What a fabulous forum. I wish I had found it before I started my travels. Now I am here I will present my experiences as they happen and hope some persons may benefit from my experiences. I am staying in Backpackers or cheaper hotels around Australia and have so far found them to be clean, well managed, and hospitable. I prefer to skimp on accommodation and splurge on seeing the best I can. I arrived in Cairns Queensland three days ago from Darwin in the Northern Territory.
I spent just three days in Darwin. I arrived there form Singapore feeling shattered after flying there from Germany but pushed myself to join a two day tour from Darwin to Kakadu national park and back to Darwin.
For anyone else considering the same route I really think you need a day o r two in Darwin to get over the jet lag and adjust a little to the heat and humidity. Maybe I am doing this at the wrong time of year. The heat and humidity was difficult for me. As soon as the small bus would stop near a river or such I just wanted to dive in. The problem with that was the rivers have many crocodiles in them, so I had to stare and dream only.
Kakadu National Park was well worth the time and money. I met many Australianís and learned much about the aboriginal people , their way of life , and life in general for the inhabitants of this huge territory. We did swim in a very nice waterfall which was fantastic although I did find trekking to Nourlangie Rock a little exhausting in the heat. Yellow waters is a fantastic place to photograph birds , crocodiles , and wallabies. All in all a very good experience. I did not really do the Northern Territory justice. I met other people that travelled through the Territory for weeks. They had amazing stories. There is just so much one can do in two and a half short weeks. I travelled with adventure tours in the territory. The total cost with some add ons was $438.00. I stayed one night in Chilliís Backpackers.
Cairns town was a very pleasant surprise. The town is built on the Ocean front. There are many backpackers , restaurants , hotels and coffee shops all the way along the Esplanade which seems to be the place most travellers are staying or at least meet up with others. I am staying away from the town in the Serphents back packers. I have a ten minute walk to the center. The walk is very pleasant and refreshing as we walk along the Ocean front all of the way to town. Many birds are feeding in the mud when the tide goes out. Like a mini Kakadu in the middle of a large town.
Yesterday was one of the most amazing days of my life. I spent the day at Lizard Island which is an Island several hundred kms from Cairns. There was a group of 7 of us booked onto a small plane. The plane travelled along the Great Barrier Reef at very low altitude, so low we could see Manta Rays in the Oceans and Turtles. The plane trip lasted 50 minutes. Once on the Island we were guided to a private place to snorkel and explore this remote paradise. The great barrier reef must be the most beautiful place in the world. We swam with thousands of big and small fish , turtles and small sharks. There was too much to describe. The beaches on the Island were the most beautiful I have ever seen. The flight back was along the remote beaches of North Queensland seeing World Heritage Rainforests , rivers , waterfalls and two Aboriginal towns. The tour is expensive but worth every bit.The Lizard Island Day Tour with daintreeair.com.au from Cairns was simply an experience of a life time. Cost was high at $590.00 but I would do it again in a second. The cost includes all flights, meals, private guides gear etc. Today I shop for artefactsí, tomorrow I go back to the amazing Great Barrier Reef.