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Posted By: Liam Kelly on 24th Nov 2012 00:51
The Australian leg of my journey marks the final stop of my WorldExplorer year. Today (24/11/12) is the one-year anniversary of me leaving South Africa. When I left South Africa one year ago I landed in a cold, snowy Washington D.C. Twelve months down the line, I now find myself in a warm, sunny, coastal city called Cairns, on the East Coast of Australia. STA Travel have booked me on a Contiki tour called Beaches and Reefs. The tour starts in Cairns and ends in sunny Sydney. One of Contiki`s many trademarks became very clear to me soon after starting the tour in Cairns. The people are awesome, the transportation is comfortable and best of all, the optional activities are top notch. I met my tour group at a hotel in Cairns at 7am. Within 1 hour we had boarded a boat and were heading toward The Great Barrier Reef for a day I will never forget. Diving into the warm, turquoise water of the Pacific Ocean and opening your eyes to the colour of the reef is spectacular. Top this off with a delicious buffet lunch, drinks on deck and you have yourself one of the best days of your life. Cairns is also home to many attractions other than The Great Barrier Reef. There is a tropical rainforest situated near Cairns. On our second day of tour, our group was given the choice between a hiking/boat trip though the rain forest, or a train and cable car journey through the same region. Due to my mild obsession with locomotives I booked into the latter option. The train itself runs on a track that is well over 100 years old. The scenic journey took us to a small town called Kuranda. Kuranda is a special little place. Here, you will find hippies perched in high trees playing oboe`s, small stores selling Kangaroo Leather products and cafes that make delicious Outback pies. One needs a little over 2 hours to fully explore Kuranda. After doing so, we hopped into a Cable Car. This wasn`t any regular cable car. This cable car took us on a 7.5km ride high above the canopy of the tropical rain forest, stopping in various places where short walks were possible. Another epic day on the east coast ended off with a pub crawl led by a wired `n wild man by the name of Snapper. Snapper took us to 4 or 5 local bars and clubs. The climax being a table top dancing bar with some good old fashioned rock `n roll. The only difficult part of saying goodbye to Cairns was sleep deprivation related. The beauty and fun times were not stopping there, as we made our way toward the Whitsunday`s. We are spending the next two nights on Day Dream Island in The Whitsunday`s! It doesn`t get much better than this!
Australia, Contiki, STA Travel, Cairns, The Great Barrier Reef