Cairns was a wonderful city to start our trip in. Not only was it beautiful and exotic, but it was also completely different from the culture that most of us experience back home because of how tropical it is. Our pilot on the plane from Brisbane to Cairns was so enthusiastic to tell us what we’d be flying over and how great everything is. He was a great introduction to how relaxed and cheerful Australians usually are. My first impression of Cairns was very positive, it is a small, but lively beach town. It had a good amount of night life, but still retained the culture of the tropics. This relaxed tropical culture was also helped by the fact that Cairns is such a small city, everything was within walking distance.
We did so many memorable things in Cairns. One thing was all of the girls decided that we wanted to go hold a koala because Queensland is the only state in which you can. It was so amazing! The koala’s name was Nellie and she was absolutely precious when she was woken up for the picture and snuggled into us, plus she was so soft! Another thing that I would highly recommend doing in Cairns is going to the Night Market. The Night Market is this small indoors marketplace that has about a hundred stalls with vendors selling all sorts of products. I loved this market because so many of the products are made by the person selling it to you right in Cairns so they have a lot of character.
In addition to the little things that we found to do around Cairns, as a group we also went to the Tjupakai Aboriginal Cultural Center. This visit was so fantastic! Our tour guide was so sweet and really wanted to share her culture with us. The visit started out with them painting our faces in a traditional style and then we learned a brief history about Australian Aboriginals. Next we were shown a presentation on the creation story that they believe in in their culture. Also during the visit, we got to see how they cook their food, some of their traditional dances, how to throw boomerangs and spears, as well as some bush foods that they eat and plants that they use for medicine. Overall, the experience was so great because we got to learn about another culture and because the people were so happy to show us their culture.
Finally, we of course went out to see the Great Barrier Reef. Or at least attempted to. Of course the day that we went was one of the worst that the crew had seen in a month with constant rain and 30 knot winds, making the seas very very rough. Luckily our entire group took sea sickness pills and avoided having a very rough day. The rough seas also made it difficult to see under the water while scuba diving or snorkeling due to the currents, however what we did see of wildlife and coral was absolutely amazing. The glass bottom boat tour that we went on was also amazing because we got to see even more while not having to face being tossed around by the waves, the tour guide for that boat was also hilarious. Overall, it was a great tour, but I would probably recommend going on a day with better weather.