Thankfully, our journey to Cairns was fairly uneventful in terms of the fact that we made all of ours flights without any delay. However, traveling to The Land Down Under is not a trip I will be able to forget. This was my first time out of the country and first time being on a plane for more than three hours. The first leg was from Montreal to Vancouver. Although this was not the longest of our flights, it was the one that sent me for a loop the most. Upon arrival at Vancouver, I was so disoriented that once I stepped foot upon the moving walkway, I swear I couldn’t have told you which was was up or down. Nevertheless, I definitely tossed my cookies in that airport.. or shall I say technicolor yawned?
Thankfully, I was much more seasoned for the remainder of the flights and was able to sleep quite a bit with the help of some Dramamine. Upon arrival of Cairns, we were very giddy to experience driving on the left side of the road and the famous Aussie accent and dialect.
Cairns is a small city with a homey vibe and beautiful views. We were pleased to find it very warm, humid, and very easy to navigate. Another characteristic I was able to recognize, almost immediately, is how conscious they are of their environment. I did not receive a single plastic straw or to-go silverware that was not biodegradable. Even the grocery bags were for purchase instead of handed out for free! I am thoroughly embarrassed at the amount of waste Americans produce daily. Overall, Cairns was much better than I was expecting; as a result, I am very excited for the rest of our destinations.
Our trip to Tjapukai Aboriginal Village was an absolutely amazing experience. The aboriginals were very welcoming and grateful to entertain and teach us their culture. We learned of their spiritually, how to paint in the aboriginal style, how to throw boomerangs and spears, about their herbal remedies, and much more. We were even able to learn a few of their rituals and join them in their traditional song and dance!
It was at Tjapuki where I witnessed my first wild kangaroo as well as my first Australian spider — large enough to cover the surface area of a grown man’s face. Surprisingly, I found myself slightly less terrified than I originally pictured myself being.
Following Tjapuki Aboriginal Village, we visited Cairns Wildlife Doom and Zoo Adventure Park where I was able to hold and pet a Koala and learn more about native wildlife. We were so grateful to be able to hold the koala, Nelly, as she was only allowed to “work” for 30 minutes each day.
Snorkeling The Great Barrier Reef also proved itself to be another wonderful experience. It was my first time out on the ocean in a large boat and I was very thankful not to become seasick. The crew provided us with motion sickness meds and gave us great tips to avoid the dreaded technicolor yawn.
The company we used, “Dream Time Dive & Snorkel,” was outstanding. The aboriginal crew members were very enjoyable, informative, and handled our large group of Americans very well. The even let a few of us try to play their didgeridoo, which is much more difficult than it looks! The food was great and the views were even better. The Reef was absolutely breathtaking and I pity those who aren’t able to experience it’s beauty. We were very fortunate to be able to spot a few sea turtles, small shark, and many other types of fish among the coral.
Until next time! Cheers!