Ever wondered how is it to snorkel and/or scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef? Believe me, it is one of the most wonderful experience! To dive in one of the Seven Wonders of the World; and the most beautiful natural wonder is something one should not miss when in Australia. Your trip to Australia is incomplete without a trip to the Great Barrier Reef.
I visited Cairns on my solo trip to Australia with one of my friends. We booked our budget reef package with the Compass Cruise for the most adventurous day in Cairns. And were put up in the Jack Backpackers. Our hostel was about a five minute walk from the Reef Fleet Terminal, where the Marlin Jetty is based out of. Many of the tour operators use Marlin Jetty as their base for pick up and drop off for their tourists. This place is too good for a stroll too!
Both of us were non-swimmers and we were all butterflies until the time we were in water. Dressed in stinger suit, to stay safe from the stingers, we were now ready to step in water for the first time. Since we were non-swimmers, the crew members were very kind to take us throughout the stroll in water to witness the mesmerizing corals and fishes. While my friend opted for snorkelling, I tried my hands at diving (introductory dive) too!! The crew members were very knowledgeable and introduces to the equipments to be used in water. This was one experience I would never like to forget, especially when I have never done this before!
One needs to know at least the basic swimming and a fairly good amount of fitness coz swimming can make one tired. The sea life is incredible to look at. There are plenty of creatures and one may see different species according to the seasons. The reef is a home to variety of fishes and other sea creatures. I was lucky to spot the clownfish, butterflyfish, angelfish and the little nemo. There were many to add to the list! So, there is actually no best season as such. You can snorkel/dive throughout the year. Exploring what is under the water is such a magical experience. We just didn’t want to get out of the water. And there is boom netting added to the adventurous trip. A large net is attached to the rear of the boat. Divers are dragged through the waters at a fast pace. This activity definitely adds to the fun element.
I would recommend everyone at least to try snorkelling even if you are a non-swimmer. And for those who do not enjoy both, you can book a glass bottom boat tour to see the reef without getting wet.
So, remove the fear, and enjoy what you have never done before !! Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara!! After all, Live life king size !!
On the next day, we started our journey to explore the Kuranda village. One of the most scenic and unique experience was the train journey to Kuranda. We boarded the train from Freshwater Railway Station to reach our ultimate destination. Enroute, one will encounter scenic views of ravines, gushing waterfalls and the stunning Barron Gorge.
To fly over the the Kuranda Rainforest Cableway was a breathtaking experience with rains pouring heavily, we were awestruck. The Cableway ride takes you through the thick rainforest and one can capture the best moments over the pristine rainforest, just meters above the forest canopy. We also explored the rainforest on a on a 6-wheel-drive World War II Army Duck amphibious vehicle, over land and water. The driver takes you through the wild side of the forest and talks about the various species of plants and trees in the surroundings.
One can also try exotic fruits in the Tropical Treats Fruit Orchard. Not to miss is the Koala & Wildlife Park, where one can get close with some of the Australian endemic species like Koala, Wombats, Tasmanian Devil, Birds & Lizards which are not found in India. You can also feed the Kangaroos and the Wallabies.
We walked around the village to learn about Aboriginal culture. The Aborigines showed us their boomerang throwing skills and traditional folk hand. You can also try your hands in throwing boomerangs.
Not just that, there is also a Butterfly Sanctuary showcasing different varities of butterflies and if you are still not done, then explore the Kuranda market to buy the souvenirs of your choice.
So, add two more days of your itinerary in your trip to Australia if you are planning one and explore the unexplored !