Cairns in general seems ready to talk to people in German and Japanese. To an extent, the Japanese services are stand-alone enterprises, staffed by and catering to the Japanese and not the public at large. A smattering of mainstream shops seem to have Japanese staff, but a great number post that they speak German. Written menus and brochures, other literature as well, seems to be available in Chinese and most Western European languages, but my guess is it would be hard to get around if you didn't speak English.
The Chinese Night Market
The shops on the Esplanade close fairly early, but if you still want to do a little shopping you can go to the Chinese Night Market. Closed during the day, the stalls here are mostly full of souveniers and stuff, but you can find arts and crafts of a higher caliber as well as certain sweets and delicacies. The waterfront end of the market has a group of fast food restaurants if you get hungry or poor. Postcards, knick knacks, beachwear, that kind of thing About average.
Excellent pizzas and seafood
The service in this restaurant is very good. It's also a good place to go for just a drink. When you wanna order food you have to go to the counter and give your table number and your order. They come and bring it out to your table not much later.
It's conveniently located, along the Esplanade. Despite the fact that it can get very busy they manage to get everybody a seat and keep the service at a high level.
The pizzas are being prepared on the spot, at the front of the restaurant. So everybody who's walking along the Esplanade can see the whole process of the pizzamaking.
All in all a nice place to have dinner at a reasonable price. The pizzas are really good here. They make them in a wood-fired oven, which gives it a great taste.
The mixed seafood dish. You get a plate full of deep fried fish with salad and fries. More than enough for a nice evening meal and very tasty.
Cape Trip Connections
If your planning on visiting Cape Tripulation then use these guys there great and well worth the money, we did the day tour which cost $114.00 per person which includes lunch and afternoon tea, plus you get to go to
depart at 8am, and go to Daintree Mangroves Wildlife sanctuary for a cup of tea or coffee, and then have a guided tour and saw Kangaroos, Cassowariees, Gilders Crocodiles and loads wildlife
then u head out to the Daintree River and look out over Alexandra Range where u get a birds eye view of Port Douglas (on a clear day) then we headed out to Marrdja Boardwalk where u c trees of millions and millions years old and ur caught in a time capsule, then you pass through ancient rainforest and leads you to the complex mangrove swamp system where its all to c, lunch time at Cape Tripulation only a few seconds walk to the beach,, NO Swimming though due to the stingers...... but theres a pool if u fancy a dip,, there also time for Daintree Ice Cream company which you have to pay for and the menu is out of this world depending on wot fruit they have at the time (all natural fruit ice cream hand made there), then u go on the Daintree river cruise for more coffee and more crocodiles, then its off to Mossman Gorge for a dip in the most beautiful views cold but lovely, then u have a drive through Port Douglas interesting but boring
Great Barrier Reef – the cruise
We had to show up early in the morning, because the Compass was leaving from the Marlin Marina at 8 am. First we had to fill a form with a kind of a health check (don’t understand why they don’t do this when booking your cruise !!). The Compass is one of the smaller boats and not too modern, but it has its own charm.
On the way to the reefs we first had to do some ‘ridiculous’ gymnastic exercises. Later on we got instructions about our snorkelling adventure, specially the safety procedures and there was a video about the sea and reef life.
We made a first stop at Hastings Reef, but to be honest snorkelling was not as easy as it seemed at the instruction on board. We were happy with a trip by a glass bottom with a very nice and patient staff member. He explained a lot about the reefs and the fishes we saw in this wonderful world.
After lunch on board of the Compass we sailed to Breaking Patches, another reef. First I and my wife did some swimming together in the Coral Sea (just fun to do), before I tried again to do some snorkelling and the second attempt was much better.
It was really amazing , overwhelming and breathtaking; the colours, the different kinds of coral, the fishes sometimes in schools together, the clear water.
On the way back to Cairns we enjoyed the sun and the wind (don’t forget your sunscreen), a fruit buffet, cheese and a glass of wine. Fore the youngsters the Compass offered ‘boom netting’. There was also a possibility to buy pictures, which had been made during the day, but asking AUD 15,- for just one photo is a kind of a tourist trap.
It was 6 pm when we arrived in Cairns after a wonderful day, which really was ‘a once in a lifetime experience’.
Great Barrier Reef Dive & Snorkel Adventures (or Compass Cruises).:
Full day Outer Reef: AUD 60,- , including lunch, coffee, tea, fruit and cheese, wine, snorkel equipment, boom netting. Not included: wet suit, bus transfers, reef tax, port charge, fuel levy and management levy.