Cairns is a true Australian resort!
It is from Cairns that many boats and helicopters depart for the nearest islands and locations to dive on the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns has an airport, making it popular for the purpose of visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef. A nearby popular resort is the town of Port Douglas. Cairns itself does not have beautiful beaches, or rather they do not exist. But an hour away by speed catamaran is the first location Green Island, which already has beaches and a reef, where most tourists dive. But!!! Don't make this mistake. Green Island is the beginning of the reef and dead corals, a large number of people and slow boats floating here, with the argument that it is a walk - in fact, this is marketing and "divorce for the tourist. If you have a large amount of money, you don't need to settle in Cairns, but go straight to the reef islands, where there is accommodation, by private plane or speedboat. The most popular dive spots (according to internet reviews) on the Great Barrier Reef are Lizard, Heron, and Whitsunday Islands. Alternatively, you can settle in Cairns and buy a day tour of the Great Barrier Reef.
Cairns what to see
- Great Barrier Reef ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is a scenic tourist cableway to the village of Kuranda. The route overlooks Barron Falls. Approx. 50 c.u. per person one way.
- Kuranda Scenic Railway - Kuranda Scenic Railway with scenic views. Approximately 50 c.u. one way per person. A return stop is Barron Falls Skyrail Station.
- Cairns Botanic Gardens is a botanical garden with free admission. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Cairns Esplanade - A promenade along the waterfront in Cairns. ⭐⭐⭐
The Internet offers many tours from Cairns to Curanda, including rail and cable car tours. Prices for these tours start at 200$ per person. But in fact the railroad and cable car is 100 $ per person. The price is twice as much. Overpayment in fact goes for the fact that you book train tickets and cable car, but you can do it yourself. Also you will be taken to the train station and then back to the hotel from the cable car. But if you book a cab yourself - it will not cost more than 50 $ So if you have two people coming from Cairns by train to Kuranda, and from Kuranda back to Cairns by cable car, with two transfers by cab, it's 250$. But in that case you have to book a cab, make reservations and wait in line for the cable car. If you take the tour, you don't have to think about it, but you will have to pay from 400 dollar for two people.
How to get to the Great Barrier Reef?
- The Great Barrier Reef is 2,300 km long. Due to global warming, the corals on the reef are dying off and the closer you get to Brisbane, the grayer and duller the corals become. From Cairns and up to 2022, the best places to dive. But the water is pretty murky, lots of suspended solids in the water.
- When you choose a tour to the Great Barrier Reef pay attention first of all to the locations you are invited to visit! Green Island is the most "popular location" for unread tourists! In fact then there is a lot of negative feedback about the Australian Reef....
- When you choose a boat, look that it was necessarily fast catamaran! A boat with a transparent bottom - the marketing and no more, it floats very slowly, and all the beautiful locations are at least 1.5 hours of sailing from the shoreline. The boat, unlike a catamaran, will not be able to get close to the reef, it will require an additional transfer to a slow boat, which will lead closely to the reef.
- When choosing a tour, pay attention to the number of seats on the boat. We bought a tour that was supposed to have 75 people, but the actual number was no more than 30. The snorkeling and diving program itself is limited by the number of people. If it had been 75 ...it was very uncomfortable!!!
Great Barrier Reef tour program
- You can choose a tour at the pier in Cairns the day before departure, or you can pre-order and pay for the tour online at the website of excursions https://www.viator.com or you can directly from the company we like UPOLU CAY REEF & OUTER EDGE UPOLU REEF with "OCEAN FREEDOM". Don't confuse OCEAN FREEDOM (fast catamaran takes 1 hour to get to Upolu Reef, which is further away than Green Island...) and OCEAN FREE (slow boat sails 2 hours to Green Island).
- Departure early in the morning around 8 o'clock, tea and cookies on board. 1 hour sailing with briefing and theoretical instruction. Even a beginner with 0 experience can dive here.
- The first location is Upolu Reef. Here they divide people into groups for snorkeling and diving. Snorkeling can last about 1 hour, but no one swims that long) The dive lasts about 20 minutes, at a depth of about 2-3 meters. The dive is almost an individual dive, as the instructor dives with only 2 people at a time. When all have swum, everyone is offered a ride on a boat with a clear bottom for about 20 minutes. This is followed by a fairly hearty lunch and then a change of location, but close by in a 20 minute swim.
- At the new location "Upolu Cay Reef" on the reef everyone again divides into groups for snorkeling and a second dive can be made. After the dive, the opiats are fed with fruit and dessert. There is also a whole show - feeding the fish, including a huge barracuda! Barracuda generally swims up as soon as the boat drops anchor and she patiently waits for lunch for about 2 hours! And in general, the fish are not afraid of the catamaran, and vice versa swim to it - clearly seen that they have already fed - tame fish)
- The cost of the day tour is about 300 $ per person. The day tour lasts from 7-8 to 16 hours. It includes transportation, snorkeling, protective suit, food, mask and snorkel, fins and diving equipment. Generally, you can take a tour without diving or vice versa order two dives. Protective suit - a fabric suit, which is more protective against the sun and just touching something in the water) the suit is very thin.
- On the boat either the wind blows, or freezing air conditioning, so you need to take something insulating, and of course a large towel. The water in the Coral Sea is very warm, about 30 degrees. But the wind is quite cold. Therefore, when you got out of the water, you should immediately change into dry clothes. Sunscreen is needed only for the face, as the protective suit covers the whole body.
The Great Barrier Reef is something to see:
- Upolu Reef - beautiful corals and fish, but little other marine life.
- Upolu Cay Reef - barracuda and two man-sized turtles at 30 cm, a shark at 3 meters twice, stingrays, giant live barnacles tridacna, unusual starfish, etc.- all seen in 20 minutes of diving. But not much coral.
Diving and snorkeling what's the difference
Diving and snorkeling are not particularly different here. Depth on the reef is small and from the surface of the water can be seen all the same that while diving, but of course much closer) But by and large, if you are afraid to dive or do not want to spend money on diving, then snorkeling will be quite enough. Of the minuses on Upolu and Upolu Key reefs, the water is murky, visibility a couple of meters.
The Great Barrier Reef can be safely advised for divers. It is very beautiful, warm water all year round and still a lot of corals and other marine life.
Cairns Botanic Gardens и Cairns Esplanade convenient to visit as part of a single walk through the city of Cairns.
The best part of the promenade is near the public outdoor pool ala Cairns Esplanade Lagoon beach. There are cafes and a Ferris wheel in this region. Also located are all the boats that take tourists to the reef. Further along the arrows is the promenade for about 2.5 km - the views are dreary, especially when the tide is low. Turning left at the end of the promenade, one enters the botanical garden. The botanical garden is divided into sections, marked with ovals on the map. The upper oval is the best part of the park, but very small. Here you can walk around everything in 30 minutes. The lower oval is the rain forest with lakes. If the forest is beautiful of course, the lakes are more like a swamp. The whole walk around the embankment and botanical garden takes about 2-3 hours. There is public transportation in town, but not much and it is easier to take a cab from the botanical garden to your accommodation.
Cairns is a city of birds, there are so many here that the sound on the video is a constant reality! There are flocks of cockatoos, including all-black or white ones.
Cairns should only be visited because of its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef. So you can stay here for 3-4 days and no more. After diving on the reef is necessary to sustain 12-18, and even better 24 hours before departure by plane. It is connected with the pressure. On this necessarily warned before diving during the dive. Before a dive to refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages. And to dive must be in good shape - should not have a headache, no ears or heartache, should not be stuffy nose, etc.. Because under water any small imbalance in health, under the pressure of the water column will certainly increase. By the way, you should also be concerned about possible motion sickness on a catamaran. The boat is sailing very fast and the rocking is "not a child's") From 30 people, it was seen that people 5 pumped ...
Those who will have their first diving experience on the Great Barrier Reef will definitely have a lot of fun and positive charge)
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