There are so many wonderful and different dives to do off the coast of Cairns that it would take you weeks to see them all. All the sites are accessed by boat and some are three hours journey from the coast so to really get the best out of your diving then a liveaboard trip is a great option. You can get all different types from budget to luxury and you can dive up to five times a day, packing in as much diving as possible. Courses are available on the boat but it’s good to do your theory before you go so you can get the most out of the diving. Dive boats will also take snorkelers, making this a great getaway for couples where only one person dives.
There are about 25 dive centres dotted around Cairns city, almost all of them offer liveaboard trips but research the centres carefully before you go to make sure you get the best company for you. Prices for diving vary considerably so shop around for the best deal.
There are so many different species of sea life on the Great Barrier Reef. Marine fish are in abundance with about 1500 different types, 360 species of hard coral, over 5000 different molluscs, 17 types of sea snakes, 1500 species of sponges, 30 species of whales and dolphins and 6 different types of marine turtles so you’re sure to see some amazing things on your dive. You might even see a fresh water crocodile if you’re very lucky.
The dives to check out are the Pellowe Reef which is a great wall dive with a nice swim through. Currents are sometimes strong but with currents come rich waters and you can see some big schools of fish such as the chevron barracuda. There are some nice dive sites on the Milln Reef such as Petaj, Swimming Pools 1, Rainbow, The Whale and Three Sisters. The reef offers some nice wall diving and swim throughs and it’s a great place for a night dive.
Thetford Reef has many different corals and loads of fish such as the butterfly fish, many types of angelfish, damsels and the giant clam. Cathedral and Blue Lagoon are two great sites on this reef. Flynn Reef is great for all levels of divers and the sites Tracy’s Bommie, Gordon’s Mooring, Tennis Court and Coral Gardens are the best here.
Currents and visibility on the outer reef can be greatly affected by the weather and the summer months are the best time to dive. DO NOT swim without a stinger suit in the jelly fish season as this can be very painful and will ruin your holiday.
(By Kelly Luckman)
Cairns used to be a quiet coastal town but is now a very popular tourist destination as it is a good base to explore two of the most amazing places on the planet; the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, both of which are World Heritage Listed. This is the only place in the world where two World Heritage sites are next to each other.
When the international airport came to Cairns, so did all the tourists. The city is connected with direct flights to Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore so it’s easy to get there from anywhere in world. You can catch a bus along the east coast but the country is huge so the journeys are long and it’s usually almost the same price to catch a domestic flight.
Accommodation ranges dramatically, from $15 a night for a dorm bed in a hostel or $40 for a double room in a lodge to $150 for a 5 star resort. If you want to be where the action is, make sure that your accommodation is in the city. For an extra special sleeping experience, head to the Daintree Rainforest and stay in a tree house or eco lodge.
There are some amazing things to do in the surrounding areas, you can spend weeks exploring but be sure to have a good budget as activities can be quite expensive and most day tours are over $100 per person. The most popular attraction is the Great Barrier Reef, and for good reason. It is one of the best places in the world for diving and snorkelling and taking a boat cruise to explore the reef is a must.
You can go fishing, sailing, white water rafting, horse riding, bungy jumping, sky diving, para sailing, hand gliding, hot air ballooning, hiking and pretty much any activity that tickles your fancy. The best trip would have to be to the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation which can be done in one day but it’s best to spend a few relaxing days in the area to really appreciate its beauty. To experience the Australian culture, an Aboriginal cultural tour is the way to go.
You will surely be dazzled by the magic that Cairns has to offer and might find yourself spending a few extra days here to really take it all in.
(By Kelly Luckman)