Not knowing much about Cairns other than the tropical climate and Cairn’s proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, I wasn’t really sure what to expect there. What I found was a beautiful and friendly Australian vacation /resort type of town. Although the rain kept us from enjoying the normally sunny weather in our short visit in Cairns our time there wasn’t wasted. Even on the day we landed just being able to explore the beautiful littler city was quite a treat. The city was full of picturesque sights, phenomenal restaurants and bars, and apparently legions of bats in the trees. On the next two days we had what would be two pretty awesome, albeit different experiences coming up.
On Thursday was the visit to the Tjapukai people where we would spend the day learning about their culture. To be honest, going into this visit I had a bit of doubt about how it would go, but it actually turned out to be a pretty fun experience. The Tjapukai people turned out to a very down to earth group of people who found a way to preserve and live by their culture while still adapting to the modern era, despite some horrible treatment by the Australian government in the past. Their sheer determination and still very friendly and positive outlook on life and the future drew a great amount of respect from me. The activities they provided such as boomerang throwing, boomerang painting, and spear throwing were all fun, despite some rather feeble throws and painting skills from myself. Overall I would highly recommend this to future visitors as a good mix of learning and fun.
The next day was our bright and early trip by boat to the Great Barrier Reef. The day started off cloudy with bleak hopes of ever seeing sunlight, but that wasn’t going to ruin our day. After a hour long trip out to the reef, I made the brilliant decision to have my first swim in a while be snorkeling in thirty knot waves in the middle of the ocean, which despite what may have been described by locals as a flailing mess was quite an adventure and sight. Unfortunately the cloudy and stormy weather made visibility a bit rough, but what fish and coral I was able to see was quite a sight. Even watching the crew try to repair a boat only to then see our captain swim quite a distance in the open ocean back to his vessel made the trip out there worth it. In the end on the trip back we saw what might have been our first peak of sunlight since our arrival which nicely closed out the day.
This city turned out to be our first introduction to a very relaxed and simple Australian culture, which so far has been a pleasure to experience. The three days we spent there really felt unfortunately short and made it hard to depart. I sincerely hope for anyone who goes on this trip in the future that Cairns becomes a regular spot, as it was quite a sight to see.