De­light­ful hol­i­day desti­na­tion

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MATTA FAIR -

THE re­sort city of Cairns, lo­cated in the north- east­ern part of Aus­tralia, is best known as the gate­way to Aus­tralia’s Great Bar­rier Reef.

Cairns is a hol­i­day par­adise wait­ing to be dis­cov­ered.

The Great Bar­rier Reef

Like the splen­did Taj Ma­hal of In­dia and im­pos­ing Great Wall of China, the Great Bar­rier Reef is a must- see in Aus­tralia.

No visit Down Un­der is com­plete with­out mak­ing a pil­grim­age to see the world’s largest liv­ing or­gan­ism, which hap­pens to be the only liv­ing struc­ture vis­i­ble from space.

Think crys­tal- clear wa­ters, sunny weather al­most all year round and an amaz­ing ar­ray of marine life. Stretch­ing more than 2,000km, the Great Bar­rier Reef com­prises some 3,400 co­ral reefs, 1,500 species of fish and 400 types of co­rals – truly breath­tak­ing.

The best thing is, you can get up close with the schools of bluefinned yel­low­tails, co­ral trout and more, even if you don’t know how to swim.

Here’s how:

> Take to the air to get a com­plete grasp of the sheer mag­ni­tude of the Great Bar­rier Reef.

Ex­pe­ri­ence that once in a life­time he­li­copter flight, over the sparkling sap­phire blue wa­ters of the Great Bar­rier Reef.

The view is noth­ing short of spec­tac­u­lar ( www. gbrhe­li­copters. com. au).

> Book a full day reef cruise to the Outer Bar­rier Reef

and hop on a glass- bot­tom boat or semi- sub­mersible. The semi- sub is like a sub­ma­rine, giv­ing you a diver’s view of the reef – al­beit in air- con­di­tioned com­fort ( http:// www. greatad­ven­tures. com. au).

Don a spe­cial hel­met and walk along a plat­form among the marine life. No ex­pe­ri­ence is needed, and be­cause you walk on the smooth, clean sand of the sea floor, it’s per­fect for non- swim­mers ( www. seawalker. com. au).

> Do the Seawalker:

Jet Snorkelling is the lat­est at­trac­tion on the Great Bar­rier Reef and the coolest way to ex­plore the reef.

> Ride on a Se­abob Jet:

Ad­ven­ture for thrill seek­ers

Cairns is widely known as the ad­ven­ture cap­i­tal of Aus­tralia, with a stag­ger­ing range of ad­ven­ture trips:

Cairns is a Mecca for white- wa­ter raft­ing.

The Tully River is known as the world’s best one- day raft­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with 44 ex­hil­a­rat­ing rapids along its course.

It is a fun and unique way to ex­pe­ri­ence the world- her­itage Cape Tribu­la­tions Dain­tree Rain­for­est.

Zoom through the trees on fly­ing fox zip lines, stop­ping at five plat­forms with bird’s- eye views over the tree­tops, down to cas­cad­ing streams and out to the Great Bar­rier Reef. Its suit­able for young and old alike.

Imag­ine the thrill of freefalling a full 60 sec­onds from 14,000ft with noth­ing but a para­chute at­tached to your back.

Throw in spec­tac­u­lar views of the Great Bar­rier Reef and the Dain­tree Rain­for­est World Her­itage Area and it’s not hard to see why sky­div­ing in Cairns is a cut above the rest.

> Whiter wa­ter raft­ing:

> Jun­gle surf­ing:

> Sky­div­ing:

> Bal­loon­ing:

If there’s any­thing worth drag­ging your­self out of bed at 4am for, it’s hot air bal­loon­ing. Ro­man­tic, scenic, loads of fun – it is all th­ese and more.

Fam­ily fun ex­pe­ri­ences

For a fun get­away with your fam­ily, there are var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties that await:

> Swim in the Cairns’ Es­planade’s huge open air la­goon pool,

right on The Cairns Es­planade, with glo­ri­ous views out to sea – and best of all, it’s free.

> Cairns Wildlife Dome and ZOOM

is an all- weather wildlife ex­hibit lo­cated in the heart of the city. It is home to the world’s first Chal­lenge Ropes Course in a wildlife im­mer­sion ex­hibit, with over 50 el­e­ments of cross­ings and zi­plines, in­clud­ing one which takes par­tic­i­pants di­rectly over the top of Go­liath, its res­i­dent 4m salt­wa­ter crocodile.

> Hart­ley’s Crocodile Ad­ven­tures

– Get your cam­era ready for the crocodile feed­ing time, when the huge rep­tile leaps into the air to catch its food on a pole.

This award- win­ning eco- tourism at­trac­tion prom­ises a na­ture- based, yet en­ter­tain­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

> A short 45 min­utes by cruise from Cairns is Fitzroy Is­land,

per­fect for fam­i­lies with its calm shel­tered wa­ters and kids can learn to snorkel right off the beach.

Glass bot­tom boat tours, guided walks, ocean tram­po­line, kayaks and stand- up pad­dle board­ing tours are avail­able on the is­land.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www. queens­land. com.

cairns Wildlife dome and ZOOM is an all- weather wildlife ex­hibit lo­cated in the heart of the city.

do the seawalker – don a spe­cial hel­met and walk along a plat­form among the marine life.

Get your cam­era ready for the crocodile feed­ing time, when the huge rep­tile leaps into the air to catch food on a pole.

White wa­ter raft­ing is a must- do in cairns. — Photo cour­tesy of Tourism and Events Queens­land

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