Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Esplanade Lagoon, Cairns

I'm attending a conference in Cairns in tropical North Queensland. Cairns is the "gateway" to the Great Barrier Reef. It's situated on Trinity Bay, part of the Coral Sea. There's no beach to speak of, as the "beachfront" is a tidal mangrove and mudflat - a great ecosystem, but not what tourists are generally looking for! (though apparently it was orginally a sandy beach, but dredging the shipping channel covered the sand with mud). Cairns has traditionally been seen as a convenient base for trips into World Heritage Rainforest and the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. It's a booming tourist venue

In recent times, the Esplanade area has been completely made over, and as well as boardwalks, kids' playgrounds, large swathes of grass and shade trees, barbecues, there is this massive free swimming lagoon, complete with sand beach. It covers 4 hectares, and is open daily between 6am and 10pm, and patrolled by security guards outside those times to prevent damage.

The water in the lagoon is sea water, but cleaned and filtered every few hours. No marine 'stingers' can enter the water, so it's safe for swimming all year round (you don't go in coastal water in northern Qld between November and April unless wearing a "stinger suit" to protect against deadly jellyfish.) And the beaches and estuaries are crocodile territory as well.

Click here to read more.

Below: Looking north across the mudflats
Below: Grassy areas with shady trees and barbecues

Below: The beach

Below: I love these "woven" steel fish sculptures which spout water. They are by Brian Robinson. Woven Fish was commissioned by the Cairns City Council and the Queensland Government and completed in 2003.

Below: Aerial view of central Cairns, with the esplanade lagoon clearly visible

Below: Hmmmm....I wonder what will happen if I put

Below: A delicate touch

Below: Still swimming after dark

Below: Early morning Pilates class


Jilly said...

I'm astounded. I left Cairns in 1991. My God, the changes are extraordinary. You couldn't swim in Cairns when I was there. Only on the northern beaches and then only within the nets. Imagine swimming at night. Oh wow. I'm just bowled over.

angela said...

What a fabulous place to have a conference.
Great photos..thanks for sharing them.