Sebis photo blog

Sebis photo blog

Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef

Friday 14 January 2011

Jetstar managed once again to take off an hour late despite everyone being onboard on time. “Missing freight and paperwork” was the official excuse… Sound a bit like they need some thorough process optimization…
Since Cairns is so close to the equator, it was already dark when we landed (7pm) – no daylight savings here. We immediately got slapped into the face by the hot, humid air. Still 31ºC and at least 300% humidity: liquid air.
The drive into town took about 10-15 minutes and we seem to have picked a backpacker that was pretty much in the center of everything. We spent the evening walking around, having pizza and walking around a little bit more. We also got the first impression of the current monsoon season: Short, heavy rain showers – At least at that point we thought it was heavy.

The next morning we got our rental car and took off — general direction: south.
A word on rental cars: It doesn’t always have to be one of the big rental companies. We went for a local one — and we were rewarded: It turned out that did not only have really cheap rates, but their entire fleet was less than 12 months old — our car just had little more than 6000 km on the clock. There’s just one drawback: While we have unlimited milage, we were only allowed to drive within a 4 hour radius of Cairns. With all the flooding going on in South Queensland (and Brisbane as of yesterday), that was not really an issue for us.

Our first stop was unplanned. We saw a sign to “Josephine Falls” and decided to take the detour of just 16 km. It was well worth it: The drive through endless sugar cane and banana plantations was beautiful. Unfortunately it was raining on the way, so there are no pictures (yet :) ). From the parking lot it’s a short 700 m walk through the rain forest. A nice walk which ends at viewing platforms of the upper pool, the falls and swimming access to the lower pool. If the conditions permit it, you can take a short swim of about 20m through the currents and climb up the rocks – careful it’s slippery. And here comes the fun part: The rocks are actually so smooth (polished by the water) that you can slide down – sitting, laying, standing – whatever way you wish. It’s a natural water-slide!!! :)

Our goal for the day was “Mission Beach”. It has the closest access to the Great Barrier Reef. After a few misses (Barbara luckily insisted to try yet another one) we found a neat backpacker, which turned out to be run by “Kaussies” (Kiwi-Aussies). absolute backpackers. We spontaneously decided to stay for a night – or two or three or four :) Additionally we booked ourselves in with the snorkeling and diving boat going out to the Great Barrier Reef (Eddy Reef to be precise). Unfortunately I didn’t grab the data cable of my underwater camera before it was being packed up in the container and shipped to Germany – so no pictures here. But I’m planning to get a new underwater camera anyway, so maybe I’ll have it on my next dive. Who knows. :)

The seconds day at absolute backpackers was to relax. Nothing planned. We saw a Wallaby hopping through the front yard and went to the supermarket. Noticeable was the “Thirsty Camel” – a drive through bottle shop. Yes that’s right: You don’t have to leave your nice chilled air-conditioned car when driving to buy beer, whine or other alcohol! You just drive in, someone comes and takes your order and brings you whatever you want (just as it is with other drive-ins). But please: Don’t confuse it with all those fast-food chains and do not consume it right away! Don’t drink & drive – unless you are a passenger!

Our backpacker host took a few of us on a short 30 minute tour to see a few Wallabies later that afternoon. Very cute those animals! They are a bit like rabbits in Europe: Just sitting there in the middle of a garden, or empty piece of land, chewing grass, staring at you – and if you get too close, they take off.
The difference between Kangaroos and Wallabies? Kangaroos only live out west. And are about 3 times the size.


1 comment for 'Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef'

    January 16, 2011 | 03:19

    Will auch mal dort sliddern;-) welch witzige wallabies.

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