Trip Start Sep 02, 2007
35Trip End Sep 01, 2008
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Where I stayed
After leaving the dry and dusty outback that is Alice Springs, we flew to Cairns where we were to meet Sonia who was flying up from Sydney to meet us for five days of sun after Sydney had turned a wintery cold (20C meaning you have to wear a jumper in the evening).
We had booked accommodation at a hostel and they offered free airport pickup. We were told where to wait and we did so, only for the minibus to drive straight past us, twice. Turned out it was a Welsh girl driving it, so that explained things. Then at the reception we were told by another girl who was booking us in that if we dared show up after 9am each morning to collect our free breakfast she would say "**** off, you're too late"
So what's Cairns known for? Well it's the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. One of the seven natural wonders of the world, 2000km of it stretching along the East Coast of Australia made up of over 2900 individual reefs with over 1500 species of fish alone plus all the rest. It's so big you can see it from space.
So anyway, that's what we all really wanted to see and so we booked a boat tour to go out to the reef, to Paradise Reef and Michaelmas Cay. It was a great day. Sarah and I decided we would have an introductory SCUBA dive on the reef. This was an amazing experience, to be doing it for the first time on the Great Barrier Reef. We went down to about 6 metres depth. Sarah took to it like a fish to water (sorry!) but I was more nervous. The feeling of going deeper and realising that there is water all around you, even on top of you and that you don't go to the surface for over 30 minutes freaked me a little bit but we both did it and really enjoyed it.
All of us also went snorkeling where it was totally awesome
The other days in Cairns were spent enjoying the sun and the local beaches. We visited Port Douglas and on the way stopped at Clifton beach, Palm Cove, Ellis Beach and Four Mile beach. All of these beaches are golden sand with a fringe of palm trees at the edge and the backdrop of lush green hills of rainforest. It is indeed tropical.
Another day trip was to Kuranda which is a village up in the hills which has rainforest all around. It's a very touristy place, but it has markets and cafe's and made for a nice relaxing day.
Although Cairns is filled with tourists (like us) it still has a great relaxed feel and is fun and easy going and has a good mix of shops, bars, restaurants and most importantly gelato shops where we ate a lot of ice cream!