As I get ready to leave to a vacation, I get pretty sulky. I am a creature of habit so transitions of any kind frazzle me. This happens to me even on trips with multiple city stops. We had a short but very memorable time in Melbourne – loved the buzz of the city, loved the food (oh the food – especially at Chin Chin <3 ) and before we could get settled in it was time to leave on our day long journey to Cairns. (Melbourne and Cairns at opposite ends of Australia). Cairns had just been through some terrible weather so we were apprehensive about whether our plans to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef would work out. Thankfully, the weather Gods obliged and made way for some wonderful memories.
Great Barrier Reef – Up Close
Since we’re novice swimmers who still need some handholding we preferred to take a smaller tour for our snorkeling trip. The crew aboard “Ocean Free” was warm and friendly. The weather was perfect and our guide Sean was patient and let everyone take their time getting into the water. (This was such a difference from our experience in Maldives where everyone was just expected to jump into the water when demanded to). I took his help to get situated in the water and then explored around on my own. The water was so calm it felt like swimming in a pool – only way prettier. 🙂 We took a break for lunch and hung out beach side on Green Island, one of the many tiny islands located within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. We were given a choice to come back for a second round of snorkeling which PK and I obviously did not want to miss. We got back to see that from an entire boat of people only us and another couple (a really cool couple well in their 70s, might I add) had returned for another round. This time, PK and I took off on our own and we saw, among many other awesome things, a turtle swim it’s way to the water surface in slow, gentle strokes. What a sight! This was the first time we truly savored our snorkeling experience and I’m glad we picked a small group.
Scenic Railway to Kuranda
The next morning, we took the scenic railway to the village of Kuranda. Train travel makes me nostalgic having done a lot of it in my childhood on the Indian railways. I love an opportunity to hop on a train especially on a scenic route (FYI – The CTA in Chicago does not evoke any such excitement). The train makes its way to Kuranda through tropical mountain ranges. The view was breathtaking.
Kuranda and Back in Style
The village of Kuranda in itself was not as exciting as the trip up there and back. We checked out a butterfly garden, PK got a picture holding a Koala (I politely declined – I am one tiny person and if the Koala went rogue on me I bet it would win) and we grabbed some lunch. We decided to head back on the skyrail over the rainforests. The trip included 2 stops where they offered guided walks through the rainforests. We were alone in our “gondola” which came with a glass floor. The experience was unforgettable. The lush forests, a peek of the Coral sea and looking through the glass floor to catch a wild kangaroo hopping around – What a way to end our trip.
My next post – some more books that I’ve loved lately!