In our opinion, Cairns should be on everyone's bucket list, regardless of where you're from - Australia or otherwise! Cairns is on the east coast of Far North Queensland, and, at 152,729, is the 14th most populated city in the whole of Australia. A quick history: Cairns was named after Sir William Wellington Cairns, Governor of Queensland. It was founded in 1876, one year after he was first appointed.
As you may expect, being considered the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, tourism is huge in Cairns. It ranks at an impressive fourth place for international tourists, coming behind Australia's biggest cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Cairns is not quite as popular for domestic tourism, as it does not make the top 10, but still attracts a significant number of Australian visitors despite its location being far from all major capital cities. To give you some perspective, it takes 19 hours to drive from Brisbane, 26 hours from Sydney, and 30 hours from Melbourne!
Big Captain Cook Statue to commemorate his first visit on 10 June 1770.
When you're so far from home, finding a comfortable place to stay is on the higher end of our priority list... which is where Lilybank Guest House comes in! A cosy 6-bedroom, 2-storey historic house situated in a leafy suburb just 10 minutes from Cairns city, Lilybank is literally a tropical sanctuary. Built in the 1900s, it is the site of approximately 100 years of history, and is actually featured on the Stratford Heritage Trail!
Linda and Scott Ashworth took over Lilybank in 2013 after having lived in the area for over 20 years. We had the pleasure of having some amazing chats with Linda over the three days and two nights that we were there; we learned heaps about the history of the place, and all the hard work and effort she put into maintaining and upgrading Lilybank. We also learned that Linda is a huge dog lover, and has four pugs of her own. Eddy and Sam loved all the pats and attention that Linda gave them!
Before I harp on for too long about how amazing Linda is and how beautiful and serene the property is, here are some photos so that you can start imagining what it might be like to spend some time at Lilybank... I'll give you a hint. You'll love it! Please note that I only took photos of the first storey as this is where we stayed; although we got to have a look at the second storey, I decided not to take photos so as to not bother the guests staying upstairs.
In the lounge area, there are communal coffee and tea making facilities. The coffee machines make a pretty decent cappuccino! There are also plenty of board games and books to keep you entertained if you choose to relax and stay in - which we definitely recommend. Lilybank is a dream, especially for someone who lives in the Sydney metropolitan area!
With your stay, free continental breakfast is included. Choose from a variety of toasts, a wide selection of fresh fruit, multiple brands of cereals... and more! Breakfast is available from 7am and is set out beautifully on the kitchen bench.
We stayed in Room 6 which is located on the first floor, with a view of the swimming pool. It even has its own private fenced backyard which is perfect for travellers like us who take their dogs with them. The boys loved running around in the backyard, and us humans could relax in peace, knowing they couldn't run off and escape.
Room 6 is cosy, spacious, and has everything a traveller could need. The bed was soft and comfortable, and stationed directly in front was a smart TV - talk about relaxing in royal comfort! It was the perfect size for two people (and two dogs). The private en suite bathroom had complimentary toiletries and other thoughtful gestures - including a hairdryer and a clothes hanger which are always appreciated.
Our only regret from the trip is not meeting Gary, resident tree frog who likes to go from room to room. We didn't get even a glimpse of Gary, but on the bright side, it's one more reason for another trip up to Lilybank!