Great Barrier Reef

Cairns Travel Blog

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After the bizarre-ness that was Gordonvale, we happily went half an hour further north to Cairns for a couple of days.


We had a very strange older lady in our dorm room, and a very confrontational Aussie girl. The older woman was moaning about everything, the room was too hot or too cold, Lisa was moving too much in the night and keeping her awake etc etc.

The Aussie girl had enough one night and just laid into her calling her every name under the sun, it was sort of funny but sort of scary at the same time, we both pretended to be asleep!


The main reason to be in Cairns was the Great Barrier Reef. We didn't want to be tied down to a tour, and they were very expensive, so we took the ferry over to Green Island where we could rent stinger suits and fins and do our own snorkelling. Green Island is 45 mins away from Cairns, and the only sand bar island with rainforest on it due to an evolutionary quirk. The island is really small and has one resort on it which seemed to be very exclusive, so it really was a good idea to pack a lunch before we left! The journey was not so bad, and before long we were pulling up to the jetty. After arriving, we went right off the jetty to an area of beach that is not lifeguard patrolled.

We thought that this may mean less people and better snorkelling. After some fun and games putting our stinger suits on (why can't they make these more attractive, this time they even had hoods?!) we went into the water and didn't have to go far out at all to find some fish! The first area after the sand seemed to be long grassy stuff with fish swimming through it, which was great but we wanted to see some coral so went further out. We were so dissapointed to find the coral in a far worse state than what we had seen in the Whitsundays. Apart from a few small sections, you could see that it was mainly dead. So close to the surface of the water that it was also bleached by the sun, and looked awful. We keep hearing stories about how tourists have ruined the reef, as even touching it briefly and accidentley will kill it. We saw some interesting things though, a few large sea cucumbers and an amazing electric blue starfish!


After our lunch, during which a teeny tiny lizard made friends with Lisa which was cute, we sat in the shade for a bit as the heat was incredible.

The humidity in Cairns is so high that it almost makes having a shower pointless as you are soaking within half an hour again anyway, it is unbearable at times. However, we wanted to see if we could see more round the other side of the island, so went into the water there. The coral was not so far out this time, and there seemed to be more fish which was fantastic. Suddenly Lisa started waving frantically and I saw that about 10m in front of us was a HUGE green turtle! It was incredible and I nearly drowned by sucking loads of water in my snorkel! We spent ages floating around it, diving down a couple of times to get a closer look. It was completely unfazed by us, although obviously we kept a reasonable distance from it. After we finally came out of he sea we were just BUZZING, couldn't stop grinning and felt like the whole thing had just been a dream. It was such a fluke that we saw it, it was just there where we happened to be snorkelling, we couldn't believe our luck!


That evening was our last in Cairns and they were holding an early carol concert in the park.

It was supposed to be carols by candlelight but it didn't get dark til about half eight! There is something very odd about going to a carol concert in the light, with an icecream. We loved how many people were there, it was a whole community effort with schools, dance groups, choirs, everyone. All around were families sitting on blankets and deckchairs with kids and dogs, it just felt really lovely.

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Cairns
photo by: Katie_Kate