Imagine palm trees, blue lagoons, intense heat, and relatively dead streets... and there you have; Cairns.
The city centre in Cairns is quite small, you can pretty much do the whole thing in a couple of hours (My friend LW and I completed it in one).
The city has lots of places to eat, a reasonable sized shopping centre and an abundance of quirky characters that are drinking pints from 10 am. (These characters have nothing on those from Canberra though; they will always hold a special place in my heart haha)
If you visit Cairns just for some chill out/holiday time then great, you're sorted. However, if you plan to explore and do some crazy stuff then be prepared to spend some money.
I decided to book 3 excursions in a package deal; snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, Skydiving and a hike through the rainforest.
Snorkeling on The Great Barrier Reef:
In order to get to the Reef you need to jump onto a boat for 2 hours before you can even say "Finding Nemo". But it is completely worth it as the views and sea life around the coral are just spectacular. There are fish that live around the coral that will take your breath away; fish that look like they have been spraypainted in bright neon colours, darker fish, and almost transparent ones. The experience was truly out of this world and I strongly recommend doing this activity.
Please do be aware that there is a strong possibility that you will run into a jellyfish (I did) just make sure that you're wearing a sting proof wetsuit (available for hire) and move out of it's way.
And if you want a little more adventure , try scuba diving. Either way you'll enjoy it.
Now, where do I start? Jumping out of a plane 14,000ft in the air is not everyone's cup of tea, but good golly is it worth it. The sensation of free falling whilst looking at the landscape and horizon beneath you is truly surreal. I can't think of a single negative about this excursion as it was just such an amazing experience. I would definitely do it again!
The hikes themselves are pretty cool except that it's quite touristy and you're walking on a man made path (in order to stop you from trampling the forest life whilst also preventing your death due to the snakes that live there)
However there are some cool lakes that you should swim in such as the Babinda Boulders, Josephine Falls where you can 'rock slide', and Millaa Millaa Falls (where they shot the Herbal Essences advert and Peter Andre's "Mysterious Girl") Honestly, you won't be disappointed .
Other things to do:
Definitely stroll the city
Go to the Lagoon for a swim
Walk along the Esplanade
Visit Rusty's market on Grafton St for some bargain fruit and veg
Explore the Night Market
The Woolshed (bar, grill and nightclub) *be warned that this place is insane and they allow the patrons to dance on the tables.. in fact it's encouraged *