Have I ever wanted to arrive in a country as much as I wanted to arrive in Australia? Nope.
Australia had been number one on my list of travel destinations for over 11 years. Back when I was the grand age of 15, I would watch copious amounts of ‘Wanted Down Under’ on the TV maxing out the recording space on the Sky+ box much to my families delight!
On a Spring day in Australia I touched down from Nadi, Fiji into Brisbane, Australia ready for my connecting flight to Cairns. As I hadn’t eaten anything for breakfast due to my flight being an early one, I grabbed a Krispy Kreme doughnut to satisfy my needs which for those who know me is typical of me!
The flight to Cairns was fabulous and in true ‘Aussie’ style I had a joker of a man sat next to me telling me all about how girls are used to bend the bananas when packing fruit, advising me on how to tackle spiders and snakes aswell as reiterating to me that drop bears are real and smothering yourself in Vegemite was the only way to keep these terrifying creatures at bay…boom.
As I got off the plane the humidity hit and I definitely had not dressed for the occasion (I was wearing all black) but YAY, I was finally able to touch Australian soil. I couldn’t believe I’d made it here, I was the other side of the world living out a 10+ year old dream, ah!
I stayed in Cairns for 7 nights in total, all of which were at Gilligans Backpackers Hotel and Resort. I originally only booked here for 4 nights but enjoyed myself that much I extended the stay for an extra 3 nights! They also offer a free airport transfer to the hostel which saves some stresses however if you’re not patient I’d find your own way there, I waited for an hour. The staff at Gilligans were amazing and I had a fabulous group of other travellers in the dorm. It is a ‘party’ hostel but just invest in some good ear plugs or join in the fun: the experience isn’t one to be missed!
Cairns itself isn’t the biggest of cities however it has a large, diverse culture and thrives off tourism. There are plenty of activities to keep you entertained. From lagoon sunbathing and esplanade strolls to bungy jumping with AJ Hackett and diving the Great Barrier Reef.
My personal favourite was Canyoning and where better to do this than the beautiful waterfalls of Behana Gorge. I went with a company called Behana Canyoning and they were amazing! The guides were lovely, very professional and we had such a laugh, even if sometimes at my expense. I thought an Esky was an animal and not a cool box! My first go at abseiling was a cold one with being right next to a waterfall and was closely followed by a cliff jump. Plunging into the crisp, clear water of the gorge was exhilarating and it didn’t end there. Rock sliding, zip lining and snorkeling were also covered during the day tour. Mid morning snacks and lunch was provided too which was eaten whilst sunbathing by some of the rock pools. My best tip if you do fancy Canyoning would be lace up shoes: one of the group members lost theirs after a cliff jump and the guide had to give her his as she couldn’t participate without them! The transfer to and from the gorge was also handy and a well deserved car nap was had on the drive back to Cairns.
A little tip if you like your coffee and need a place in Cairns to nurse a hangover, grab a take away or just to procrastinate with the use of free WiFi then I really would recommend ‘Bang & Grind’ on Spence Street. It’s perfectly positioned as it’s not far from Gilligans or the Esplanade! Infact, it was a fab place to grab a take-away whilst en-route to a sunbathing session at the Lagoon. They provide reasonably priced, amazing coffee and service with a smile: what more could you ask for and you even get the choice of two blends!
After my one week stint, I will still be returning to Cairns for two nights in May. Unfortunately, I was unable to complete an introductory dive of the Great Barrier Reef whilst I was there the first time and this is a bucket list item! If you are planning on diving the Reef do not decide to book your flight the day of your dive or early morning the next day! The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) advise at least 18 hours in between multiple dives and flying…GAH! It will totally be worth seeing one of the natural wonders of the world though and a personal achievement for myself.
Planning for my next blog entry is already under way but in the mean time, if you’re interested in what I am doing presently please follow my Instagram page @abscondedblonde 🙂 Cheers! Bec ♡