Cairns is a nice beachside town at the end of our east coast route. Chill by the lagoon, have a beer in the sun or dive into the oceans aquarium.
Backpackers, travel agent, pub, club, casino, Gilligans is a beast of a hostel. I have to mention it just because it’s such a big part of cairns. It has a reputation for insane parties every night, with questionable entertainment, and is the hub for young shenanigans. I was out of my tea and biscuits comfort zone but it was an experience.
Slightly controversial and unashamedly garish, Australia Day is the most Aussie thing on the planet. Picture beers on the beach, surfing, barbecues, more beer and you’ve got it. The day itself marks the day captain cook landed in Australia, on the 26th Jan 1788. Officially, it celebrates Australia as a nation, but it also highlights the European colonisation of Australia and all the horrific things that came afterwards. Most Aussies spend the time with family, or getting drunk with friends, a tamer version of St Patrick’s day. We celebrated being brits abroad, in the way the brits abroad do, with beer and gin.
Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living organism in the world, and arguably the best dive spot too. We’d seen parts of the reef on our Whitsundays trip, and you can access it from most of coastal Queensland, but Cairns is the king of Reef trips. If you’re not a certified diver, you can do guided taster dives. Don’t fancy that? You can snorkel over the Reef, and look down on the craziness below. Don’t want to get wet? Glass bottom boats and seabed walking tours allow you see the sea and be in your own little bubble of air.
Every dive is different, and in a place so diverse, you’ll see enough for your jaw to be on the floor for days. After each dive we were straight back in, diving again and again. It’s indescribably amazing. Highlight of the dives? A turtle feeding less than a foot from my face. I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but that is one of the best things I’ve ever done. Visit cairns, dive, and see the world below.