When my friends and I first came to Australia we stayed in Sydney for a week with our friends who had already been over here for a few months. After a fun filled week catching up with them and seeing some of Sydney we were ready to start of backpacking adventure. Our first stop on our travels was Cairns in Queensland and after a quick 3 hour flight (compared to the 24 hour flight from Dublin to Sydney) we arrived in sunny Cairns. Leaving the airport it was like something out of Jurassic Park, mountains of rainforest everywhere you look.
We had booked to stay in Gilligan's Hostel for 5 nights in the centre of Cairns and it is somewhere that I would definitely recommend for people to stay, it has a club attached to the hostel with a bar, restaurant and lagoon pool. It was also CLEAN which can be very far and few between when travelling let me tell you.
On the first day we booked all the main trips and destinations that we wanted to go to when travelling down the coast along with our bus ticket from Cairns to Sydney. It ends up being the most expensive expenditure we made but I think worth it as we had all the major attractions booked and didn't need to think about it until we were due to go there.
In Cairns we booked two day trips. One to the Great Barrier Reef and another to the Daintree Rainforest. We went to the Rainforest on our second day, and while I enjoyed the trip it was a very long day with a lot of driving involved, up very windy roads, as we were brought to different places within the rainforest. That being said the places we did see where beautiful, it was just a bit to much driving for my taste. We booked with The Adventure Company, and did the starter PAK tour. This involved a trip to Port Douglas, the Mossman Gorge, Cape Tribulation beach and a Wildlife river cruise on the Daintree River. Unfortunately we didn't see any crocodiles on the river cruise except of a baby one hiding behind a tree..
The day before we left Cairns we went out to the Great Barrier Reef with Dive Under Dive. I had such an amazing time out there and it is something that I will always remember.
We were brought to two different locations on the reef. At the first stop I went scuba diving along with snorkelling. I found diving to be a very intense experience as you have to keep equalizing your ears but once you get the hang of that it is okay, crazy how much concentration you spend on breathing once you are down there!! We were brought back up for the surface by our instructor for some reason and when he went to bring us back down I had a mild panic attack and couldn't equalize my ears again so I ended my diving time early. After diving I spend the rest of my time at that location and the second snorkelling which I loved!! The reef is sooooo close to the surface of the sea so you don't miss out if you choose to only snorkelling.
The only one regret I have is that I didn't bring an underwater camera so if you ever have the opportunity to go to the reef BRING a underwater camera....
As for the time we spend in Cairns we really spend most of our time at Gilligans Hostel, with the exception of the Woolshed, where you can dance on the tables which is great fun. I had an incredible time in Cairns and made great friends with people who we continued to see along the way down the coast. Also experienced my first taste of goon up there! For anyone who doesn't know goon is an incredible cheap wine that comes in 4 litre boxes and leaves behind an unbelievable headache the next morning.
Has anyone been to Cairns before? Or are you planning on going there?
If so, let me know :)
Until next time darlings,
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