Tag Archives: cairns

Top 5 Tips for #ACMHN2018 Delegates

In October 2018 hundreds of mental health nurses will descend on Cairns for the 44th ACMHN International Mental Health Nursing Conference. As part of pre-conference publicity ACMHN have put their “Top 5 Tips for #ACMHN2018 Presenters” online [link].

That got me thinking that it might be helpful to have some “Top 5 Tips for #ACMHN2018 Delegates”, ie:  a local mental health nurse’s suggestions on what to do when you’re NOT at the conference. FNQ (Far North Queensland) is worth exploring – be sure to tack-on some rest and recreation time before and after the conference.

With no further ado, please read on…

Top 5 Places for a Drink

Mondo www.mondoonthewaterfront.com.au
Mondo is my favourite place for afternoon drinks or lunch. It’s a 500m walk from the conference venue. The location is fantastic, with views across Trinity Inlet and nearly always a cool breeze.
Local’s tip: If you do decide to eat here try the sizzling fajita. Yum!

Hemingways www.hemingwaysbrewery.com
Hemingways opened in June 2018, and sits in a beautifully restored/repurposed dockside cargo shed. It has an industrial chic look and feel about it, and they make their own beers on site. Hemingways is less that 200m from the conference venue… stumbling distance 🙂
Local’s tip: craft beer not your thing? the AIX Rosé is delicious!

Salt House salthouse.com.au
A 10 minute walk from the conference venue, Salt House has a new deck that overlooks the marina and a larger area where there is often live music. It’s cool and casual, and a favourite with the after-work crowd.
Local’s tip: have the Bloody Mary oyster shooter!

RSL www.cairnsrsl.com.au
Do you have an image of a RSL as a dingy old place full of dingy old people? Forget it! From the conference venue take a 10-15 minute stroll along the lively, cosmopolitan esplanade to take a seat at the light and breezy bar with tilt-up windows.
Local’s tip: the bar’s resident willy wagtail is called Russell

Vine Room www.facebook.com/thevineroomurbanprovedore
Situated just across Florence Street from the RSL, Vine Room is an open air, slightly elevated spot for an afternoon/evening drink. Watch the dive trips come in from the reef with a cool beverage.
Local’s tip: if you’re with 3 or 4 others grab one of their platters for a nibble

Top 5 Places to Eat

Fusion www.fusionartbar.com.au
Less than 200m from the conference venue, this groovy little place is great for just a drink, but the food is too yummy to miss. My favourites are the tapas dishes, which the friendly staff will match to your wines if you ask them to.
Local’s tip: the specials are nearly always amazing!

Splash www.splashrestaurant.com.au
This seafood restaurant on The Nard (local speak for “The Esplanade”) is a great spot to watch the world go by while eating delicious things. It’s a 10-15 meander from the conference venue.
Local’s tip: the seafood chowder is a delicious and surprisingly cheap meal; if you want to treat yourself have the Morton Bay Bugs in garlic butter

Iyara www.facebook.com/IyarabySakare
The best Thai restaurant in Cairns is also on The Nard, but is a bit harder to find than the others. Look for the casual and fun Courtyard at street level. The door to the stairs taking you up to Iyara is to the right of the entrance to Courtyard. It’s a very good restaurant, and if you’re seated on the balcony you’ll be able to see the blinking lights of the shipping channel snaking out to sea.
Local’s tip: the starter that has a prawn, lime and peanuts wrapped in a betel leaf is fantastic!

Tha Fish www.thafish.com.au
Situated on the boardwalk of The Pier, Tha Fish overlooks the marina – it’s a 5-10 minute walk from the conference venue. Great food, great wine list and great service.
Local’s tip: order from “tha fish list” where you choose from one of 5 fishes and one of 5 cooking styles

Ochre ochrerestaurant.com.au
If you found Mondo you can find Ochre – it’s just another 50m or so along the boardwalk that fronts Trinity Inlet. A creative menu using lots of native Australia ingredients. Classy!
Local’s tip: if there are two or more of you have a tasting platter (be sure to include the salt and pepper quail)

Top 5 Things to Do in Cairns

The Lagoon/Boardwalk www.cairns.qld.gov.au/esplanade
The boardwalk is a nice stroll, and well used by locals and visitors alike. If you do the whole thing it connects Hemingways to the mangroves near the airport, but that’s not much fun in full sun. Around sunrise or sunset it’s pretty nice though.
Local’s tip: there are a couple of avenues of large trees that converge at the lagoon – go via the shade if it’s sunny!

Rusty’s Markets www.rustysmarkets.com.au
The markets are a couple of blocks from the conference venue fronting both Grafton and Sheridan Streets. They markets are well-worth a visit on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. There’s a bit of standard hippy bling near the Grafton Street entrance, but the cool stuff is the food in the middle and Sheridan Street end of the markets.
Local’s tip: buy a few tropical fruits you’ve never tried before – the stallholders are generous with showing/telling you how to eat them

The Tanks www.tanksartscentre.com
If there’s a show on at The Tanks that coincides with your trip to Cairns get there. Tank 5 is a fantastic venue to see bands/other acts. If there are no live shows that appeal sus-out any art exhibitions. The Tanks are about $10-15 in an Uber or $20-25 in a taxi from the conference venue. There’s also a bus (see below).
Local’s tip: the botanic gardens are next door if you’re doing a day trip

The Beaches travelnq.com/cairns-beaches
It shits me when people say Cairns doesn’t have a beach. It doesn’t have a beach in the CBD, but then neither does Sydney. But you don’t hear people say Sydney doesn’t have a beach. The nine Cairns beaches are all north of the city. If you don’t have a hire car, take the sunbus to the beaches of your choice: www.sunbus.com.au/cairns
Local’s tip: stinger season usually starts in November, but they can come early some years.

The Red Arrow www.cairns.qld.gov.au
For a sweat-inducing but beautiful walk head to The Red Arrow near The Tanks/botanic gardens. Green exercise is better for mental health than gym-based exercise, and when you’re puffing for breath looking down on the airport/city from Mount Whitfield you’ll notice a smile pass over your lips between gasps.
Local’s tip: your accom provider may be able to provide a bike for you to get there – if so you can do the whole trip on designated bike tracks away from nasty killer cars [maps here]

Top 5 Trips out of Cairns

Great Barrier Reef www.cairnsattractions.com.au
You can see the Great Barrier Reef from outer space or from a boat from Cairns or Port Douglas. Boat trips are much cheaper than rocket trips, but it’s worth paying a bit extra for one that goes to the outer reef – that’s where the cool stuff is. Snorkelling is pretty easy unless you’re very unfit.
Local’s tip: don’t pre-book your trip, watch the day-to-day weather forecasts before booking – ideally you’ll go on a day when the wind is 10kmh or less.

Daintree Rainforest/Cape Tribulation www.destinationdaintree.com
You can do this as a day trip in a hire car easily. Here’s my special secret itinerary which, until now, I’ve only ever shared with family and friends: 

Wake up early. An early start means you beat the tourist buses heading up to the Daintree. It doesn’t have to be a pre-dawn take-off, but this is written as if you’re in the car and driving at 7:00am(ish) – if you’re not on the road before 8:00am you’re too late.

Drive north up Sheridan Street/Captain Cook Highway. If you didn’t get proper coffee before you left town, too bad: get it in the Daintree instead.

You’ll drive past all the suburban beach turnoffs and Palm Cove in the way out of town. Relax. By leaving early you can see any of them on the way back.

Drive through Ellis Beach. About 15-20 minutes later you’ll see the signs/parking area for Rex Lookout. Stop there for photos and fresh air. Lovely.

Keep driving north, don’t turn off to Port Douglas: keep going towards Mossman. If you’re REALLY desperate for coffee you can try your luck in Mossman, but it’s better to keep driving. 

20-30 minutes later you’re at the ferry that crosses the Daintree River. Get a return ticket, and officially start to relax. You’ve beaten the traffic. You’re in a lovely part of the world.

You’ve crossed the river now. Chill. Soon after you get off the ferry you’ll see the sign pointing to Florence Lookout on the right. Take the turn. Take some photos.

Now you’re less than half an hour away from stopping for breakfast. Keep driving north until you get to Thornton Beach. There’s a place next to the beach that makes good coffee and breakfast. You can take your time.

Along the way there a free boardwalks. Take the time to walk along all of the free ones. There’s a commercial boardwalk/skywalk thingy too. You’ll see it advertised. It’s good, but so are the free boardwalks. You can choose to go on the paid boardwalk/skywalk on the way back if you want to.

Putter your way to Cape Tribulation. There are lovely beaches there – check with a local on whether it’s safe to get in the sea (irukandji likely to be a bigger risk than crocs).

Take your time. Late brunch/early lunch in Cape Trib. Soon the tourist buses will start arriving. You don’t care, you’re turning around and leaving Cape Trib now.

Enjoy the drive south. Turn -off/stop wherever you want. Make sure you stop in at that tropical fruit ice-cream place you saw on the way up.

After you’ve crossed the river again, plan to drop into Mossman Gorge on the way home. If you couldn’t swim before, you can here: fantastic clear, cold, croc-free fresh water.

How’s the time going? You’ll be time to have a look at Port Douglas: make sure. to get photos @ Four Mile Beach, somewhere down the other end of Macrossen Street near the Courthouse Hotel. Hang a right, and go up to the lookout. 

Take your time driving home. Be sure to stop at Rex Lookout again (the light has changed, it looks different, there may be hang-gliders). 

Do you have time to stop at Ellis Beach? It’s more about the beach than anything else.

Do you have time to stop at Palm Cove? It’s more about the bars and restaurants than anything else, but there is a nice jetty for a walk, and an irukandji net to allow safe(ish) swimming. 

There a few more beaches on the way back to Cairns. They all have different looks/qualities, visit whichever you like: most are only 10 minutes off the highway, Yorkeys Knob is more like 15.

That’s it.. 

Have fun! 

Mossman Gorge www.mossmangorge.com.au
Mossman Gorge is beautiful. If you can’t get to The Daintree for whatever reason go here instead – it’ll give you a good taste of the wet tropics with the bonus of cultural context.
Local’s tip: if you’re feeling the heat/humidity pack your togs – the croc-free water is always cool in Mossman Gorge

Port Douglas www.tourismportdouglas.com.au
Port is a pretty town which somehow maintains a small town feel despite all the tourist infrastructure. It’s definitely worth staying in Port for a night or two if you have time.
Local’s tip: the Sunday morning markets and Sunday arvo session at The Courthouse are fun

The Waterfall Circuit www.millaamillaa.com
This is another do-able as a day trip in a hire car thing. It’s lovely up on the tablelands, and a good way to see the good stuff is to ignore the advice of TLC and DO go chasing waterfalls. There’s a map in the link above,
Local’s tip: if you’re up that way definitely drop into the Mungulli Creek Dairy for cheese, chocolate and other yummy stuff

End

That’ll do for now.

My meta4RN website does not accept paid advertising – in fact, I pay a bit more each year to have a website without advertising. This is a prelude to say that my “Top 5 Tips for #ACMHN2018 Delegates” are just my opinion. It’s OK to ignore or disagree with my suggestions or – better still – add your suggestions in the comments section below… if enough people do add their suggestions, I’ll create another category: Top5 Reader Suggestions. 🙂

See you in Cairns for #ACMHN2018!

Paul McNamara
27th August 2018 [Twitter pics/updates on 9th September 2018]
Short URL: meta4RN.com/tips

Sex Essentials – The Fairy Tale

On Friday 18 May 2018 the Cairns Sexual Health Service hosted their seventh Sex Essentials education day for nurses, GPs, youth workers, allied health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers, educators and community workers. These annual education days are famous in FNQ and beyond for being energetic and fun. Each Sex Essentials day has a different theme, the 2018 theme was “The Fairy Tale”.

Regular visitors to meta4RN.com know that I’m a fan of taking health education beyond the classroom/conference walls by using social media. While readily acknowledging that there’s no way to capture the whole day on a web page, hopefully this collation of Tweets gives a taste of the creative, inspiring, fun and educational event that was Sex Essentials – The Fairy Tale:

1.

More info re #SMACC (Social Media and Critical Care) here.
More info re #FOAMed (Free Open Access Meducation) here.
2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

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This is not an exaggeration. For example, watch this short presentation about how FNQ is home to Australia’s first Hep-C free prison here.
Vimeo

AVHEC 2017 – Darren Russell “Keynote 11 – Eliminating Hepatitis C – The Cairns Experience” from ASHM on Vimeo.

8.

You know what bear means, right? If not, have a quick read here.
9.

Sincere thanks to Max for an excellent keynote presentation, and agreeing to this Tweet being in the public domain.
Also, my mistake: that should read cisgender/cisgendered.
10.

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12.

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URL to the How Much Do You Know? podcasts: eastsidefm.org/howmuchdoyouknow
16.

URL to Cairns Sexual Health Service: www.health.qld.gov.au/cairns_hinterland/html/shealth
17.

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This session was facilitated by psychologist Suzanne Habib, and drew on the lived experience and generous wisdom of three remarkable people who shared their stories and answered our (sometimes a bit dumb) questions.
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Finishing-Up

For the sake of posterity, here are pics of the program.

Morning

Afternoon
Also for posterity, and by way of thanks to the slightly crazy, but very fun, staff of Cairns Sexual Health Service, here is the way the day started:

More info re Cairns Sexual Health Service here.

Visit the their Facebook page for more photos and info re future Sex Essentials days – health education done right.

End 

As always, comments are welcome in the section below.

Paul McNamara, 19 May 2018

Short URL: meta4RN.com/sex

Mental Health and Cognitive Changes in the Older Adult

This afternoon I’m presenting at Ausmed’s Cairns Nurses’s Conference. The title of the presentation is “Mental Health and Cognitive Changes in the Older Adult”.

The only real point of this blog post is to leave a copy of the powerpoint presentation online, so that those attending the conference can revisit the slides PRN. Here it is:

And here’s the spiel from the Ausmed website
www.ausmed.com.au/course/cairns-nurses-conference

Mental Health and Cognitive Changes in the Older Adult

As we get older, the likelihood of undergoing alterations to brain function is high. This may include normal neurodegenerative changes as well as abnormal deteriorations. Separating normal from dysfunctional degeneration when screening and assessing an older adult is essential for quality nursing care planning. This session will look at:

  • What are normal age-related changes to the brain and consequent behavioural signs?
  • How are these changes different to the onset of mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, psychosis or bipolar disorder?
  • Age appropriate assessment tools for effective mental health assessment
  • Benefits of brief psychosocial interventions
  • What practical behavioural strategies may improve outcomes for a person with a mental health disorder and cognitive changes?

About the presenter:

Paul McNamara has extensive experience providing clinical and educative mental health support in general hospital and community clinical settings. He holds hospital-based, undergraduate and post-graduate qualifications, is Credentialed by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN), and has been a Fellow of the ACMHN since 2007. Paul is a very active participant in health care social media, and is enthusiastic about nurses embracing “digital citizenship” – more info via his website http://meta4RN.com

ausmed16

End

That’s it. Short and sweet.

I hope this is of some use/interest to those who are attending the conference, and (maybe) some people who are not able to get along.

As always, feedback is welcome in the comments section below.

Paul McNamara, 15 December 2016

Short URL: https://meta4RN.com/Ausmed16

 

Cyclone: Alert, Not Alarmed

Dear Mum and Dad (and anyone else who is interested),

outlookIn a couple of days you may see on the news that a cyclone has spun-up out in the Coral Sea. At the time of writing the cyclone is predicted but not named. The forecast map (see bottom of the page) suggests that Townsville is more likely to cop it than us.

I think it’s a good idea to put you as fully in the picture as I can. We kind of like the way cyclones get named: it seems to give them each a distinct personality. We’ve had a few cross the coast nearby since we moved to Cairns.

katrinaCyclone Katrina mucked around for a couple of weeks, but never got organised enough to cross the coast as a big blow. Katrina did not cause any deaths in Australia, but a man in Vanuatu lost his life in her rough seas, and hundreds of homes in the Solomon Islands were damaged or destroyed. We were OK in Australia.

800px-New_Orleans_ElevationsCyclone Katrina was much more benign than Hurricane Katrina. The other difference is that although Cairns is not a long way above the high tide mark, at least parts of it are not below the high tide mark as New Orleans is. That’s why so many people died because of Hurricane Katrina: it was not the wind, it was the water. That’s true of most cyclone deaths: flooding and drowning is where most danger lies.

CairnsHospital

Cairns Hospital, 165-171 Esplanade

Luckily we do not own a house on the beach front (there’s also the small matter of not having a lazy couple of million dollars lying around). Storm surges that coincide with cyclones can be a bit of a worry, but at least our place is not in a red zone like the local hospital. Feel free to check our address using storm tide surge address search/evacuation maps here or (just in case the council’s website goes offline) here.

justinThere was heaps of flooding after Cyclone Justin: I remember water lying around for days. Justin is responsible for lost lives In Papua New Guinea and a boat at sea. Closer to home an Innisfail boy was electrocuted by power lines bought down by the cyclone, and a lady was caught in a landslide near Townsville. All that rain and the buffeting wind was bad for crops and trees (some of which fell on to homes).

larryAfter Cyclone Larry we did not have power for five days. It’s amazing how often we still automatically reached for the light switch when entering a room. The reflex of a life time of luxury, I guess. Did you know that about 25% of the world’s population does not have electricity? Info about that here. Going a few days without electricity is a nuisance, but we know it will always come back on. We are better-off than many.

steveCyclone Steve made things a bit soggy for a few days too. The Barron Falls were pumping – if we get another cyclone crossing the coast be sure to checkout the webcam here for a view of the falls in full flood – spectacular! All the tourist operators trot out this cliché at this time of year: “You can’t have rainforest without rain!” It is the wet tropics, after all.

yasiCyclone Yasi looked like it was going to give Cairns a shake-up: so much so they even evacuated the hospitals – the biggest hospital evacuation in Australia’s history. Cairns was lucky that Yasi took a slight turn south before crossing the coast: Tully, Cardwell and Mission Beach really copped a belting though. Yasi was a big, powerful cyclone, but did not directly kill anyone. There was one indirect death: a young man suffocated after bringing a generator inside.

header_logoWe are used to preparing for cyclone season. Every year the Cairns City Council issues information about preparing for cyclones – it’s just part of the annual ritual. we have done it 19 times now.

We have enough food to last a few days. We have containers to store water in, if required. We have batteries for the radio, so we can stay informed about what’s going on if the power goes out. We live high above sea level. We take cyclones seriously. We are prepared.

imagesHowever, we don’t take the hyped-up TV coverage seriously. If the TV shows start shipping their main in-studio people up to Cairns for live crosses please switch of the telly. These shows need to create drama and suspense to make the story compelling, but the truth of it that it’s just weather. Weather that we’re used to. Weather that will be nuisance to many and maybe even dangerous to a few. However, the reality is that it will be more dangerous to drive to the airport to pick you up when you next visit than it is to live in a city with strict building regulations. Houses can still sustain major damage of course, but they don’t blow away anymore. Those images of houses completely blown away by Cyclone Tracy are a thing of the past: Tracy changed building codes right across the Australian tropics.

forecastPlease don’t be worried. Please don’t get seduced by the inevitable media hype. I’ll call/text when I can, and give live updates on Twitter using the @WePublicHealth handle if a cyclone comes close to Cairns this week, otherwise i will use my usual @meta4RN handle. The purpose of Tweeting will to be to provide a non-alarmist account of what’s going-on. The mainstream media are not very good at this, so (to borrow a term from Melissa Sweet ) it is up to citizen journalists to do so.

Well, citizen journalists and the Bureau of Meteorology, that is: www.bom.gov.au

Speak soon.

love, Paul

27th January 2014