Australia · Travel

Cairns ft. The Great Barrier Reef

Important note about Cairns. You don’t pronounce it like it’s spelled. Say key-annes. Then say it really fast and mushed together. That’s how you say it. Should come out sounding more like Cans than Cairns.

If we hadn’t been told by a number of Kiwi’s and Aussie’s, we might have thought it was just an accent difference… but the truth of the matter is that you just shouldn’t refer to the city any other way. Now you know!

You can access the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns…. which is the main reason we went there. We flew in from Melbourne late Friday night, and Saturday morning at 8 o-clock we were heading out on the boat.

Maybe a go pro would be able to capture the experience. But we don’t have one, so we couldn’t even try. However I would be thoroughly impressed if someone managed to encapsulate the feeling of swimming around above such abundant sea life… the sunshine piercing through the surface in rays of shimmering light. There is something etherial and incredibly peaceful about observing the goings on under the sea. I think I could have floated there watching the water ripple through the seaweed and coral for ages.


We decided it was worth a risk to take a few pictures, and our little waterproof phone case held strong! The visibility isn’t nearly what it was in person but it is nice to have a few snapshots to remember the experience.

We made some really cool friends on the boat and chatted with them for the two hours back to shore. When we docked the boat there were swarms of what looked like birds soaring over the city center. One of the boat staff informed us that they were flying foxes (bats) whose home tree had recently been chopped down. Every night they would try to return to their tree, only to realize that it was gone…. so they would circle around for a while before flying away. It was an insane thing to see!

Little side note about the cruise we took: We went for a budget cruise… which meant we weren’t quite sure what to expect. The boat wasn’t the most plush, but for the price we felt it was a pretty awesome package! They took us to two different locations on the Outer Reef… fed us a fruit breakfast, full lunch and wine, cheese and crackers on the way back to shore. The staff was happy and upbeat, a lot of fun to be around. We were really stoked with our day and would recommend it to anyone on a budget, or simply trying to keep expenses low 🙂

We had one more full day in town and spent it enjoying the free lagoon and soaking up the sun. There isn’t beach access in Cairns CBD, even though the ocean is right there. Where ocean meets shore is instead taken up by long stretches of mud flats. To compensate for this, the town built a spectacular salt water swimming lagoon. We wish we had one in Boise!

We only spent a few days there but really enjoyed our time in Cairns. From there we headed on a quick roadtrip down to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast in a 6 person RV… But that’s a story for the next blog 😉


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