We get to Cairns and the humidity is instant, welcome to frizzy hair! We have a short free ride to our Backpackers, the Beach house, which was a bargin at $15 a night, a free evening meal and free breakfast. It was about a 20 min walk to the CBD, which was a pain sometimes, but otherwise the hostel was really good.
We have 3 trips set up, firstly we go off to Cape Tribulation the next morning on a day bus trip. Our first stop was a boat trip on the Daintree river, exploring the rainforrest and trying to spot a few crocs, we did see a couple of baby ones, which was a bit disappointing, not so much for me because I had a great experience with them in Darwin, but it would have been nice for Jane to see a big salty! the cruise was ok, I felt the cruise on Yellow Water in Kakadu national park was much much better, especially for all the wildlife I saw, but Jane enjoyed it, which was good. We then stopped off at a boardwalk through the Daintree rainforrest - the oldest rainforrest in the world, and is a world heritage site
. The walk was very short, but we did see some cool trees! one of them was 12000 years old! it was called a strangler tree, which basically takes over another tree by wrapping itself all around it, the host tree eventually dies, and you are left with a beautiful twisting tree rising up to the tree tops. We move onto lunch at a backpacker type place, which was disappointing, we were given child size portions, and it was not enough, not for a full day trip, many people also thought this, and it seemed it was a problem well known to the tour guide, thankfully Jane had brought MnM's from home with her, so we munched on those! Next stop was at Mossman Gorge where we could swim, at this point it started to rain heavily! the Gorge was quite a sight, looking like a grade 3-4 rapid! unfortunately the water was quite dirty due to all the rain they have had, but its usually crystal clear, I reassured Jane that on Fraser Island, she will have her pick of the crystal clear lakes! We didn't swim, as it turned a bit cold! But we got some good pics and it was a great little spot. We then head to Port Douglas and stop for a bit of a tour around town, then it was home time! People rave about Cape Tribulation, and you don't usually hear a bad word against it, Jane enjoyed it, and I think if your were just traveling the East coast and nowhere else, I would recommend it, as it is very different to the rest of the east coast, but I have seen alot of Australia now, and it was not particularly a highlight for me. I try to be honest with people when they ask how it was! Maybe it would have been better, had we had our own transport and could have stayed more where we wanted, I would have liked to have seen more of the rainforrest.
The next day we set off to the Great Barrier Reef - me and Jane were looking forward to this alot! I try and convince Jane to dive, as it was really cheap, but she didn't want to due to bad experience before, I really wanted to, especially when I saw them all doing it on the boat, but I guess my hearing is more important
! It was a beautiful day, so we have been blessed with the weather. It took 90 mins to get to the reef, there was alot of people on board, but actually when we were in the water, it wasn't crowded. We had our stinger suits on, I had a blue one piece on, I looked so funny! But no stingers were getting me! The first snorkel sight was good, it was a little hazy in places and the current was really strong, so we were working hard all of the time. I did get to touch Wally though - I don't know what kind of fish he was, but he was massive and liked to hang out with the camera man, that was pretty cool, and me and Jane both got to touch a sea cucumber. We had a lovely buffet lunch and the second snorkel was amazing, much clearer and shallower than the first - it was great. We saw a white tipped shark, the guys said we were lucky if we saw a reef shark, we didn't see one this time, but I had this experience of the Ningaloo reef. The coral was spectacular, there were sooooo many fish, we found Nemo several times! Jane had a headache, so went back to the boat, so I was on my own - I then found another 2 white tipped sharks, alot bigger then the first, so I follow him to get a good pic. Before we all set off we were given a safety brief about various things, and also to watch out for a particular fish which is quite territorial, apparently he will show you he is angry by pointing his fin up, and will then chase and bite you! - I didn't pay all that much attention to his credentials. Well I find this fish!!! on my own - after chasing the shark, I spot this big fish with evil sharp teeth - I instantly knew it was the fish they told us about - his fin was not up, but I didn't hang around for it to go up! I managed to get a pic of him, then swam away rather quickly. I cant believe how big his teeth where! He definitely looked evil - and prob would have chased me if I had hung around! There was so much to see I dive down several times to get good pics of fish and the coral, and it paid off, I managed to get some decent pics
. The day was great and definitely a highlight.
The next day we get picked up and taken to the start of the sky rail to Kuranda. The journey took about an hour and it is the 3rd longest sky rail in the world. You get taken up and over the rainforrest, the first stop is a walk around the rainforrest learning a bit more about the effects of cyclones on the rainforrest and that it can be beneficial. It is here that we spot quite a few large spiders (golden orbs) which I hate (I have been trying to keep sightings out of my blog as I don't like writing about them!) I'm now on guard! We get back on the sky rail and stop at a huge gushing waterfall which was really spectacular, we carry on and get to Kuranda where we go to the butterfly sanctuary and spot some really colorful butterfly's and spend about an hour trying to get a picture of the blue one, which doesn't sit still for long, we also had guided tour of hatching the eggs and the life span which can be as little as a few days to a few weeks! A couple of butterfly's land on us, but only for a second or two, so we didn't get a photo. Jane brought some souvenirs and we got onto the old scenic railway train to get back to Cairns.
We get ready for a night out on the town with an Irish girl called Clara, and we head to the Woolshed backpacker bar where the highlight of the night is a world goldfish championship race where you bid on a fish to enter in the race ranging from $2 to $27! the fish get put into a pool and you can use a straw to blow bubbles to get them to the finish - it was wicked - but I think that was because we were drunk! we spent the night dancing on the tables, and playing shark with a few Chinese boys - it was another random night!
The next day we spend at the Lagoon where I left my phone in my boardies, so that's messed up now! and we get the night bus to Airlie Beach at 00.25