Chris and I have been dreaming, scheming and discussing a holiday for months, and last week it finally came into fruition! Holidays used to be far easier to coordinate, but since Chris has started working full time and I am doing my honours year as well as working in a part-time job (on a contract), aligning our schedules is now a lot harder. We had initial dreams of a week or so away in Bali, but once my exam timetable was released that was thrown out the window. After a week or so of checking out flights and Chris applying for holidays, we settled on Cairns. All in all it work our perfectly, not too mention I have been wanting to visit the Great Barrier Reef for years. Plus its future is looking dire thanks to climate change and crappy governments, so it was high time to travel north!
Cairns was a lot further north than I realised, being a three and a half hour flight from Melbourne. No complaints here though, as we were treated to 28 degrees and sun on our first day. With no plans for our first day, we entertained ourselves by walking along the Esplanade and taking in the views.
In the afternoon we opted for a swim at the Lagoon, which looks over the beach. Far North Queensland has so many beautiful beaches, but only a few are viable swimming locations thanks to local fauna, including crocodiles and jelly fish.
To make up for not going to Bali, we headed to a Balinese restaurant for dinner. Our banquet was absolutely delicious, and the dessert platter was so epic I had to take a photo.
The next day we had booked a tour out on the Great Barrier Reef. There were so many options and tour companies to choose from that it was beginning to stress me out, but in the end we choose Seastar Cruises, and they were definitely a good choice. Tour groups are limited to 36 people, so you don’t have to worry about crowded boats!
Our first stop was Michelmas Cay, a small sand island populated by thousands of birds. After a few safety briefings we were taken to the shore to begin our first reef session. All our equipment, including wetsuits, were provided, and staff members gave optional tours of the reef, highlighting various aquatic features.
Staff were also equiped with underwater cameras, so we were free to enjoy our day without trying to capture every moment on camera. They were pretty snap-happy though, capturing this dashing image above.
Underwater photos are not our strong point.
We saw so much amazing sea life at Michelmas Cay, and at our second location of Hastings Reef. The highlight for me was the turtle you can see a few images above, as well as the numerous giant clams. It was such an amazing experience, and I am so grateful that we were able to enjoy it with perfect weather. I was worried about freaking out whilst in the water (I am terrified of sting rays, and most ocean related things in general), but thankfully I was so engaged by the experience that I was able to enjoy the day, as long as someone was always nearby.
We arrived back in Cairns happy, sunburnt, and damp, but it was worth every moment!