZ would be half the size for the same price. It was like being back in the US! Our hosts over in Port Douglas, who we had dinner with one night, had appetites that put ours to shame, too.

barnacle bills cairns meal

The water is delightfully warm. I don’t think I can ever snorkel in NZ again – it’s just too damn cold. It was so bizarre to be standing by the water’s edge and have the air be still and warm (rather than windy and cold). Jumping off the boat out at the reef was like slipping into a lukewarm pool. Even the outdoor pool at our Airbnb rental was surprisingly unchilly.

But there are way too many things you have to watch out for. Everywhere there’s water, there’s a sign warning of crocodiles in the area. Most beaches have stinger nets you have to swim within. And bugs. SO MANY BUGS. Arrrgh.

ellis beach queensland

I saw more half Asian/half Caucasian couples and their offspring in a few days here than I’ve probably seen in my entire life to date. (If I was staring at your kid/s, I was only trying to get a glimpse into my future – sorry if I creeped you out.)

11 thoughts on “Five first impressions from Cairns/Queensland

  • Reply Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way April 30, 2014 at 08:41

    That’s really creeped me out! Crocodile and bugs, I should go to the downtown area rather than go to swimming! 🙂

  • Reply Rachel April 30, 2014 at 09:05

    Having moved from NZ to this area for two years…it’s so cut off. Much more expensive than the rest of Auz (we’re in Syd now). It is however closer to Asia – cheap Jetstar fares to Japan huge bonus. We found the cars a lot more pricey for used when we arrived three years ago, but furnishings and furniture is a lot cheaper, wages a lot higher (minimum wage for a farm hand was $19.32 or close).

  • Reply Kassandra April 30, 2014 at 09:48

    I can’t hack the bugs…just can’t! But so far your first impressions are overall pretty positive!

  • Reply Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies April 30, 2014 at 12:49

    Again, so jealous that you got to go to Queensland. =) I love warm beach water and I can’t understand the desire to swim when it’s freezing cold! Luckily the water gets like warm bath water down here in the summertime, so life isn’t too hard.

  • Reply Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) April 30, 2014 at 15:02

    re: portion size — It’s funny you mention this because when I was chatting with my parents about their visit to Oz, they were talking about how everyone in Australia is so fit & healthy, how it’s like the way Canada & the U.S. were back in the ’70s. But we’ve been seeing plenty of tubby Aussies during our travels and so I’m not really surprised to hear that portions are rapidly inflating and out of control there now too. I have no idea how we’re going to deal with “western” portions when we go back home… we’re currently in Sri Lanka and already struggling. We’re almost down to 1 meal per day because the servings are so generous!

  • Reply Peter H. May 1, 2014 at 02:08

    That looks so delicious and I’m leaving now to get something to eat.

  • Reply Kara May 1, 2014 at 02:49

    A good friend of mine who lived in Aussie land for a while always jokes that everything creature down there can kill you. There’s no such thing as a harmless animal!

    And your last point really made me laugh 😉

  • Reply Manda May 1, 2014 at 12:42

    Haha, your comment about the bugs reminded me of my reaction to them when I first moved to Australia! BUGS EVERYWHERE. I do wish I had visited Cairns when I was living in Oz, though…

  • Reply The Asian Pear May 3, 2014 at 10:57

    It scares me that you say that Australia food is cheaper when I know Australia’s price for food is pricier than Canada. (OMG! NZ must cost a fortune for food!)

    • Reply eemusings May 3, 2014 at 13:52

      NZ is so much smaller and more isolated than Aus. Less competition, less choice. Though I guess if you take into account the Aus/NZ exchange rate it evens out more.

  • Reply SarahN May 17, 2014 at 21:56

    We thought Cairns was pricey, but we ate out, which we’d been doing less of in Sydney. Definitely didn’t find the water as ‘bracing’ as in Sydney, that’s for sure! but I hardly noticed bugs?!

    Re: not eating out as much, it’s cause I was on a healthkick, so smaller portion sizes, made at home etc, so I certainly had some BIG meals too!

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