Cairns: Last stop in Oz!

Trip Start Feb 06, 2011
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Trip End Sep 15, 2011


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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Friday, April 22, 2011

I arrived in Cairns bright and early and managed to check in early into my hostel.  I was pretty glad that it was my final Greyhound bus ride!  I was planning to take it easy for the day but I wasn't very tired so I decided to join a day tour to Atherton Tablelands.  Our tour guide was especially enthusiastic and constantly had conversations with our bus named Gus.  I kid you not.  Strange but entertaining.  We swam through waterfalls, slid down a natural rock slide, floated in a volcanic crater lake, and tried our luck at platypus spotting (we only saw a turtle).  

The next day, I hopped on the Silverswift which is a 29m catamaran that travels to the outer reefs. There are about a hundred different companies that run tours to the various islands of the Great Barrier Reef.  I knew that I wanted a boat that was fast (less time traveling and more time on the actual reefs) and I didn't want to have to dive with 300 other people at the same time.  Most of the vessels make trips to the much closer Green Island and Fitzroy Island which are only a few kilometers from the coast.  The Silverswift travels about 20km further than the much closer islands and also offers more personalized attention when it comes to scuba diving.  The trip did not disappoint!  I did 3 separate dives at the Flynn Reef and Milln Reef and saw quite a few turtles, clownfish, gorgeous coral, but unfortunately no sharks.  The boat also sends a photographer down with the divers and I managed to get a picture with a turtle!  

During my last day in Cairns, I took the Skyrail, a 7.5km cableway journey through World Heritage Rainforest.  People tend to associate Cairns only with the Great Barrier Reef and forget that the city is surrounded by the amazing rainforest .  I visited Tjapukai, an aboriginal cultural park, and I learned how to throw a boomerang and play a digeridoo!  It was a jam packed 3 days but now I'm ready for Hong Kong.  Food, I'm coming for you!
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