The Americans named Australia ‘Down Under’ a long time ago.
It is the large island shaped like the head of a Scotty dog, the nose points across the Indian Ocean to Africa, the ears across the Arafura Sea to New Guinea and the neck faces the Pacific Ocean separating it from South America.
Cairns is on the South American side, up top in northern Queensland, above the Tropic of Capricorn and anchored just below paradise.
It is typical of tropical places – lush and green with brightly coloured fauna and flora.
Cairns is where the mountains of the rainforest meet the waters of the reef full of brightly coloured coral and fishes.
Right in the centre of the City of Cairns opposite Sofitel Reef Casino is the Cairns International Hotel and this will be the base for “Bromeliads Downunder” the 18th World Bromeliad Conference from 24–29 June 2008.
Have a look at this five star hotel. http://www.cairnsinternational.com.au.
How can you get to this beautiful place?
You cannot just drive over, even an airtight VW would run out of petrol and there are no service stations in the ocean for refueling.
It is too far to swim and there are creatures in those oceans that have hungry stomachs and big teeth!
You could come over by cruise ship, we have large liners dock here and you could stroll to the hotel.
You could come by airplane, entering on the eastern side at either Sydney or Brisbane.
From there you can come up to Cairns by airplane, by sea, by train or by road – so many decisions!!
We will talk about that at another time.
Once here you will easily fill any spare time, as it would take a solid month of tripping just to explore the Cairns area and most trips begin within five minutes of the hotel.
To the east the colours and creatures of the Great Barrier Reef are a short boat or helicopter trip offshore plus there are fishing, diving and scuba trips.
To the north is Port Douglas, the Daintree Rainforest, then historic Cooktown and the northernmost tip is Cape York.
To the west is the rich volcanic soil of the Atherton Tablelands, home to dairy, fruit and vegetable production and further west the countryside gets drier.
To the south the views are mainly green coloured by sugarcane, banana, avocado and pawpaw trees.
The entire area is beautiful, wrapped by a backdrop of mountains of ever changing green and some areas have a blue haze.
The programme for “Bromeliads Downunder” will be as past conferences.
There will be a Banquet, Rare Plant Auction, plant sales and local Garden Tour.
On Thursday there will be a full day optional tour to Kuranda combining Rail, Skyrail or Bus, see http://www.skyrail.com.au.
Kuranda is up the mountain range above Cairns and the trip is picturesque whether by road, rail or Skyrail.
The township has markets, a bird park, butterfly sanctuary, varied food outlets and craft shops.
Other trips at reduced prices will be available and a real favourite is the wildlife sanctuary, http://www.rainforesthabitat.com.au.
To readers who do not have access to the internet, let me know and I will arrange for literature to be sent to you.
Come on over, we will show you some of our beautiful home, “toss a shrimp on the barbie” and teach you our war cry of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy,Oy,Oy”.
We will have lots of fun, see some wonderful bromeliads and learn more about our favourite plants.