Jewel of queensland
As I stepped off the plane at Cairns and noticed the backdrop of lush green hills, I was immediately reminded of Phuket, Thailand. How had I never been here, I wondered? I had this absolute gem right in my backyard. However, I wasn’t staying in Cairns — I was heading an hour north, to Port Douglas.
Colloquially known as Port, I hit the town on Saturday night, and was pleasantly surprised by the mixture of people I met.
This small town of just over 3000 people attracts people from across the world, all of whom have their own — and often very interesting — story.
People complained how cold the night was at 23 degrees, and all I could do was laugh and think of Toowoomba.
The next day brought something I was very much looking forward to — visiting the Great Barrier Reef. Believe me when I tell you, it is truly something you can’t miss. Being one of the seven natural wonders of the world, it is bigger than the Great Wall of China and is the only living thing on earth visible from space.
As I went out on the reef with the team from Quicksilver Cruises, I had no idea what I was in for.
I’ve snorkelled in some beautiful parts of the world, but to be completely honest — nothing compares to the Great Barrier Reef.
Upon slipping into the crystal blue water, my eyes were hit by flashes of every colour under the rainbow.
Incredible coral was abundant, with brilliantly coloured fish slipping in and out of it, coming presumptuously close.
A few green sea turtles came past at their leisure, and I was completely taken aback — I had never seen them in their natural environment, and it was spectacular.
After doing some ocean-walking, I went out to a helipad to take a joy flight over the reef.
Now, after going up in the chopper I realised that there may be plenty of beautiful pictures of the Great Barrier Reef, but absolutely nothing — and I mean nothing — will ever do it justice besides seeing it with your own eyes. The jade and sapphire shades of the water glinted in my eyes. I held my breath, hoping to capture the moment for longer. Coral reefs and ‘bommies’ were visible, and sparkling white sand glowed on the islands further off.
I was very sad to see the reef gone for the day, but my trip was not over — I was headed to Mossman Gorge.
Surrounded by beautiful, tall trees and farming land, the Mossman Gorge is truly spectacular.
Following my friend along a dirt path scattered with rocks and logs, I hiked up and down, loving the beautiful green surrounds that encapsulated me. By the time we reached our destination, I was blown away. I could could see the sand at the bottom of the freshwater gorge, through the clear water running through.
The beautiful big rocks, shaped over centuries of water, sat strong in the gorge.
I clambered across them (or at least tried to), taking in the tranquility and revelling in the Daintree region. My advice? Book your flights to Cairns ladies and gents.