GETTING TO CAIRNS
Cairns is nothing like any other city in Queensland; a lot lush (check out the Daintree forest), less populated, a lot more humid and is gateway to the ever so ‘Great’ barrier reef. This one you can tell has been on my bucket list forever. Cairns, after Gold Coast we figured was a lot more laid back and the town is best enjoyed outdoors. There are definitely a lot of things to do in and around town but Cairns cannot be complete without touring the famous reefs and that is exactly what our two nights stay at Cairns was all about. The town itself depends mostly on tourism for survival therefore, there are numerous stay options and tours to choose from. While booking there were so many similar options, even from us it got quite overwhelming, even though my husband has already been to Cairns before. On the day we flew down, we drove to our lovely and very well equipped accommodation on the Palm Cove which made it easier for us to catch our cruise the next morning. The same evening we got our dinner from one of the many restaurants on the lively boardwalk and also caught people fishing while the sun went down, leaving behind a flawless starry sky above us.
OUR CRUISE TOUR
After a lot of research, reading reviews and calling tour organisers we finally settled on Seastar Cruises and were pretty proud of our decision. The plan was to visit two snorkeling/diving spots, get into the water and enjoy the salty-blue of the ocean. This cruise company promised us the the best reef experience of our lives and I have to say they delivered very well. The cruise crew did a fantastic job of communicating instructions, managing the equipments, arranging some great quality food on the boat and were an extremely friendly and helpful lot. Best part is they do not over crowd the boat like the others did and have seats for very limited number of people for each cruise which made the experience for us rather stress free. The entire tour turned out to be very well organised and a memorable one for us and our family.
AT THE REEFS
It was a 5-6 hours long tour which consisted of the journey to the reefs from the port and back and snorkeling/diving at two different spots. We took the day trip down to Michaelmas Cay and Hastings Reef. Michaelmas Cay is a shallow spot with the reefs being average, we believe it was for us to get used to the water and the gears. The sport did have a small beach though for bird watchers but we went straight into the water.
Hastings Reef on the other hand was everything I had imagined. It was stunning, colorful, deep and lively. We spent hours swimming in the water and that was one of the most therapeutic snorkeling experience of my life. The underwater sights are gorgeous with amazing coral and sea life. Highlight of that moment was spotting a giant turtle swimming in the water, right next to me! Altogether it was surreal. Unfortunately I did not get any underwater pictures but experience has ever been this well imprinted in my mind. Writing all of this down is already reminding me the feeling of breathing underwater and gulping down heavy salt water accidentally. All wet, cold and salty we were looking forward to getting back to our rooms but if I ever get a chance to do tour the Great Barrier Reef ever again, I will go on in a heartbeat.
TIMING AND SUN
It’s extremely important to time this experience. We were there mid november and the weather was perfectly suitable. Water wasn’t too cold and the sun wasn’t harsh. That being said Australian sun is HARSH. I got burnt (not thanking my melanin oozing skin anymore) for the first time in my life and I had sunscreen on. Lather sunscreen on yourself and even better if you buy an Aussie brand cream for the entire trip because they know what is being dealt with here.
Winter is the worst time to go snorkeling of course and not many people know December and January gets too hot. Always check the weather before booking your dates because on a cloudy day it gets difficult to see underwater and you won’t enjoy the experience as much as when sun beams through to make everything come to life.
Like I earlier mentioned there are many tours to choose from and if you are having a hard time picking one like we did, go for Seastar Cruises blindly. A lot of research and experience has gone into recommending this tour cruise. NO, I am not being paid to promote the company, I am an extremely happy customer and satisfied with their services. Also, their tea cakes were amazing!
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