16th – 18th March 2017
With the end of our tour looming it was time to head north once more, this time to Cairns, our nineth and final stop. Considered the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and also the party & adrenaline capital of the north we were in for a treat.
Although on a map the distance between Airlie Beach and Cairns really doesn’t look that far don’t be deceived. We were in for a long drive, 9 hours to be precise, leaving us plenty of time to start getting excited for Cairns. As always the drive was broke up by a few stops along the way, the first being Bowen, home to the big Mango and Mrs Jones Fruit Stall which according to Ant sells the best mango smoothies EVER. I however took one mouthful and wanted to spit it out on the floor. Gross. Our next big stop was in Cardwell, the home of the big crab and huge 5m croc (the crab was plastic but the croc is alllll real!!). Our final stop before reaching Cairns was in Tully to tick off another ‘big thing’ the Golden Boot (that wasn’t actually gold).
Notice the slight change in weather throughout the day in the pictures below…
We didn’t arrive in Cairns until late afternoon and after such a long day of travelling the evening was pretty much a write off so we grabbed a $5 dominos and headed to bed!
The next day however was a lot more action packed as it was time for us to head to the Great Barrier Reef – measuring 2,300km long it is the largest living thing on earth and even visible from outer space. It is made up of thousands of reefs and islands, over 600 types of hard and soft coral and home to an array of marine life such as fish, turtles, dolphins and sharks.
Pretty damn cool ey.
Our day trip was with a company called Passions of Paradise who were absolutley fantastic. It took around 2 hours to reach the reef so we had time to chill out and relax on the most amazing hammock things at the front of the boat! All the girls were out on them sunbathing and one of the guys working on the boat kept coming out and making ‘jokes’ about how we were all going to burn if we didn’t have a break and come inside… do you think any of us listened? No. The tan comes first and always.
When we finally reached the reef and our first diving/snorkelling spot I literally couldn’t believe my eyes. The water was crystal clear. You could see about 15m straight down to the bottom it was incredible. I opted to do a dive at the first site and wasted no time in getting kitted up and jumping in. Our divemaster told us that in all the years she had been working out on the reef she had never seen the water so clear so we were in for a treat.
The dive was amazing – the corals were teaming with an assortment of marine life and were so beautiful and colourful. Within 5 minutes of being under we spotted a green sea turtle and got so close to it and then minutes later a stingray nestled into the sand. We saw everything from tiny little nemos to huge moray eels, it was breathtaking.
After we surfaced from the dive I got my snorkelling gear and headed back into the water with the girls. We had such a good time swimming around spotting all the pretty corals and fish. At our second site we all went snorkelling again and spotted even more marine life plus a white tipped reef shark swam straight underneath us!!
We had such an incredible day out on the reef it literally exceed all my expectations and we were so lucky with the weather and water conditions which made it all the more special. Completely worn out we spent the whole journey back to Cairns sleeping/sunbathing out on deck.
Back on a massive high it was time to get ready for our LAST night of the tour which just so happened to fall on paddys day – cue alcohol, alcohol and more alcohol.
So that’s it the end of the tour! I think I speak for all of us when I say that we had the most amazing time, it really was an adventure of a lifetime and the memories that we made will stay with me forever.
However, that’s not quite the end of our time in Cairns as me and the girls still had a few more days left!