Well the trip here was about as expected. I had never been on a flight longer than two to three hours before in my life, so going from that to 36 straight hours of travel was definitely interesting. It was not as bad as I had originally thought though, since the bulk of the flight from Vancouver to Brisbane was through the night and in the dark and I was able to sleep most of the way.
My first impression of Cairns was that weather wise it seemed and felt a lot like Florida. It would have felt identical to Florida if not for all the mountains. Finally getting on the ground and to the hotel was awesome as Cairns was a very nice place. Our first day the weather was great, the hotel rooms were really cool and it really felt like being on vacation and made the long flight worth it. I also enjoyed the vibe of Cairns a lot. I liked how it wasn’t too large of a city but there was still plenty to do where we were located. We did not do much on the first day as it mostly involved recovering from the travel, but it was nice to be able to walk around the area and get a feel for the city so we knew better for the next two days.
Our second day in Cairns was when we visited the Tjapukai aboriginal village. This turned out to be a lot more fun than I had expected. I particularly enjoyed the spear throwing and boomerang throwing. I think those activities made the visit a lot more fun and not as much of a rigid educational experience. Being able to keep our own boomerang was also very cool and I plan to bring mine back to Potsdam for next year. The informational aspect of the tour also turned out to be pretty interesting. We learned about the tale of the two brothers that formed the wet and dry lands and seasons that really seemed to be the foundation of their culture. Their totem names I also found fascinating. I think it was very cool that whatever their totem name was they had an obligation to ensure the well being of that animal they were named after for the duration of their life. I also really enjoyed learning about how they hunt and how they make and use all the various weapons they showed us. The foods and medicines they showed us were also very intriguing. The lemon myrtle plant was awesome how they just crush it up and smell it and it has healing powers. I also found it interesting and a little weird how they eat poisonous foods. It seemed like a lot of work to remove the poison from the fruits our guide talked about. It seemed like something they regularly do however. I’m not entirely sure why it is worth 10 days of removing poison just for one fruit, but they seemed to have their reasons. Overall learning about their culture as the foundation of Australia and I am looking forward to seeing the contrast between the respect for the Tjapukai and aboriginals in Cairns compared to the culture in Melbourne and Sydney.
Friday was our day tour of the Great Barrier Reef which was awesome. In terms of the company we went used I would highly recommend them for future trips. The crew were all awesome, fun people and had fun talking with us, but they were very serious when they needed to be about safety and anything else that required their professional attention. I think they also brought us to two really good spots for snorkeling. The snorkeling was an awesome experience. The reef was really cool and all the fish and other wildlife was amazing. We were lucky enough to see a turtle, and a shark while snorkeling, both of which were really cool. I also really enjoyed the first spot we went to because where the reef ended was an endless drop off into the ocean that was both cool and terrifying to look at and swim through. Even the boat ride out and back and taking in the scenery of the mountains and the multiple rainbows was awesome and one of the best parts of the tour.
Some of the pictures I have are below, mostly of the view from the hotel and the reef tour (I somehow didn’t take any pictures at the Tjapukai village). But now, on to Melbourne!