Part 26: Brunost, bikes and Botanical Gardens in Cairns

After my wonderful day on the reef it was time to move out of Gilligan’s Hostel and move into our Airbnb! Max and I took the luggage and went to drop it off at our new place, whilst Shawnee went to the doctors to get eardrops for her ears. We were greeted by our host, a slightly worn out Mum with a young todler, and shown around. The airbnb was our own self contained flat with a bedroom/living room, a bathroom and a kitchen in the basement of their house. Shawnee and Max would take the double bed and I was on a blow up mattress. We were also allowed to use the pool! The house was in a quiet suburb on the outskirts of Cairns called Freshwater. The house sat on the top of a hill, with lush, green, tropical forest behind and mountain views in front.

Freshwater airbnb Cairns

Freshwater airbnb Cairns

Freshwater airbnb Cairns

Freshwater airbnb Cairns

After we dropped our bags off we headed straight into Cairns centre again to meet with Shawnee and go for a bike ride to the Botanical Gardens! Whilst Max and I waited for her to finish we killed time at a café! To my delight I spotted a Sweedish Café on the other side of the road and dragged Max there for a Skandinavian cultural experience. I entered and a women greeted me in English. She asked me where I was from and I could joyously announce I was from Norway! Immediately the conversation switched to Scandinavian (haha sorry Max) and it was revealed unsurprisingly she was Swedish, but that she actually had lived a while in Voss and really liked Bergen. With the knowledge of where I came from she smiled teasingly and told me that she had “vaffler and brunost”. I grinned with excitement and said straight away that of course I would like a couple! Max and I sat down on the Sweedish decorated tables with birch tree wallpaper behind us and were served fresh waffles with raspberry jam and brown cheese. Around us were shelves stacked with jars of pickled herring, chocolate Daim, marzipan, smoked caviar spread and various jams. It was so wonderful to have such an unexpected treat to remind me of home, and I had to laugh a little over how bizarre the situation was. We were having waffles in a Swedish Cafe in tropical Cairns, in 30 pluss degree heat. I bought myself a tube of kaviar from the shop and later on some Jarlsberg cheese (The Australians LOVE this stuff!) in Woolworths for another delicious taste of home later on at the flat.

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Shawnee arrived just in time for a taste before we went and hired bikes for the afternoon. I actually realized I hadn’t ridden a bike for aages, but of course it came back to me straight away and we wobbled confidently towards the Botanical Gardens. We made it out alive from Cairns centre and wizzed along a river that lead us to the gardens. At the gardens we had some lunch and then wondered lazily around looking at tropical plants for the rest of the afternoon. The diversity of spiders was impressive; we saw tiny yellow and blue spiny orb-weaver spiders, large golden silk-orb spiders, cleverly 3 dimensional constructed webs with shy residents hiding under leaves in the centre, and terrifying spiders hanging over us on the tracks. We watched as a bird attempted to carry a dead snake to somewhere where it could eat it in peace and admired red, drooping “lobster-claw” plants among the greenery.

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

After meandering around the garden’s rainforest boardwalks and seeing all the spiders we decided to go crocodile spotting in the nearby lakes and waters (with no luck). We did however see teeny tiny mudskippers (amphibious fish that can use their fins to walk on land) running in and out of the waters on the mudflats. On the way home we cycled along Cairn’s esplanade and enjoyed the view of the bay as the sun disappeared over the hilltops.

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

Bike ride to Cairns Botanical Gardens

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