After almost two weeks of tours and people around me all the time, I felt just like in paradise when I arrived in my hostel in Cairns where I had my own room and a big bed… the first time since I had arrived in Australia in August!
All I wanted was being with myself, reading a book and having dinner in a nice restaurant alone. The journey had been amazing so far, but I had not one day “off” during 15 days, because my timetable had always been filled with tours or bus drives.
My arrival in the hostel was quite funny though: When I checked in, I realized that the receptionist was extremely polite to me and tried to help me out with anything she could, while at the same time she seemed a bit confused. After a while I understood her behavior, when she looked at me and asked shyly, “Do you know why the computer says you are VIP?”. I couldn’t help grinning: I hadn’t booked that hostel but got it for free from the company I work at.
So although I was quite in the mood of doing nothing, I couldn’t wait for my first tour in Cairns: A one day trip on the “Ocean Freedom” boat to discover the Great Barrier Reef. Of course I had already gotten to know it around Airlie Beach, but every part of the reef is different! And also just the time on the boat was wonderful – many people laid down to relax, there was heaven knows how much tasty food and really nice people and crew members. However, I preferred spending almost the whole day in the water (always with a wet suit to protect from jelly fishes), snorkelling and diving. I had passed my diver’s license in South Sydney (cheapest place in Australia) and was therefore more than excited to see what’s it like to dive in the Great Barrier Reef. And it was – what else – stunning! I saw lemon sharks (not dangerous), swam next to a half-meter-long turtle and hundreds and hundreds of fishes of all colours and sizes and took photos of them, as well as of a beautiful red starfish. I could take underwater photos thanks to a plastic cover for mobiles I had bought earlier in Airlie. It’s about $ 15.
After the tour, together with two other guys I had met on the boat, I went to a small lagoon close to the ocean, just like a swimming pool and free for everyone to use. Lots of swimmers even did aquarobics, but I was too lazy after one day of swimming and preferred leaving after a bit, to have dinner at the harbour. After all I realised that Cairns by itself has not too much to offer, the main things to do are actually around the city.
I spent my next and last day on a tour to discover the only place in the world where two natural listed world heritage sites meet each other: Daintree rain forest, the oldest rain forest in the world and the Great Barrier Reef, which is the world’s greatest living tropical reef. Highlights of the bus tour were swimming in a lake at Mossman Gorge, spotting a baby crocodile during a river cruise, having lunch at an awesome place at the famous beach Cape Tribulation and obviously discovering plants and animals in the rain forest! Our guide was in a good mood and told us lots of interesting details during the bus drive. I honestly am happy having done this tour, but again after so many days of action I often felt like I just wanted to lay down and do nothing.
In the end my mind was full of incredible memories, I had seen so many things and met so many new people, but I was also quite tired. I reckon if I had had more time for everything, I would have been more relaxed and rested by the end of the trip. However I do not regret one single tour I did and I know that I will never forget the whole trip and all the wonderful experiences I made.