Day 10 – Monday, November 16 – Leave for Cairns
When we arrived in Cairns, Australia we took a taxi to our hotel. We found a killer deal with my parent’s timeshare at Cairns Beach Resort with a one-bedroom hotel with many amenities like a pull-out couch, kitchen, and washer/dryer.
The hotel was set up in a neighborhood with a couple of restaurants, a small mini-mart, and liquor store. Being in a secluded, suburban location was the most relaxing stay of the entire trip. Plus it was right across the street from Holloways beach which made for a great place for an evening walk to watch the sunset.
When the sun went down huge flying foxes were soaring around and landing on the mango trees in the front yard across the street from the convenience store. We sat and watched these amazing creatures fly around every night.
The main town of Cairns was an easy 20-minute bus ride away. Once we were settled at the hotel we rode the bus down to town. We walked around all of the shops and grabbed some lunch at Hog’s Breath Café. A chain restaurant with generic bar food.
There are not a whole lot of beaches in Cairns, so in the main town, they have a public swimming pool we spent the day at. There are always public pools right on the ocean in Australia because the water is known to be a little dangerous with all kinds of sea life. At Holloways beach, there is a section of the ocean surrounded by a net to swim in because the water is known to have a few salt-water crocodile.
Day 11 – Tuesday, November 17 –
The Great Barrier Reef was an experience I crossed off my bucket list. A dream being able to see my first of seven, natural wonders of the world. An excursion everyone should go on in their lifetime.
We rode on a large boat with hundreds of people to the middle of the ocean. The boat provided breakfast and lunch. And was equipped with a bar on board.
It was my first time snorkeling in the middle of the ocean. I was afraid of running into something large like a great white shark. I stuck close to my friend on the first snorkel site. But after that, I got the hang of swimming in open water with the fish. We only saw one itty bitty shark.
Day 12 – Wednesday, November 18 –
The Kuranda Skyrail was our next adventure. A 10-minute drive away from our hotel, the Skyrail takes you over part of the Tropical North Queensland Rainforest.
There are three stops along the railway the first was Red Peak. We stopped here for an educational tour informing us of the culture of the Aboriginals, the indigenous people who once lived in the rainforest. We learned about their way of life like their culture of dance, music, hunting, etc.
Our next stop was the Barron Falls this pit stop has three different lookouts to see the gorge and waterfalls. After you stare at the wondrous falls you take the Skyrail over the Barron River to the final destination.
Kuranda is a village that has been the home of Djabuguy, a tribe of the indigenous people, for 10,000 years. The atmosphere of the village was very easy going. The houses looked like a perfect way of living the simple life by enjoying nature and growing their own food supply in their backyard. We walked around the town’s shops for a while and then headed back on the rail. On our way down we saw a huge group of wild wallabies munching on a field of grass.
This excursion was well worth money and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Make sure to check out the Skyrail when you visit Cairns.
Day 13 – Thursday, November 19 –
When you go to Australia you have to plan a day trip driving along an ocean road, There are many to choose from. And since we did not have time to do the famous Great Ocean Road in Melbourne, we had to save it for the next trip.
However, we were able to spontaneously go along The Great Barrier Reef Drive. We were able to easily rent a car for the day at our hotel at a reasonable price. Then we took to the road along the ocean. From Cairns, you head North across the Barron River to the Cairns Northern Beaches, which includes Trinity beach, Palm Cove, and Ellis Beach.
The drive winds around the Coral Sea up to our destination of choice Port Douglas. You can continue north to the Daintree forest, the oldest living rainforest, from Port Douglas. Another location we sadly had to save for another trip.
Since we only had the day we took time to walk along the Four Mile beach, walk around the shops in Port Douglas, and checked out popular sightseeing icons like St. Mary’s Chapel and Flagstaff Hill.
Later that day we went to Shannonvillle Tropical Fruit Winery. Since Cairns is part of the Tropics they cannot grow grapes in this climate so the winery created wines with mango, passion fruit, lychee, ginger, and lime. Extremely exotic and delicious.
Feel free to buy a bottle of wine to enjoy later in your trip, the airport security is not as strict in Australia so you can travel with liquids in a carry-on, on a domestic flight.