Cairns has been so unbelievable. We were lucky enough that a friend of Rachel’s from Whistler agreed to take us in for our duration here. This lovely li’l lady by the name of Kristy, picked us up from the airport after our 30 hours of airtime which was great because we were “knackered” (as the Aussies say). Kristy and her precious pup Poppi let us crash for a few hours and catch up on some sleep as we had a special adventure for the following morning.
The next day Kristy, Rachel and I spent the day chasing waterfalls all over Cairns. We went to 5 all together and they were so beautiful! Also because they were freshwater, there was no risk of crocs or sharks so we bought some cute little donut floaties and bobbed around at the bottom of a few of them to cool off (we went from a chilly 9 degrees in Paris to a nice steamy 39 degrees).
The next day Kristy dropped Rachel and I off at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure which was basically like an interactive zoo with all the token Australian wildlife. We saw kangaroos, wombats, cassowaries, wallabies, snakes, kualas (MY FAV – so snuggely), and of course the Kings of the creeks – crocodiles. It was quite funny because coming to Australia I was mostly concerned about the large bugs and spiders – I totally forgot about the crocs! We learned that these little saltwater snappers are in pretty much every body of water in Cairns other than fresh waterholes…. So no, there would be no skinny dipping on this part of our trip 😉
After we had scoured the park we were picked up by some other folks Rach made friends with in Whistler who invited us to go camping with them in Cape Tribulation. This was by far one of the COOLEST experiences ever. We camped about 150m from this stunning sandy beach with a big group of really cool people. It was honestly like I walked into Jurassic Park – so much rainforest!
On the way in to the site we drove past some wild cassowaries (super rare to see this wild bird). We drank some beers and had a big fire on the beach and just chilled until an older gentleman walked up the beach to tell us we were being watched. Immediately I though who is watching us as my eyes searched the beach line. Silly Nicole. It wasn’t a WHO it was a WHAT. A sneaky old croc was floating out in the water stalking us as we roasted our marshmallows. Well that was enough to freak me out as I had spent most of the morning watching crocs eat chicken heads and feet. We thanked the gentleman and a few curious Georges in our group went into the water – about ankle deep – to get a better look saying that they are usually warned about the crocs but rarely actually see them. I stayed on the shore and watched as I continued to replay the crocodile feedings that I witnessed earlier and hoped that the croc wouldn’t make a meal of my new friends. Instead, something really cool actually happened! One of our new friends reached into the water and caught a BABY SHARK with his bare hands. Then something cooler happened. Another new friend reached in the water about 5 minutes later and caught a BABY CROCODILE with his bare hands. This I was informed, never happens. SO COOL. I actually pet the croc and then it was put back in the water to go back to his momma. Thankfully no other crocs came in contact with us.
One last little treasure of the camping trip, Rachel and I woke up at 5:30 in the morning to catch the sunrise.. bottle-it-up moment for sure. The colourful show the sun put on for us was truly beautiful and incredibly peaceful as no one else really was on the beach.
On our fourth day Rache and I were quite exhausted so we let ourselves sleep in and then took a bus to Palm Cove to drink some coffee, snag some wifi to check in with our people, and enjoy the beautiful sunshine and beach.
Our fifth day was our Cairns splurge and a must of the trip- a visit to the Great Barrier Reef complete with snorkelling, a beautiful hike to the summit Fitzroy Island, and some good ol’ vitamin D. I did not find Nemos or Dorys but I did have a chance to explore the reef and see tons of cool and colourful fish. And no sharks or stingrays or jellyfish or crocodiles or killer eels – basically I never felt like my life was at stake. Hurrah!
In the evening Kristy took us with her to meet up with her friend to see the super moon. We hiked up (in the dark) to this amazing view and watched the big red super moon come up. Post-moon hike we grabbed some of the best Thai food and watched a movie.
I can’t say enough about Cairns. It’s truly beautiful in a way that I haven’t experienced elsewhere. The blues of the water and the greens of the rainforest are simply stunning. Feeling incredibly lucky and fulfilled today. Rach and I are currently back in the Cairns airport and headed to Brisbane for the next couple of days.
Sending love from the land of Oz! ❤️