So for spring break I went to Cairns (pronounced ‘cans’). Cairns is famous for a couple of things. The first being that it’s very close to the rainforest and the second being that it’s one of the best places to go see the Great Barrier Reef. I saw both. :)
Cairns is in north Queensland (Brisbane is also in Queensland) close to both the beach and tablelands where the rainforest is. On the first day in Cairns we walked around the city and went touristy shopping. The city is nothing like cities I’ve really been in before because the term city is kind of a stretch. It’s a small city that relies heavily on tourism for the economy.
On our second day in Cairns we went to the Great Barrier Reef. I got to scuba and snorkel. Scubaing is a strange experience. You are very aware of your breathing because it’s all you can hear. They also tell you beforehand that you must never hold your breath while scubaing or your lungs may explode. That is a terrifying thought. So for the first five minutes I had to get used to being able to breathe under water and control my breathing to slow even breaths. After I got the hang of it I was an okay scuba diver. I kept floating up not realizing that I never stopped kicking my feet when I was upright in the water. Our instructor had to grab on to me sometimes to make sure I stayed down. But it was worth it because I saw a giant clam, I held a sea cucumber, and saw Nemo! (I tried to upload the pictures here but the files are too large. I can email them to anyone who wants to see, or they’ll be on Facebook at some point in the next few days).
I liked snorkeling more than scubaing because I felt like I could breathe easier. I also saw a lot more when I snorkeled. I saw a reef shark, parrot fish, a huge school of black fish, and a lot of the coral up close. I saw so many kinds of fish that I don’t know the name of. The water was about room temperature, and was lovely. I’m getting spoiled here with warm water and weather and I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get back to OCNJ. The boat ride was rough to and from Cairns. A lot of people got seasick including a couple of my friends, but thankfully I did not!
The next day we did a waterfall tour through part of the rainforest. It rained heaps on us! At the end of the day my shoes were completely soaked. We also encountered leeches that day. The leeches we got on us were tiny, but I’ve seen bigger ones. I got one on me and then became paranoid for the rest of the day that there would be leeches on me. Our tour guide, Peter, was a stereotypical Australian man who said, “no worries” too many times to count. Here are some pictures of the waterfalls:
On our fourth day in Cairns we went to Cape Tribulation and the rainforest. Cape Tribulation is named by Captain Cooke who named a lot of Australian landmarks, but he named this one after his ship had run into a rock and was slowly sinking. Cape Tribulation backs up onto Mount Sorrow and other sad landmarks. On the way to the cape we did a guided rainforest walk and saw a lot of cool plants and insects. I saw a couple giant spiders and refrained from taking photos so I would forget them immediately, but if you want to see Google Golden Orb Spider. A couple cool things I saw were fan trees, where the leaves look like fans. A beetle that looks like a jewel, and tree that grows around other trees.
The gap in the bark is where the old tree used to be.
We spent the night at Cape Tribulation and went to the beach. We were not allowed to swim because the box jellyfish (one of the most deadly animals in the world) were still in the water. If you get a meter and a half of one of its tentacles around you, you will die in less than ten minutes. Needless to say we stayed away from the water. There was coral washed up on the beach which looked really cool. And you could see all of the rainforest surrounding the beach.
On the way home from the cape the next day we did a river cruise on the Daintree River. And we saw crocodiles! These are baby crocodiles (1-3 years old). They live about the same lifespan as humans. They grow up to 4 or 5 meters and maybe more, no one is completely sure. They’re saltwater crocodiles (salties) but they can also go in fresh water. They are also man eaters, and if provoked will kill you.
Can you see him?
We flew back to Brisbane the next day. I loved Cairns but I was happy to be back in Brisbane. Tomorrow (Thursday) I am going to Melbourne until Sunday! I’m very excited and have been told that Melbourne is completely different from other cities in Australia. We’re also going to drive the Great Ocean Road and see the 12 Apostles. The 12 Apostles are rock formations in the ocean that are supposed to be breathtaking. I am very excited to see them! I’ll post again when I get back!