Cairns - The Great Barrier Reef and beyond
Dec 11, 2013
|Hi there everyone,
This update comes from Cairns it has our activities over the last week but also includes our plans for Christmas and the New Year.
When we last left you it was approaching Saturday 7th December.We were still in Darwin, just chilling out and preparing for the next flight, the adventure continues.......
On Sunday 8th December we were up at 3.30am to get a 4am transfer for the early morning flight from Darwin to Cairns.
Unfortunately at this time of the morning we got to see the early morning party scene which we had managed to avoid until then. There were several drunken revellers stumbling about the street and others preparing to fight each other. The two uniformed security guards on the hostel main door seemed to have a grasp of things and when one started trying to get Nigel interested in a pyramid selling scheme (Amway) we knew it was time to leave.
We used a no thrills airline company called Jetstar which got us into Cairns airport for about 9am and we met a transfer bus which took us straight to our new Hostel which is situated just outside the busier area of Cairns.
It's a much quieter and smaller hostel than the one in Darwin and they provide a courtesy bus which we took in the afternoon to have a look around the town.
On Monday we put another great tick in a box when we took a trip into the rainforest and Helen got to hug a Koala bear. (This photo's for you Thomas!)
This was a day trip and we got picked up from the hostel by a very affable bus driver who told us all about Cairns as we picked up others on the same trip. In fact he was so talkative he kept on missing his pickup points and given the one way system we drove around the city centre about 4 times before eventually heading out of town. We arrived at the gondola station called the Sky rail which took us over the rainforest for nearly 8 km (Photo). After a few stops at stations along the way to walk into the rain forest and admire the views, our pod delivered us to a small tourist village called Kuranda.
This is your typical tourist village that opens at 10am and closes a 4pm. At Kuranda we went to three small but perfectly formed wildlife parks. One was for the animals - this is where Helen hugged the Koala and Nigel fed the Wallabies. (Photo).
The second was an aviary where there were numerous birds who flew around you and occasionally left a parting gift. The last was a dome full of butterflies. Here we were lucky enough to have an exceptional guide who took us through their butterfly breeding programme which was fascinating. We also saw a Hercules moth which was the size of a tea plate. The last part of the tour was a scenic train ride down the mountain, through the rainforest and back to Cairns. The two hour train ride was very good but due to the nature of its journey going down through the rainforest it had a "Jurassic park" feeling (The part when they go on the ride through the dinosaur park and see nothing). The sights we did have were very good with large expansive bridges and waterfalls and the train ride finished in central Cairns where we walked back to hostel. There we had another BBQ dinner but this time including other animals we hadn't previously eaten.
We were working it out and between us we have currently eaten on tour the following: A Grasshopper that tastes like smokey bacon crisps, Camel that tastes like beef, Kangaroo that tastes similar to venison, Emu that doesn't taste like chicken more like beef and Crocodile which has a very fishy taste and a consistency similar to Swordfish only a little more meaty.
We have managed to avoid all the bush food, no Witchetty grubs for us!
We've learnt that everyday can't be exciting and Tuesday was no exception.
We have decided to use a car for the next couple of weeks as it will give us much more flexibility. We were trying to book a hire car which was becoming problematic as due to the holiday season some companies didn't want to release their cars on a hire that was one way. We managed to find a company that would rent one to us and the rest of the day was spent planning the route between Cairns and Brisbane which we will start of Friday 13th! Its lucky we're not superstitious.
On Wednesday we put another tick in one of our boxes when we swam on the Great Barrier Reef.
At 7.30am we got the hostel bus down to the marina where we were issued tickets and directed to the "Silver Swift" which was the name of our boat. This was a Catamaran that took us quickly to the outer reefs which is apparently the place to be. On route we managed to sit next to an Asian guy who was the only person on the boat who was sea sick and there must have been at least a hundred people. Just our luck I suppose. We separated with Nigel diving and Helen going snorkelling but this time she was armed with an underwater camera.
We both met an enormous fish called "Nigel". He is apparently a Grouper fish that patrols the reef (Photo). Nigel is very friendly and enjoys having his picture taken. We also met another traveller called Terry who was diving who came from Maidstone - what a small world.
We had a great day, going to 3 different dive/snorkelling sites seeing a (small shark), turtles, rays and loads and loads of amazingly coloured fish. Totally worn out we headed back to the hostel for the evening.
Its Thursday and this is a domestic day preparing for our next road trip, updating the blog and resting.
The hostel staff in particular Kerry have been amazing at "Tropic Days" and within a couple of hours of arriving at the hostel we had booked our trip out onto the Great Barrier Reef and Helen's trip to hug a Koala bear.
For anyone thinking of staying in a hostel in Cairns we would highly recommend this one above the others we have stayed in so far (Photo).
Nigel was told by Scott, one of our fellow travellers during our tour of Vietnam, about a great dive site on the East coast and he has been researching the possibility of booking a dive on this famous wreck called the SS Yongala.
Well Nigel's very excited, he's managed to get on a dive on Sunday as we travel down the coast but its very weather dependant and the day of the dive has a forecast thats looking 50-50.
Were planning to travel slowly down to Brisbane, camping during the trip down. This will be until Christmas eve when we've booked what looks like a nice apartment in a town called Noosa on the "Sunshine Coast" . we will be at the apartment between 24th - 26th December, so it could be a BBQ Christmas dinner.
The large supermarkets here are called Woolworths and we think "Wooly's" should provide a suitable Christmas lunch.
After Boxing day our current plan is to drop the car off and were going to fly from Brisbane to Sydney so we are there in time for the New Year celebrations.
As there is no certainty of a wifi connection as we travel down the coast, we don't know when the next update will be.
We will try to post something in about a week and definitely post something before Christmas.