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Cairns Trip Part 1


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So now we're back home and have a decent internet connection I will attempt a brief description of last week's adventure up the pointy end of Oz!


Those of you easily bored please please don't read here~


Last Tuesday we hopped on our lovely country train and headed to Melbourne airport where we stayed the night in anticipation of an earlyish flight to cairns in far North Queensland (FNQ) the next morning.


It was a case of "Spot the Aussie" when we boarded as 98% of the passengers were Asian, mostly Chinese. It seems that Cairns is on their "must do list". Boy were they noisy!


After a smooth 3 hour flight we'd travelled from the bottom of Australia to the top and were fortunate to approach along the coast and have a great view of what was ahead.


Our apartment was about 4 kilometres out of town and was lovely, but the first thing we did was turn on all 3 A/C units!


Cairns was hot and still a bit humid, but first impressions were certainly that we were in the tropics. Along the waterfront a plethora of marine businesses offered all manner of tours to tempt the cashed-up tourists, one particularly took my fancy...."Jetski Crocodile Photo Tour". Yeah right, we might be new to the area, but we ain't stupid!




Cairns is a lovely modern city with a population of 150 k and huge tourist numbers swell that considerably. Once again a case of "spot the Aussie!" First impressions are huge amounts of accomodation available and zillions of cafe's and restaurants, all giving testament to the power of the tourist dollar!


Wednesday we were picked up by a bus and taken to the marina where we embarked on a big catamaran for the trip out to the reef which was an almost 2 hour journey. It was a smooth trip out and we hooked up with a group from Florida who were nice people but boy was it hard to get a word in! Do all you Yanks talk like that? Anyway I did manage to complete their Aussie education by teaching them one of the most iconic Aussie words....."Chook". I think they were grateful~


The facility on the reef was a huge floating pontoon to which we tied up and disembarked. IMG_4348_zpsntd0gjmj.jpg


Here mostly included in the original fee you could snorkel, try a beginners SCUBA dive, advanced SCUBA dive, helmet dive, glass bottom boat, semi submersible, or just look at whats below from the underwater room. Fish feeding time was also exciting with some big fish, one big humphead wrasse even got amongst the divers feet in the diving platform...that caused a few to move pretty quickly I can tell you.


Lunch which was a buffet was high quality and included in the price. There were packs of young slim Asian girls changing into lycra suits preparing to dive and I can tell you that it was not unpleasant being an observer! I would gladly build a shrine to some of those bums I saw that day...Grin~

(sorry, no pics)


Before lunch we jumped on the semi submersible which just means you act as ballast in the keel but are rewarded with windows to look out of. Very disappointing as viz was crap!

It was explained that the tide was still in ebb and that all the mud from the rivers was still affecting the visibility and that it would change in an hour and we should come out again.

On the way around however we were treated to seeing some nice Drummer a Tealeaf Trevally just outside the viewing glass. Made me twitchy for my fishing rod but I reckon I'd have been keelhauled if I'd tried to catch one!!!




We were a bit long in the tooth to hit the water but many did.


Here we are climbing out ofVairnsIMG_4406_zpswmsufw2e.jpgIMG_4399_zpsyuat2xzi.jpg


After lunch we headed out in the glass bottomed boat and fortunately visibility had cleared right up and we had a lovely trip for about 30 minutes sometimes coming within inches of the coral. It was beautiful and certainly the highlight of the whole week! Looking down washes out some of the colour and unfortunately photos are useless in conveying what we saw. If you have never done this then you should consider it!IMG_4437_zps3xbcyc1y.jpg


Prices of everything were expensive in Cairns! A hamburger was $20 + and most main courses were $34 to $40 however we found a few places where we got nice meals for $20 as special offers. I guess when there is a constant flood of new people, you can gouge away as they have got to eat!


The next day we picked up a hire car (Toyota Corolla Hatch, never again, worst visibility ever) and we drove the hour up to Port Douglas. Cairns is surrounded by mangroves and no sand at all! Port Douglas is the closest good (?) beach to Cairns apparently. Nice place mainly accomodation and dozens of cafe's and restaurants....one big retail opportunity for the beautiful people! Being a rebel I avoided all the wanky trendy joints and had Bangers & Mash at an Irish pub,,..yeah the bloke was really Irish, I could hardly understand him!


Now I've been threatening Gael that I wanted to buy an Hawaiian shirt, as gaudy as hell! She didn't believe I'd actually do it as i'm as conservative as hell....don't even like logos on my polo shirts, all blue or blacks, nothing bright. Well we spotted some Hawaiian shirts in a shop! So in I went but quickly retreated when I saw they wanted $175 for a bloody shirt, the female version was $275! Yeah in your dreams!


But they were as bright as all get out and Gael's going, "No way, you wouldn't wear that!" I said "Watch me!" Just too expensive there and after all the most I've ever spent on a shirt was $50 and that was only because we had shipboard credits to use up!


On the other side of the street was a different prospect though, I found one as bright as hell for $20, all reds. She said you won't buy that, so I did. Now she's saying you'll never wear that, but it was worth the $20 to keep her off balance not knowing if or when I might come out in that shirt! I'm a bit of a bugger sometimes!


End of Part 1 too many images otherwise

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