This spring break was one for the books. Every day was an adventure.
Friday night was Tom’s 21st birthday and our flight to Cairns was at 6 am Saturday morning. Needless to say, sleep wasn’t in the cards. We made it to our flight in a let’s say less-than-perfect state and settled in for the 3 hour trip. We checked into one of the nicest hostels I’ve been to called Gilligan’s and explored the market and city for a bit but the rainy day was spent in a bit of a sleepy haze. That’s alright because day two meant embarking on an all day Passions of Paradise Great Barrier Reef tour.
The boat trip out was beautiful – the scenery around Cairns is cool and mountainous. Once we got to the reef, I geared up for my first ever scuba dive. No big deal or anything…the first time I scuba dove was just in The Great Barrier Reef… I COULDNT BELIEVE IT! I didn’t expect to be so nervous underwater but the sound of my breath and the total underwater immersion definitely freaked me out a little. The panic was easy to forget as soon Under The Sea from The Little Mermaid began playing in my head and Finding Nemo quotes began firing off. I know, I’m really really cool. Y’all don’t have to tell me.
The reef is beautiful and the colors are vibrant. Bright green, pink, blue and yellow fish swim right past your head..then you turn around and ITS A SEA TURTLE! Or two! Or three! Just gliding right on past you without a care in the world. The corals come in every color, shape and size, the giant clams are literally giant and bright blue and I saw a shark! Like a decently sized real life shark! And I didn’t freak out! I’m alive and it’s all good.
I snorkeled at the second stop which I definitely enjoyed a lot more than the scuba dive. This stop, called Paradise Reef, had more to offer in colors and less in wildlife but was equally gorgeous.
We spent the next day on Uncle Brian’s Rainforest Tour where we hit Babinda Boulder, Josephine Falls, Milla Milla Falls and Lake Eacham which is a lake on a volcano. We got to swim and play at all of the spots and take herbal essence-esque hair flip model pictures which turned out hilariously. Every single spot, rainforest walk, waterfall or lake, was beautiful in it’s own way and we spent the day finding ourselves slack jawed and in awe again and again and again.
Wednesday, we got up bright and early to take a bus from Cairns to Mission Beach where we spent three or so hours white water rafting on the Tully River. I think this ties with absailing in the Blue Mountains for my favorite thing I’ve done so far. We had heaps and heaps of fun, got completely drenched and the river and forest scenery was stunning. I got all hippy while chilling on the slow easy parts of the river and just felt super at one with nature, ya feel me man? But really, how can you not while lazily lounging on a river that navigates through and around smooth river eroded boulders surrounded by sloping, rainforest covered mountains? It was all so perfectly serene and beautiful. We had a big family dinner of Kangaroo bolognese (which ended up being delicious) to celebrate and later, appropriately watched Finding Nemo with the rest of the people in our hostel, Absolute Backpackers.
Thursday I was supposed to go skydiving at Mission Beach with a view overlooking the reef. Unfortunately skydiving got canceled due to the impending cyclone… The winds and rain were just way too harsh. Instead, Pete, Bennett and I rented bikes and went on a few different trails. My bike ended up being broken (I thought I was just really out of shape) and I fell off twice… I’m sure none of you are surprised. The first time was because I got distracted by wallabies (how cool is that?!?) and literally ran right off the sidewalk and the second because of a slippery bridge in the pouring rain. Just a normal day in the life for me.
Friday and Saturday we spent sailing in the Whitsunday Islands through an impending cyclone. Soooo we had perfect weather and tanned all day. Lol jk, we sat through torrential downpour and intense swells for a lot of it. The night and some of Saturday ended up being really nice and all in all the trip was a lot of fun. I avoided seasickness and we successfully made it to Whitehaven Beach on Friday which was literally paradise. Only pictures can do it justice but it was heaven on earth. Saturday was spent snorkeling at some beautiful coves and we ended up having a blast despite the weather. Airlie Beach, where we stayed at Nomad’s the nights before and after sailing on the Siska, was a cool little beachside town. Come Sunday, we were all pretty ready to come home to sunny and wonderful Sydney. It was an incredible and definitely extreme adventure but I’m also really really happy to be back and excited to start working on Tuesday!