GUEST ARTICLE: Hello from the North of Australia ~ Cairns! We arrived in tropical paradise after a quick 3 hour flight from Sydney picked up our car rental and headed to our hotel located about 30 minutes north of Cairns in a beautiful little town called Palm Cove.
Our first adventure was on the Foaming Fury (yeah I know scary name eh!), a white water rafting trip down the Baron River. The rapids at that time weren’t exactly foaming with fury which made paddling quite the effort in some spots.
There were 5 of us in our little raft with a rough and ready “She-Ra” as our yes sir/no sir Sarg for the day. Before heading out we were coached on what to do during any dire emergencies and major rapids/drops we may encounter. 2 hours later after a few 3 meter drops (fun!) and some really scenic viewing we arrived back on shore with spag arms in tow. Next time I’d love to go when there’s a bit more water for that extra push.
The next day we hopped on a catamaran (Ocean Freedom) and headed about an hour out to the outer Great Barrier Reef. The day was perfect making the reef light up in its awesome array of blues and greens. The water was warm and the fishies both big and small abundant. So abundant in fact that at one point I was surrounded by these giant Spangled Emperors, those babies weigh in at about 10kg each.
Not much you say? Well try being surrounded by about 20 or more of them staring you down with their big unblinking fish eyes, yikes! I actually had to kick two in the head from getting too close to the fish food – yeah me! Nah, just kidding (not about the kicking), but it did freak me out a bit, I think I looked like a fish popping out the water at mach speed trying to get back on the boat!
Overall the day was absolutely wonderful. The Great Barrier Reef is a definite must do! (PS – The boats going out to the reef are various prices. If you want to join a tour that has less people then avoid the really cheap ones if you can.)
Just outside of Cairns is this really cool water park called Cable Ski. It’s a huge lake that has a network of cables running above it. The idea is that it acts like a pulley and takes you around the lake allowing you to water-ski, wakeboard or kneeboard.
The lake is also full of trick ramps and poles for the really talented show offs out there. Did I give it a red hottie? Nah, no way mate, I felt way more comfortable being on the laughing and pointing end of that stick! Although, if no one was looking…
Situated right next to the Cable Ski is one of the best cable cars we’ve ever been on called the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. It’s an awesome 7.5 kilometre journey from Cairns to Kuranda. It travels over the beautiful lush rainforest and stops at 2 different stations along the way, each of them having their own very interesting scenic attractions, giving you a real rainforest experience.
At the end of the line is the beautiful little town of Kuranda. You can also take the Kuranda scenic railway in conjunction with the cableway if you like.
If you’re looking for a great vacation spot Cairns would have to be it. There are just so many things to see and do. We only touched the surface. We went just at the end of winter (end of Sept), a perfect time to go because the box jellyfish aren’t there yet so you can swim with no worries and the weather is dry and beautiful!
This travel diary has been written by Rob Gower, a friend who enjoys taking roads less traveled!