Cairns--March 2-7, 2006

Great Barrier Reef

Our next stop on our tour of Oz was to Cairns. Now for those of you who have never been to Cairns before, the pronunciation of the city name is a tough one. They don't really say the "i" or the "r" and it sort of comes out like "cans." Definitely took some getting used to.

Cairns is in the northeastern part of the country and is the place to go to see the Great Barrier Reef. We took a bus up to Port Douglas, about an hour north of Cairns and then took the Quicksilver Catamaran speed boat out to the reef. The trip took about 1 1/2 hours and we eventually came to a remote section of the reef where there is a platform permanently anchored out there. The boat pulled up alongside the platform and they offered every imaginable way to spend your money and see some fish. I did some snorkeling and my parents took a semi submersible boat out to see the reef and all the little fishes. The platform made it really easy to snorkel. You actually got in the water with all your gear, sat on a submerged bench then put on your fins, mask, etc and off you went.

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Visit to the Rainforest

The next day we took the Kuranda Scenic Railway Train to the city of Kuranda, which is in the heart of the rainforest. The train goes through 15 tunnels and over 36 bridges and slowly winds its way to the top.

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Skyway Cableway

On the way back from Kuranda we took the Skyway Cableway... one of the longest cable cars in the world at 7.5km long and we got to see the amazing views of the dense rainforest from the top of the trees.

That afternoon we went to the Tjapukai Park which is a cultural center for learning more about the Aboriginal people of Australia. There was a short presentation and we had the opportunity to throw a spear and a boomerang (neither of which did I do very well!)

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Back on my own

My parents left me after 9 days (thanks Mom and Dad for everything!). I was no longer on their purse string so I went back to my backpacker ways and stayed in Cairns a couple more nights at the Cairns Hostel instead of the Cairns Hilton!

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