Cairns is Queensland’s beautiful gateway to the Great Barrier reef and is also one of the larger cities in far north Queensland. Cairns is not only located on the beautiful Great Barrier Reef but it is also blessed with the Daintree National Park in its backyard, filled with rainforest as well.
Cairns his humid as it is pretty and it has around 150,000 people living there. It is laid back, beautiful, relaxing and most of all – friendly, filled with some of Australia’s nicest people. Thankfully we had two days in Cairns, which is perfect when you don’t want to miss out on the reef, or on the forest.
The World-Heritage listed Daintree Forest is one of the most beautiful forests I have ever seen, it is however two hours from Cairns. So if you do have the time, please do – you won’t be disappointed. We were quite time-poor however so we decided to visit the mountain village of Kuranda, which you get to via the Kuranda rail. A place which I first visited when I was around 8 years old in 1994 (pic below).
It was pretty special going back as a 30 year old with G, who had never been there before. The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway glides above the rainforest canopy and then descends into the rainforest, it is around a 90 minute tree and allows time at two different rainforest stations. It was raining when we were there, so brolly’s in hand- we made the trek. If it doesn’t rain, is it even really a rainforest?!
Kuranda itself is a little mountain town, hippy shops, a few decent restaurants and mostly touristy type hops. There is also the butterfly sanctuary (above) which is quite expensive but the money does go towards conservation, so that’s not too bad!
On the way back down the mountain the train journey takes about two hours, if you can – try to get a window seat on the left hand side of the train – this will guarantee you will see out the window and see the view. The seats are quite small because it is an old train but it is really nice. The Barron Gorge, is not to be missed!
Below is a picture of us with our delicious lunches – I had the chicken and G had the crocodile – I cannot and will not a dinosaur haha. I think the Kuranda Skyrail and the transfers cost around $125 per adult and whilst it is expensive, if you can afford it I would definitely recommend it!
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, and if you have ever seen any tourism ads regarding Australia and more specifically, Queensland – you will recognise it instantly. It is made up of over 3000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands and 300 coral cays. Sadly, the colours in the reef from when I was a kid to when we last went are very different. Unfortunately coral bleaching is a very real tragedy happening to this natural wonder and we (humans) are losing the battle to save it.
My fiancé bought us a private snorkel with a marine biologist (available on the boat we went out on as an additional extra) as my birthday present. So that was amazing, just holding hands and snorkelling out on the reef. We were quite a long way from the boat and on a few occasions I had the ‘what am I doing?!’, but it went well and it was absolutely beautiful. We also had a beautiful lunch, fruit and snacks on the day-trip and I think it was around $250 pp.
Hilariously, one of the most memorable parts of the day was the teenage boy working on the boat who was trying to help some older men and their wives with sea sickness, but they were dismissing him and basically shoo-ing him away. Anyone who has been on the water or is Australian with some coastal knowledge, is aware that if you are feeling sea sick – you need to be looking at the horizon, usually from the back of the boat. When this poor guy was trying to stop them from laying down and shutting their eyes they refused him and became sicker. They all ended up throwing up in the end, the one man who had been particularly rude looked so angry that he was vomiting, his eyes darting around wildly as he scream-vomited into his bag. I thought G and I were going to pass out we were laughing so hard (because he had been so rude to the young kid just trying to do his job and help).
Our time in Cairns was brief, but it was absolutely spectacular and a nice little break off of the boat! One of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen, was as the Pacific Dawn sailed out of Cairns and it was quite misty and it was such a beautifully soft departure, quiet and smooth and really really beautiful – as you can see from the pictures above!
Thanks for reading – let me know what you think of Cairns?