Our adventure tours in Cairns

For adventure tours Cairns is the place to be. Located on the north Queensland coast, it is the start for both reef cruises to the Great Barrier Reef, and tours to the tropical rainforest. The city of Cairns itself is not big. The waterfront is where the tourists linger, with many souvenir shops, restaurants, and tour operators. More inland you can find the local population not involved with the tourist industry.

As we approach Cairns the traffic on the highway gets more crowded every mile. But just when we think this must be a big city, we arrive at the center, and soon after that the waterfront. Quickly we find a good place to sleep, and the place where we can drop off our rental car. Time to explore the city. The tourism part of Cairns is located on a strip along the waterfront. It is nice, with shops, booths, and restaurants. But we are pleased to notice the change when we walk a few streets inland. What we find is a typical Australian town, and we wind up in a typical Australian bar. We sit amongst the locals, including some stereotypes with ZZ Top beards, and some aboriginals. We stay here until some locals get too drunk and show a bit too much interest in that pretty female tourist…

Waterfall Tour

We only have two full days for adventure tours in Cairns, and decide to spend one day in the rainforest and one on the reef. Waterfall freaks as we are, we book the waterfall tour through the rainforest. We are picked up by a coaster and soon we find ourselves in the rainforest, and indeed it starts raining. But, no worries, we intended to get wet under the waterfalls after all.

The first waterfalls we encounter are the Josephine Falls. A nice cascade of falls, where we enjoy a natural slide over the rocks. We hike through the forest to reach is, and see the leeches jump on our legs. In the coaster we get rid of them. Via the Tablelands we reach another part of the rainforest, where we find Millaa Millaa falls. This is a high waterfall with a large pool underneath. We swim in the pool, but it is difficult to reach the falling water. And when we do, the water hits us hard on the head.

When dusk sets in, the coaster brings us up in the mountains, to a hostel where the people who booked a two day tour will spend the night. Here we make a night walk in the forests, where we spot some possums. When we return we have bath in the warm spa of the hostel. It completes a relaxing and wonderful tour in the rainforest.

Great Barrier Reef

Searching for good affordable reef cruises in Cairns we decide to choose Noah’s ark. It’s small boat that brings us to the outer barrier reef. First we stop at Michaelmas Cay, a small sandy island. Here we snorkel and see the marvelous reef. Amazing colors of both the fish and the coral. On snorkeling trips we undertake elsewhere in the world later we learn that almost no reef can compare to what we see here. One large colorful blanket with all kinds of fish on it. In between snorkeling we lay in the beach of the island, which is also a bird sanctuary. Looking at the birds, we still marvel about what we saw underwater, and decide to dive back into it.

Diving with sharks

When our time is up, Noah’s Ark brings us further to Hastings reef. Here the water is much deeper, and it is a good location to dive. Patrick is the only one who wants to have an introductory scuba dive, but since he had one before he is allowed to join the certified divers. While the divers sit on the boat preparing themselves, the others go snorkeling. Just a little later, Sabine, who is snorkeling, comes to the boat. “Sharks, sharks, there are sharks here!!” she shouts. “Yeah, right” is the response. But soon we learn that indeed there are sharks. White tip Reef sharks, to be precise. They are not very dangerous, but just look like the dangerous white shark, and are 3 meters in length.

A little later we are in the water diving, and surrounded by a few sharks. The instructor told us he would feed them a bit, and we would be able to pet a shark. A bit anxious, we come closer and touch the shark. They have a strange feeling skin, especially when you try to rub in the wrong direction. It is an amazing feeling to be that close to such a creature.

A bit annoying are the fish that accompany the sharks. They cling to the sharks to eat parasites from their skin, and when we come close, some of them try to cling on to us.

We dive a little deeper to the rocks and coral. Here we see a large green murene eel. Our instructor tries to lure him with some food, Patrick thinks he can pet this creature as well. It’s skin feels a lot softer, but the instructor quickly indicates to stop that. Later we learn it can be dangerous to touch murene eels.

We see a lot more fish, small and big ones. One more to mention is the big humphead wrasse. It is over two meters long, and their head is a meter high, with large lips and eyes staring at you. But this is a very peaceful creature. After the dive the boat brings us back to Cairns. We had an amazing reef cruise, which was beyond our expectations.

Our adventure tours in Cairns were a big success. The rainforest is a great place for all kinds of activities. And the Great Barrier Reef is unique in its kind. So for tourism Cairns is a great destination. Luckily, it is not too big, and more inland it is still a typical Australian town.

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