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Published: January 13th 2010
Cairns Airport arrivals
08 January 2010 - 13 January 2010
Exchange rate: GBP1 = A$1.79
Bali to Darwin by plane (JetStar)--US$85 (2h15m)
Darwin to Cairns by plane (JetStar)--A$142 (3 hours)
Double, fan, shared bathroom--A$54 (inc. breakfast, dinner, free shuttle buses to / from airport and to / from Cairns CBD.
Great little place, 15 minutes from the CBD, with friendly staff, a great atmosphere and nice rooms. Recommended!!
One-day Great Barrier Reef Tour with Reef Magic Cruises--A$175 inc. transfers, lunch and equipment. A$45 extra for Adventure Snorkeling Tour....Recommended!!
We headed off the airport, and after a tearful good bye we left for Cairns! Aware that this was going to be a long journey, we weren't quite prepared for how long a 2 hour flight can feel when you have been up for nearly 24 hours!
With high hopes for Australia we were slightly nervous when the plane hit some bad turbulence during both 2 hours flights (Bali - Darwin/ Darwin- Cairns.)
After arriving safely at 8am we phoned JJ's backpackers who were more than happy to collect us from the airport which took all the hassle away! After booking in we made
a hasty retreat to the room for a well earned nap!
The following day we checked out the main city of Cairns, walked along the beach front - if you can't call it a beach. Unfortunately you can swim in the ocean around Cairns due to 'Stingers' (jelly fish) and Crocodiles (although we are yet to see one of these.)
In the evening we made use of the free transport put on by the hostel and headed to The Woolshed where a free meal comes with the room. The food was average but for $5 you could up grade to a more expensive meal. Along with drinks totaling $5 it was a cheap and cheerful night!
We headed back early that night to catch up on lost sleep and get ourselves ready for the following day.
Not realizing how tired the previous 7 months of traveling had made us, we got up at 8 am for breakfast and then fell asleep again until lunch time! (Can you get jet lagged on 2 hours time difference between Bali and Cairns??!!) Anyway, we headed out for a roast beef sandwich at the local mall (if you get the chance
to try a roast beef sandwich from 'Bucking Bull' then it is the most delightful sandwich in the world!) We then spent the afternoon looking around the shops and another day of relaxing.
In fact all we did was relax and finally we booked a Great Barrier Reef tour and headed out on a wet and windy morning. Arriving at the boat, the first question we're asked is "have you got your sea sickness tablets?". This sent Amy into a panic (she doesn't like boats) and as we set off the seas got rougher and rougher. Luckily once we had arrived at the reef things calmed down, but nonetheless we're still slightly choppy. We jumped onto the pontoon and kitted up in our stinger suits and jumped into the lovely turquoise water for some excellent snorkeling. We even met "Wally" the Maori Wrasse, a huge blue fish with big lips who was obsessed with getting a cuddle every now and then. Sod having a dog for a pet, a Maori Wrasse would be something else. We spotted some great marine life including two sharks! Dan headed out for an hour-long adventure snorkeling with a marine biologist who really wanted
to be like Steve Irwin....he was actually really good, and the tour took in the far outer reef with huge schools of big fish. Sadly no Manta's or sharks as expected.
As the day wound up, and the vomit from an Asian women was being cleaned up in the dining area (I mean, come on! At least vomit AWAY from people who are eating!) the rain that so kindly stayed away arrived and we set off back to Cairns. The 90-minute journey was calmer on the way back and that was it...The Great Barrier Reef. We can't say we were disappointed, but it wasn't what we expected. We expected one huge reef. Instead it's many smaller reefs, with nonetheless, amazing marine life. The waters were a little choppier than we would have liked, but it was a great day out.
The following day we hung out at Cairns's Lagoon. This was set up as a "fake" beach. Actually it's a swimming pool with a bit of sand. As you can't swim in the sea here, this is where everyone comes for some sunbathing and swimming. The Esplanade, where it's situated, is another great place in Cairns, with loads
of green for BBQ's, running etc. Also worth a visit was the Night Market, where we purchased some great fruit wines. Also worth a visit.
So that was Cairns. A nice, pretty quiet place with a great vibe. It's spoilt a little bit by the hordes of drunken, abusive aborigines who wander the streets looking for a fight, but for us, it was a great intro to Australia.
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