Part II of II – exploring Cairns’ waters
On the second free day from the conference, I explored the waters around Cairns, including the must-see Great Barrier Reef. The waters directly around the city itself are too dangerous to swim in (think Sharks, Crocs etc.) so there is a man-made promenade beach on land, right by the ocean, which looks like they join on from afar.
The ocean and pool is separated by a long pedestrian stretch, which was stunning to walk along at dusk and dawn.
Great Barrier Reef
To actually be able to go out on the reef, there are numerous companies that guide you and set out a full day for you to be able to go and enjoy the ocean. I went with the company Great Adventures, purely on the convenience that the conference gave us a 10% discount, and that it looked great on the leaflet :p
Because I had travelled for almost three full days to get here from London, and I wasn’t sure if I’d ever have the opportunity to come back, I went full out for the Green Island and Outer reef option, which was the priciest package, but 100% worth it. If you’re travelling, especially from afar, I would definitely recommend not holding back on this.
Unfortunately, I was not able to take any pictures on the outer pontoon or of the actual snorkelling, but it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. A few reef sharks swam past, and while on this vast man made pontoon, you couldn’t see anything at all on the horizon except the ocean. An extremely unique viewpoint, and we even saw a few whales. Snorkelling is more than enough to be able to explore the reef, and we were left to swim around (it was freezing cold) for around 3 hours, while on the deck a hot buffet was served for lunch.
The journey to Green Island is less than an hour, but from there to the outer pontoon was over an hour long, and although they gave out herbal anti-sickness tablets, there were more than a few accidents around! Luckily, a friend had warned me and I had brought my own medication from London, bought in a pharmacy which I knew worked well. So if you get travel sickness, medication is a MUST. The ocean out there is brutal!
We first were dropped off at Green Island, which is located in the inner reef. This island was absolutely stunning, and we enjoyed the actual land itself, as well as snorkelling around in the many beaches it offers. The snorkelling was not as good as in the outer reef – there were a lot of bleached coral and not a lot of aquatic life which was heartbreaking to see.
However, it was still more than enjoyable enough, and because we were here before the outer reef snorkel, it seemed more than amazing at the time. The waters here are so shallow that the snorkelling can be enjoyed even by those unable to swim, or for children and family looking for something more than a day at the beach.
The journey back to Cairns took over 2 hours, and the waters at this point in the afternoon was much rougher than on the way there, but still very enjoyable and we had a much needed nap after an exciting day. As my last free day in Cairns before the end of the conference, it was the perfect way to remember the city. If anyone has any tips/memories of their trips please share!
I hope that we can preserve the environment and look after our oceans so that future generations can enjoy this incredible reef for years to come.
Goodbye Cairns – its been a blast.