I had decided last year that I wanted to travel more during the course of the year, but repeating the sort of trip I usually do around November was out since it ends up being very expensive and time consuming. So the plan was to bounce over to the east coast of Australia or maybe to a close overseas location now and then for a break.
As it happened, QANTAS had a sale offer to Cairns that was valid over the Australia Day long weekend. So I went for it, booking as economy and putting in upgrades requests. 3/4 of the requests were granted automatically with the final leg (Sydney to Perth) sitting in “Confirmed” status.
The flight out of Perth was a late night one and what looked like a bit of fortune, being on a refitted A330 (Australian Business Traveller has a very good review of the Business Suite the refitted A330s have). Unfortunately, the recline function on my seat didn’t work and this had an impact on my ability to get any sleep. The flight was very quick to Brisbane and was followed by the flight to Cairns, on a 737. I think on this flight the lack of sleep caught up with me because I began to feel sick during this flight and decided to skip the breakfast service.
Upon arriving in Cairns and getting my bag, I got a taxi to the hotel. The road in/out of the airport goes through a mangrove area, providing a nice bit of scenery.
I had booked into the Doubletree Hotel, which had a very good location, just across the road from the Esplanade and close to the restaurant strip. A lot of reviews have mentioned how “tired” it looks, but I think it’s really a specific issue that the exterior has the normal wear and tear you would expect and it due for a good clean and/or repainting of the exterior. I found the interior of the rooms to be quite good quality without the level of wear than the outside of the building had.
The room had all the bits and pieces you’d expect, plus a little balcony, although given the humidity in Cairns, it didn’t get much use by me. I was lucky enough to get a room with an ocean view.
I had decided to go to a Bavarian beer hall for lunch when in Cairns, because I felt that a good German wheat beer would be just perfect to offset the heat and humidity of the location. Unfortunately, the place wasn’t opened when I went to it.
Soon it was time to head back home. I got to the airport a bit early so I could spend some time in the lounge. The airport is very sneaky about the security system, as it’s not immediately visible as you heard towards the departments area. The Qantas lounge was quite large and had great view of the surrounding green hills.
The first return flight to Sydney went pretty quickly. What I thought would be a 2 man show in the business cabin turned out to be about 8 people. I was lucky enough to get a decent approach to Sydney airport where I could see the bridge and opera house (which I hadn’t seen on previous flights through Sydney).
The final flight to Perth was on an A330, but with the old 2-3-2 configuration. It was totally packed. As always, the west-heading flight took a long time. Coming up to our gate, I did see one of Qantas’ Retro Roo 737s, but didn’t think to take a photo.
Overall, an enjoyable break.