"When was the last time you did something for the first time?"

Cairns Travel Blog

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Damon Hill surrounded by journalists.
Well, I'm here in Down Under. Land of the kangeroos, koala bears, Tasmanian devils, worlds most venomous snakes, huge saltwater crocodiles, box jellyfishes, Uluru rock, Aboriginals, vegemite and Kylie Minogue.

How attempting this all might sound to you, it's really not that easy to get here. It took me over 40 hours to get from home to here in Australia. First by train to Frankfurt International Flughafen. Then a short flight to London, waiting two hours on Heathrow and off to Changi, Singapore. The flight was really good though. I had exit seats so I had at least 2 metres legroom space. On Changi airport I saw former Formula One World Champion racing driver Damon Hill. He gave a press conference where he emphasized that he wasn't the STIG (Top Gear). Couldn't get his autograph because his not so nice manager pushed everybody away.
Cairns Casino
I had to wait four hours for my flight to Darwin (again a flight where I sat at the exit) and just one hour for my flight to Cairns.

My first impression of Cairns; the green hills/mountains remind me of Hong Kong, but there are no skyscrapers or flats here. I like the many palm trees though. There was a bus waiting for me at the airport that brought me to the hostel, Caravella 149. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Rooms are clean, bright white with a very small picture of a nice beach on the wall, which makes it a little depressing, but I don't care for that. I'm only there to sleep. The hostel gives away free-meal coupons for Cairns' favourite backpackers bar, the Woolshed.
The hostel where I'm staying at.
Meals are very basic (spaghetti bolognaise, chili con carne) but you can upgrade your meal for better menus such as spare ribs, steaks or pizza. You only have to pay AUD$5 - 7 dollars for the upgrades meals. Pretty good.

The backpackers at the hostel are very nice. I think it's because everbody here is pretty much in the same situation. Far away from home and infected by the travelbug. Most of the people here I meet are from Europe. Seriously, I think 75% of the backpackers are from Europe (mainly UK, Germany and Sweden). The age is around 25 - 30 years old. The other 25% are Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Americans and Canadians (hooray for Canada!). Unfortunately I don't get to meet many Australians though :(

About Cairns. What can I say about Cairns? It's a place for tourists, that's for sure.
Cairns seen from Morris Hill
There are more than hundred tour operators in this town and I even haven't included the countless hostels and hotels where you can also book all the tours. The town is crowded with tourists and backpackers. Despite the crowd, I don't feel any atmosphere ("soul") in this town. In all honesty, I didn't like Cairns until Janelle and Johan showed me the other parts (outskirts) of Cairns. The Botanic Gardens are just lovely. Had a nice view of Cairns on Morris Hill and Lake Placid looks nice as well. --- Thank you so much Janelle & Johan for the great tour! It was great to see you again. Let me know when you'll be in the Netherlands, I will be your tourguide through Rotterdam :D --- In conclusion, Cairns City Centre is not so great, but the regions outside the city centre are great!

I did this tour called Daintree & Cape Tribulation.
Daintree river; don't swim here. It's infested with bull sharks and snakes. The mangroves are poisonous as well.
It's a guided tour which takes you to the rainforest. I think this is my first time that I'm really in a tropical rainforest. The forest is very dense. It's quite warm and humid but the tour through the rainforest is very interesting. I had no troubles with mosquitos thanks to the insect repellent I had sprayed on me. The beach at Cape Tribulation is nice as well. I'm definately not a beach person but I think this beach is quite nice. This tour also brought us to the Daintree river for a croc cruise. We only saw one small (1 metre) and two huge crocodiles (+4 metres), some snakes and that was it. The tide was high so we were very unfortunate we couldn't see many animals swimming there. We also went to Mossman Gorge where we took a swim in a mountain river. I think the water temperature was about 5 - 10 degrees Celcius.
Pool diving
It felt very cold in the beginning, but after a while it was great, very relaxing. This tour was very nice.

The highlight of my visit to Cairns is most definitely diving on the Great Barrier Reef. To dive properly, I took a five-day diving course. Two days in a swimming pool and three days living aboard a boat out on the reef. Our diving class consisted of seven students (all from Europe) and one instructor from South Africa. "I'll teach you some diving, but more importantly, I'll teach you how to look cool underwater". I'll admit, the thought of swimming in open waters and the possibility of having an encounter with sharks sends shivers down my spine. However, that all went away when I took my first dive on the Great Barrier Reef. It's gorgeous there.
Our dive boat.
Corals everywhere! We've seen clownfishes (Nemo's), barracudas, trumpet fishes, flute fishes, stingrays, sharkes, turtles and countless of other fishes which I don't know the name of it. (Tip: do the reef teach course; you'll get to know the types of fishes that are swimming on the Great Barrier Reef). A cameraman joined us on our graduation dive. Before the dive he told us to look and act cool in front of the camera. Well, having seen the dive video I can only conclude that I fail at being cool :(
But it doesn't matter, I'm a certified diver now! :)

Before I came here in Australia someone told me that I'm not meant for backpacking. She said "you have the bag, but not the pack". Well, reminiscing my first ten days here in Australia; meeting new people, getting to know the city of Cairns, hiking through the rainforest, diving at the Great Barrier Reef .
I'm a certified diver!
..... being a backpacker is really not that bad.

My apologies for taking such a long time to get this weblog posted, I know several of you were anxious to know what I'm doing here in Australia. Please feel free to drop your comments or just say hi! Money donations are wellcome too! I'll try to post my next weblog from my next stop, Melbourne!

Catch ya later!

Local headlines: Crocodile eats 62-year-old tourist, Manly wins NRL title (Manly-Storm: 40-0).
Pearl-shell says:
Doog article and the photos!
I live in Cairns and would like to make a journal article about this and publish it here in trvalebuddy. But I do not see how to download the photos along the text. How did you do it, please?
Your article looks good and interesting to read because you have the photos in the different parts of the text.
Thank you in advance!
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012
sshaunaa says:
Reading your blog is making me excited for my east coast tour in two weeks (I'm a Canadian living in Perth for a year). Thanks for posting your pictures!
Posted on: Dec 08, 2008
Lord_Mike says:
Congrats on your feature today!
Posted on: Dec 05, 2008
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Damon Hill surrounded by journalis…
Damon Hill surrounded by journali…
Cairns Casino
Cairns Casino
The hostel where Im staying at.
The hostel where I'm staying at.
Cairns seen from Morris Hill
Cairns seen from Morris Hill
Daintree river; dont swim here. I…
Daintree river; don't swim here. …
Pool diving
Pool diving
Our dive boat.
Our dive boat.
Im a certified diver!
I'm a certified diver!
The sunkist takes us to our dive b…
The sunkist takes us to our dive …
I was too late to take a picture o…
I was too late to take a picture …
Diving equipment
Diving equipment
Laundry?
Laundry?
My guide Alex gives us the dive br…
My guide Alex gives us the dive b…
Food on the boat was pretty good.
Food on the boat was pretty good.
Coral reefs
Coral reefs
6:00 am. Morning dive.
6:00 am. Morning dive.
Showing off.
Showing off.
Strangled tree.
Strangled tree.
Big chance that you can find snake…
Big chance that you can find snak…
Rainforest is very dense.
Rainforest is very dense.
Beach at Cape Tribulation.
Beach at Cape Tribulation.
Alexandra Lookout
Alexandra Lookout
Mossman Gorge
Mossman Gorge
Cairns Laguna
Cairns Laguna
Cairns Esplanade
Cairns Esplanade
It can be dangerous if you swim he…
It can be dangerous if you swim h…
Swimming pool at the hostel
Swimming pool at the hostel
Cairns
photo by: Katie_Kate