There are so many things to do in Cairns that Mr. Czech and I didn’t have time to do it all. However, in our few days there we did pack several things into our itinerary that we thoroughly enjoyed, and I recommend for you to try them too!
• Go snorkeling or scuba diving •
This was an absolutely amazing experience, and I definitely recommend it. There are so many companies available that will take you out on their boats for the day and bring you to some of the best snorkeling and diving destinations on the Great Barrier Reef. The azure blue seas are beautiful enough on their own: yet discovering what is underneath is the real treasure.
Mr Czech went on his first dive, and I have some advice here to any people who are wishing to go on a dive with a tour – please MAKE SURE you have the right information on your safety sheet that you fill in before the dive. I had been misinformed as a child that I had had viral asthma, so I filled that in on the sheet – and I wasn’t allowed to dive. I called Mum and she said that I went to an ear nose and throat specialist as a child that told her that I didn’t have asthma at all. This was very disappointing and I was quite upset. So, make sure you have your details correct!
However, this meant that I went snorkeling instead, which turned out to be super amazing too! On our tour, there were a few instructors who took people out on a ‘snorkel tour’, which is great for those who aren’t feeling as confident. Since Mr Czech was off diving (a great experience, he tells me) I decided to go off snorkeling on my own (within the allowed area). It can be a little annoying to have 10 other people’s legs bashing into you. Plus, if you want to see sea animals, it is best to go on your own or with 1 person (for safety), because otherwise they will often be scared away.
On this little personal rendezvous, I saw two beautifully graceful and elegant turtles, a sting ray, a SHARK (this was very scary but the instructors had reassured us that they are harmless reef sharks), and many beautiful coloured fish. The reef was gorgeous too. Sadly parts of the reef have been bleached recently, but many parts are still brightly coloured and just a delight to look at. It was an incredibly unifying experience, in which the mind must remain in a peaceful meditative state in order to breathe underwater.
Lunch and afternoon tea is usually provided on the boat, depending on which company you choose to tour with. It will cost extra to dive as well, but most places will then give you your “first dive” certificate – which is the first step on your way to becoming a diving instructor if you decide to!
• Head to the Cairns Botanical Gardens •
Tip for this: make sure you wear a hat, sunblock, and have LOTS of water, because you WILL get very thirsty!! Although it was incredibly hot outside (no swimmable water nearby with which to cool oneself down), the botanical gardens were absolutely divine. Both Mr Czech and I thought that these beautiful tropical plants were exquisite and beautifully bright and interesting. This is definitely recommended for any nature lover.
There is a greenhouse in the gardens (which is incidentally no hotter than the outside in Cairns), and there were several amazing plants inside. This included carnivorous plants, orchids and lilies. There was also an amazing section where I counted at least 15 butterflies, all flying around the same area. It made me feel like I was in a fairytale!
• Swim at the Babinda Boulders •
Just 58km south of Cairns, the Babinda Boulders are a popular watering hole for tourists and locals alike. Being a South Australian used to swimming in the sea, this was my first proper time swimming in a river! It is an absolutely gorgeous, relaxing and calming place, and Mr Czech and I spent the day between swimming in the river and reading peacefully by the grass, surrounded by trees and plant life.
There is an area that you can swim in, and another area that you can walk to (about a 10-15 minute walk). The walking track takes you to the *Boulders* themselves, and you can easily see why you wouldn’t want to swim in that part, as the current is quite strong and there are large rocks everywhere. However, it was great to be able to swim in a river in Queensland where we didn’t have to be afraid of crocs, and it really was a wonderful place where one could finally just enjoy and be in the moment.
•Dine at Ganbaranba Japanese Restaurant•
Mr Czech and I decided to check out a Japanese ramen restaurant one night and it was DELICIOUS! They have so many different ramen options there, including various meats, seafoods, and vegetarian options. They also re-fill the noodles in your bowl for only $1, and the meals are just SO amazingly tasty. Both Mr Czech and I walked out of there feeling utterly satisfied. They also gave out free iced tea and Mr Czech tried a Japanese drink (pictured right) which tasted kind of like yoghurt.
So that’s it! I hope I have given you some ideas for what to do on your holiday in Cairns.
(pronounced “ahoy”, and means hello and goodbye in Czech)