Hello all! We’re here in sunny Cairns, except, today it’s raining!
After we left Airlie Beach we had 4 nights to get up to Cairns. We spent one night just at a campground en-route and then arrived in Mission Beach. Mission Beach is a small town, similiar to Airlie Beach but MUCH smaller and near some good whitewater rafting and trips out to Dunk Island, etc. We wanted to spend our money in Cairns and with the US dollar dropping against the Australian dollar on a seemingly hourly basis we spent our time in Mission Beach around the pool, taking long walks on the beach, and finally getting some New Zealand photos on the blog. Then, up to Cairns and one night spent at a camper park on the edge of town. We got a cabin yet again (haven’t slept in Sunflower since before Airlie Beach) because it is so damn hot. Around 92-94 everyday and nearly 90% humidity. We have certainly hit the rainforests of tropical Queensland for sure!!!
Cairns is not quite what I expceted. Not knowing anything but it’s reputation I thought it would resemble Cancun, or even the Gold Coast here in Australia with lots of high rises, ritzy casinos, etc. but it’s actually a very laid back town. The downtown area and esplanade reminds me more of Maui, just larger. There is a large manmade salt water lagoon for swimming right on the Esplanade due to no actual beaches in Cairns proper (another surprise) and loads of restaurants, internet cafes, etc.
After 1 night we moved into the timeshare and settled in for 4 nights. We’re now on our 3rd day there and enjoying the 3bdrm they gave us! More than enough room for the 2 of us for sure. Yesterday we took a day cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef, something we’d both been looking forward to. We signed up for an introductory dive and then snorkeling for the rest of the time. Unfortunately for me, it was a pretty rough, choppy day and when they were giving out seasickness pills as we left port I knew I would be in trouble. I did take the pills but still got sick a couple of times. I’ve been seasick before… always when we’re far enough out that I can’t see land – my body just does not like that!!! I never get sick while the boat is actually moving and in Fiji we had fairly choppy weather but were in and amongst islands and I was fine.
We did our lesson on the way out and got to the first dive spot. I was a bit nervous about the whole thing anyway, not the actual being in the water part, since we’ve snorkeled all over the world, but having water get in my mask and having to practice taking the breather out while underwater and blow the water out as you put it back in. That, combined with the really choppy waves got me a bit freaked out and I chose to opt out of diving and just snorkel instead. Jim did dive and even took a second dive and absolutely loved it. He is definitely a convert!! I certainly want to try it again but done as a normal class or even resort intro where you practice the stuff in a pool first before heading out into the ocean.
That said, even the snorkeling was amazing!! What a huge variety of rainbow colored fish of all sizes and shapes, black tipped sharks, and Jim and I snorkeling together even saw a sea turtle which is a little bit unusual. While diving Jim also saw a huge clam that was almost 8ft across! If I hadn’t been sick a couple of times it would have been an incredible day (and Jim DID have an incredible day!) We did the cruise out of Port Douglas so had about an hour drive back home but it’s certainly the most scenic drive of our entire time here in Australia. Outside of Cairns the road ends up driving right along the ocean and is really beautiful with the rainforest coming right down to the beach.
Today, as I said, it’s raining and we’re doing some stocking up shopping for sunscreen, shampoo, etc before heading to Bali next week. Tomorrow night we are going to the Tjakupai cultural park for the evening aboriginal show and dinner and then Friday heading up to Port Douglas again to stay with our friends and celebrate my 40th bday on Monday and Sara’s birthday on Wednesday and see what they have planned for us. I’m sure we’ll be busy so most likely you can expect my next post to be from Bali!
Cheers for now – Jim & Rhonda