Before I really get into anything about Cairns, I first need to say how awesome Qantas is as an airline. During the international flight, we of course had a few meals, snacks, and drinks. This seems to be pretty standard for everything now, but now that I am on a domestic flight (yes, on the plane as I’m writing this section), I realize how incredible Qantas really is. On a 3 hours flight, which isn’t at all uncommon in the U.S., they have your standard drinks available, plus an in-flight movie. In addition, we had a full meal, followed by…ice cream. I was completely floored and wished that they had regular flights in the U.S. Ok, now that I said that, on to Cairns!
At a glance, Cairns seems to be very similar to any other beach town, only there really isn’t a beach. You can easily find your way from the marina to the esplanade or from the ocean to the mountains. If you want, you can go whitewater rafting, kayaking, or even take a dive trip to “find Nemo.” No matter the case, you barely have to search for adventure, as it seems to find you.
My trip was a bit more planned as I began by booking a liveaboard dive trip. What this means is that I take a small boat to the outer reef where a larger boat is waiting. Next, I spend 3 days and two nights on the water, going on a total of 10 different dives. At first, I was a bit nervous, but after having done it now, I would recommend it to anyone interested (and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again myself).
The dives really were incredible. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the reef was just as beautiful and full of life as I had imagined. On top of that, the crew of the Kangaroo Explorer continued to prove time and again that it is very possible to be professional while still keeping a level of fun.
Last, and most certainly not least, is the rain forest. Cairns is one of the most Northernmost cities in Australia, making it a sub-tropical climate. This allows for a very beautiful and lush rain forest to thrive in the area. I unfortunately was only able to see a very small part of it, but even on my smaller hike (around 7 km), I saw quite a bit of wild life, including a giant lizard, possibly a komodo dragon or gila monster. The incredibly dense forest made this experience really fun, and a bit scary. You always hear about how many deadly creatures there are in Australia, and I’m pretty sure most of them lived near Cairns (don’t let that scare you from visiting though!).
As I said, Cairns was easily one of the highlights of the trip. I only wish I had more time to explore this fascinating and beautiful area. There is so much adventure, one simply cannot fit it into just a few days. Hell, I would even go so far as to say that it would be difficult to fit everything into an entire month. I truly believe that this was an experience of a lifetime, and would like to thank those who made it so.