Category: CAIRNS

My Child Wants a Pet. What Is the Ideal First Pet?

So, your child has asked you for a pet. Pets can be a great way to teach responsibility and empathy, but they do come with a lifelong commitment. It’s very important that the decision to get a pet is taken seriously, no matter how small the animal. Your pet will require time, cleaning, feeding, watering, shelter, and stimulation, long after your child may have grown bored of them. As they are sentient beings, we need to ensure that we’re offering them a safe and comfortable home for the rest of their life. The ideal first pet is clean, simple to care for, has some personality, and let’s be honest- reasonably short lived. For this reason pets such as turtles, and some fish or birds, which can live for thirty to one hundred years, are probably out. So, what is the ideal first pet(s)?

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs are friendly, cute little critters and are full of personality. They are great for kids and make an ideal first pet, especially because they provide that tactile reward of petting something soft! Guinea pigs live for around five to eight years, and they require a large enclosure, and regular fresh timothy hay and green vegetables. They can run free on the lawn under supervision, but watch for birds and snakes as they make a pretty tasty snack for predators. You will generally need to clean out their cage once weekly. The main problems we see with guinea pigs are that they can be territorial. This can result in them occasionally harming one another. But, this can be discouraged by having plenty of space and purchasing pigs from the same litter.


Rats are intelligent, active, engaging, quite bonded pets, and can be a very underrated pet. They can be toilet trained using much the same techniques as for a dog.You can feed them a wide variety of foods but there are definitely some to avoid, such as blue cheese, green bananas, green potato skin, and anything with citrus in it. They need a very large cage with plenty of things to climb on and hide in. This cage will need to be cleaned once weekly. Rats should ideally should get plenty of contact and socialisation with people. As for guinea pigs, sometimes they can suffer inter-rat aggression. They can be a little prone to respiratory diseases. Rats generally live for one to two years.


Budgerigars are from the parrot family and are beautiful, quite intelligent, fairly clean pets. In the wild, they form enormous social flocks that fly hundreds of kilometers. Keeping them alone in a small cage probably feels like solitary confinement to some – they need plenty of space, toys, puzzles, mirrors, space, and socialisation. They can live up to 10 years, and their cage needs to be cleaned regularly. They can be trained to step up onto fingers, sing, and perform other small tricks. Generally they are healthy pets but can pick up some diseases from wild birds on occasion.


Most of us have had a goldfish at some point in time. They are quite a hardy fish and fairly simple to care for. Surprisingly, they can be trained to perform tricks such as swimming through underwater hoops! Their water needs to be partially changed every week, and the main problem beginners have with them is overfeeding. Excessive feeding can lead to swim bladder issues. With appropriate feeding, regular water changes, and the occasional tank clean, they can live for ten to fifteen years.


Dogs are probably the best overall family pet and ideal first pet, however they also come with the greatest commitment. They tend to be much more of a family member than just a pet. Dogs are also a great way to get your kids outdoors and socialising. There are many wonderful dog breeds out there, but probably the most family friendly breeds would be Staffordshire Bull Terriers (their energy tends to be able to exhaust even young children!), Labradors or Golden Retrievers. Or, if your children are quiet, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Some breeds, such as Maremmas, aren’t quite suited for family life, so be sure to do your research and meet the puppy and their parents prior to getting one. Dogs need walking, cleaning, training, socialisation, grooming, preventative care and vet care.


Cats can be good family pets, but some cats prefer their own space over spending time with children. If you’re getting a cat for your children, be sure to spend plenty of time getting your kids to meet different cats, and look for one that loves being petted and picked up by your children. Cats are generally very clean pets. If they are indoors they require regular litter changes and feeding, otherwise they are usually fairly independent. One major benefit of cats is that they tend to not be as demanding pets compared to dogs.

There are many great first pets out there, though if you feel that your child may not be quite ready for a pet, it’s okay to wait longer until you get one. There are many different ways of getting an ‘animal fix’ instead of getting a pet for yourself. You can go to the zoo, have a friend’s dogs come over, or visit your crazy cat friend’s home, for example!

Visit the Cairns Veterinary Clinic’s website HERE. 












Will Braces Break the Bank?

Sunbird Orthodontics

Dear Dr Bobby, Will braces break the bank?

There is no doubt that a course of orthodontic braces is a significant financial investment.  However, the benefits of a fantastic smile and a healthy mouth can be life changing – it really is the gift that keeps on giving! 

Because orthodontic braces are such a big investment, it is all the more important that you see a specialist trained Orthodontist to get maximum value for your investment.

Most Orthodontic practices offer multiple ways to fit within your financial budget, including payment plans to spread the cost over months or even years if necessary.  Health funds also contribute to the cost of orthodontic treatment, either as a one-off lump sum, or spread over a few years. This can be claimed through HICAPS, and is a very simple process in most Orthodontic practices.

While it’s tempting to shop around on price, it is much more important to find an orthodontic practice you can trust. In the end, the great experience you have with the Orthodontic practice you choose will be worth way more than the few dollars you save.

Call Sunbird Orthodontics on 4038 1036




Calling all Parents! Are You Looking for an Outstanding School?

Are you looking for an outstanding school for your child? Do you want:

  • A caring, committed staff who will encourage your child to strive for his/her best in the academic sphere?
  • An excellent pastoral care program which fosters the development of the whole child – academically, socially and spiritually?
  • 21st century facilities and a cutting-edge pedagogical approach?
  • A one-stop, birth-to-graduation education solution? Our Early Learning Centre caters for babies from six weeks through to Kindy age. Your child will transition seamlessly from day care to kindy through to primary and secondary school.
  • Affordable fees?

Look no further – come and discover what the outstanding school  MacKillop has to offer!

What do MacKillop Students Love About Their School?

“We learn about writing and we make parrots”- Thomas (Prep).

“I love all my friends, and the sandpit! When I came here everyone was very friendly and kind to me.”- Zaria (Year 4).

“It’s a great school because you get to make a lot of friends.” – Helecia (Year 6).

“I love the new learning facilities.” – Paige (Year 7).

“The teachers are kind and always available to help us.” – Ayla (Year 7).

What are our Parents Saying?

Doreen Deede: “It’s like home, we love it here. I believe MCC offers a very special and unique learning experience and opportunity for all the kids to learn and to grow.”

Chrisstella Fourmile: “The sense of the community here at MacKillop is respectful and inclusive. I couldn’t talk more highly of MacKillop. The teachers are passionate and want to be at the school. What more can you ask for? MacKillop is a welcoming, safe space for families”

How About our Staff?

Alice Bowman: “The best part of my job is getting to engage with the kids, not only at a classroom level, but outside the classroom as well. A lot of the time we feel like a big family.”

Sarah Coleman: “The facilities have been master-planned to encompass flexible spaces and agility in classrooms – everything from write-able surface to multiple screens, to floor-to-ceiling walls to pin things to. Students have ownership of the spaces and can determine how and where they work within them.”

Luke Reed (College Principal): “We are committed to joining with parents and families in partnership for the education, development and formation of our young people. And this we do in a safe, caring and disciplined environment.”







Race Down to Rainforestation for Its Grand Reopening and the TARGA Rally

The CaPTA Group have reopened all four of their amazing parks and invite you to come and enjoy them. Of course, there will be some changes due to COVID-19 guidelines, however their beautiful attractions; Rainforestation Nature Park, Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome and Australian Butterfly Sanctuary are all excited to welcome back locals and visitors alike. And, not only are they getting back up and running, there are upcoming events and competitions to be won too! Locals rates of 20% off applies from Townsville to Cape York and Cairns to Karumba.

Grand Reopening Weekend

There will be a Wildlife Habitat Rainforest Grand Reopening weekend, from the 19 – 20 September. The 30-day countdown for this epic event began in August, in which the park recounts history, favourite moments, and favourite animals. It’s an event you won’t want to miss, with guests, keepers and VIP’s telling stories and using videos, images and newspaper clippings. Together attendees can celebrate the park’s past and accomplishments and get excited for the future.

Guests are also invited to share their favourite Habitat moments on the Habitat’s pinned Facebook post. A winner will be picked every week to get a double pass the Grand Opening weekend.

You can find out more HERE. 

Father’s Day and TARGA at Rainforestation

Father’s Day is also approaching fast – but there is still the chance to win a special Father’s Day TARGA Weekend at Rainforestation through another Facebook competition. Simply share your best dad joke and you could treat dad to cars, food, and the excitement he deserves! The weekend includes prime TARGA viewing from Rainforestation, a delicious Father’s Day breakfast and entry to the Koala and Wildlife Park.

The Annual Pass

If you want unlimited fun and unforgettable experiences then don’t forget about the annual pass that CaPTA offers all year round. The group offers great tours and attractions in both Cairns and Port Douglas, allowing you and the family to enjoy the four attractions plus extras. And, to sweeten the deal… if you’re a local, you can get some awesome discounts too!

Overall the Group Annual Pass allows you to have unlimited admission to all four of the parks, so you can enjoy an abundance of adorable Aussie animals, indigenous culture and much more. Plus, locals’ get 20% off, and as a family this means 12 months of free entry to any or all of the parks (yes – you can go as many times as you like!) for a great price.

Cost: $260.00 for a family, $104.00 for an Adult, $52.00 for a child.

Visit website for terms and conditions.  Covid-19 restrictions apply.

CaPTA Head Office:

P 4035 3555



Fb Rainforestation

Fb The CaPTA Group



Find more things to do HERE. 





Top 7 Myths in Family Law Matters

You are sitting around with friends talking about your separation. As well as their support, they are offering advice based on what happened to someone they know… should you take that on board? Probably not. In Family Law each case is decided according to its facts and the specific situation of the family. Just because one case was decided a certain way doesn’t mean your case will be! It’s really important to get some good advice from an expert family lawyer.

In the meantime, here are some common beliefs you might have heard- proven or debunked by an expert family lawyer;

#1 – “I have a right to see my child.”

It is actually not the parent who has any rights, it is the right of the child to have a “meaningful relationship” with both parents, to the extent that fits with the child’s best interests.

#2 – “I pay child support so I should get to see my child”(or) “He/she doesn’t pay child support so why should they get to see the child.”

Whether or not a person provides financial support for a child, is but one of many considerations as to what is in a child’s best interests. The payment (or non-payment) of child support doesn’t determine what time should be spent with a child. However, the court will definitely look more favourably on a person who pays their child support.

#3 – “I have to wait 12 months before I can sort out my property settlement.” 

You have to wait 12 months before you can apply for a Divorce; but otherwise you can – and should – start sorting out your property settlement as soon as you can after separation.

#4 – “He/She can’t touch my superannuation…can they?”

Yes, they can. Superannuation is an asset just like any other. Sometimes it is the biggest asset of the relationship. The court can and will make orders for it to be “split” (divided).

#5 – “I was the breadwinner so shouldn’t I get more than 50% of the property?”

When deciding a property case, the court looks at ALL the contributions made by both parties during the relationship – financial, and non -financial; and contributions of each party as homemaker and/or parent. The court makes it clear that the “homemaker” role is of equal importance to that of the breadwinner.

#6 – “If I am the one to leave the home, I will lose my entitlement.”

The person who leaves the home does not forgo their entitlement to a property settlement. What will be relevant are the financial and other contributions made by each party after separation.

#7 – “We are a defacto couple after 6 months.” 

In order to access the family law system, the relationship needs to be of at least 2 years duration, but there are exceptions to that rule.


Visit Collier Family Law’s website HERE. 

Read more of their PakMag blogs HERE. 





I Have a Holiday Planned and I Don’t Want to Get Sick!

Naturopath – Calanna Whole Health Pharmacy

Dear Jana, I have a holiday planned and I don’t want to get sick! What can I do to prevent that from happening?

The dry air in aeroplanes and close proximity to others can increase the chance of getting a cold. An immune booster such as the Mario’s Immune Tonic taken in the days before and days after travelling will help you defend against viruses. Using a saline nose spray during and after your flight will also help. Make sure you’re washing your hands thoroughly, regularly and keep them away from your face. When you can’t wash your hands, use a hand sanitiser.