Cairns and surroundings

One of my reasons to come to Australia was to dive in the Great Barrier Reef, so I got an airplane to Cairns on northern Queensland coast. The city, at this time of the year, reminded me Brazil (Salvador). It is hot and humid, and I loved. It was the rain season, so there is a bit of rain almost every day and, at the same time, there is bright sunlight everyday too, like tropical Brazil.

Cairns seemed a calm tourist town but with a lot of activities: diving, rafting, ballooning, national parks, islands, crocodile watch, skytravel… There were so many options it was hard to choose one. First I wanted to get a sense of the place, see the town, so I waked a lot around the port, the marina, the esplanade. Then, I rented a bicycle (actually, I borrowed from Stephen’s friend on Gilligan’s) and went on a bike trip around town. It was a bit rainy but good to get a broader view of the city.

After that, I spent some time relaxing on the city Esplanade Lagoon. It is a salt water swimming pool on city center, by the bay, beautiful. One thing that caught my attention here is how organized is everything, the lagoon area had live guards all the time, they would take everybody out if there was a slightest chance of a thunderstorm. There were open-air lockers for people to leave their bags. And on esplanade area here were many BBQ places with nice tables. Late afternoon it got crowded with families and group of friends doing their barbecue. It looked like summer, like vacation.

Next day I decided to do a tour on Green Island, one of the biggest tourist attractions out of Cairns.  The island is very small, approaching with the boat looks like fantasyland, and once we step on it, yes, it is fantasyland, a ruled fantasyland. Everything is all perfectly organized, the paths are very neat, the trees have tags, there are beautiful designed boards explaining the nature in the island, the beaches are gorgeous, the water is light transparent green… However, there are “do” and “don’t” everywhere. You “do” have to walk only on paths, “don’t” wander around, “do” swim between the red and yellow flag, “do” use lycra suits to protect from jellyfish…

Green Island was perfectly beautiful and ruled, looked like Disneyland. I was expecting to see the back stage where they were controlling the entire scenery. Even the way they scare you about the jellyfish it seemed a way to “add” some adventure on it, some “spice” on paradise, so you can feel adventurous… The guy told me: “wear the lycra suit because if you get stung we have to call a helicopter and in 10 minutes you have to be in a hospital.” Being or nor fantasyland, being or not dangerous, Green Island is very pleasant, the walk on the forest is gorgeous and the snorkeling too. I recommend people to get the 8.30am boat, so the island is not crowed for the walk, and it is better way to enjoy the environment. Around noon it gets more crowed, and it is a good time to enjoy lunch in one of their restaurants or a picnic under the shade.

After these relaxing days in Cairns, it was time to depart to my live-aboard dive trip.

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