As soon as I stepped out of the airport at Cairns, I knew it was my kind of city. The perfectly humid tropical climate, significantly smaller population than Sydney, palm trees, and friendlier people were to my liking. I had made arrangements before I left to stay at the Gilligan’s Island hostel, which was an adventure in itself.
Gilligan’s Island included free meals and a vast array of entertainment included a night of bikini clad women from various countries facing off in jello wrestling matches, and a night of what Australians refer to as “Bogan Bingo.” Bogan is basically slang in Australia for redneck or hillbilly and is basically just MUCH more entertaining Bingo. There is a live DJ the entire evening, and people who get Bingos go up on stage to spin a wheel where they either win a prize or have to do something embarrassing like air guitar. It’s so wildly amusing I am not sure how it hasn’t been adopted in the states yet!
I went on a tour in Cairns called Uncle Brian’s Fun, Falls, and Forest Tour that I would highly recommend to anyone with an outgoing nature seeking a unique adventure. Shy people need not apply! Hopping aboard “Gus the Wonder Bus” I was immediately welcomed by an extremely friendly staff who encouraged me to meet my new friends (strangers) that would be going on the trip with me. You wave to just about everyone that you encounter, sing songs and play games together almost the entire trip, and are even given a historic lesson about Cairns while splashing around in waterfalls you find along the way, such as Millaa Millaa Falls shown below. Millaa Millaa Falls is FREEZING, but you are able to go underneath and behind it, so it’s a riot! Uncle Brian’s Tour was certainly a highlight of my Cairns visit and I had a blast!
The next day I was ready to conquer scuba diving at the AMAZING, colorful, and infamous Great Barrier Reef! Keep in mind when I say ready, I mean I was as equally frightened to the core as I was excited. I am a claustrophobic person that had barely mastered snorkeling on this visit. That being said, I booked my scuba diving expedition with one of many boats offering a scuba reef experience and I was ready to go! In order to be able to scuba dive, instructors were required by law to give us an hour lesson on safety techniques and procedures that we’d be using throughout our dive. Every minute that passed seemed to make my heart beat faster. What was I getting myself into? Okay Bobbi, remember that a thumbs up hand signal means I want to come up out of the water, not that I’m ok. I can do this.
As I made my first attempt to dive under the water I immediately panicked and came back up. My guide, who I was linked arms with and who also had another person on his other arm, is puzzled and asks why. “I’m sorry I just panicked.” I said. We tried again and I successfully managed to stay under the water the entire time! I’m so grateful that I did, but I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy. For every thought I had of how breathtaking the reef was, I had another thought of just trying to breathe! In retrospect though, it was an incredible experience that I’d do again in a heartbeat. I may not have abolished my claustrophobic fears, but I at least put them at bay for a while.
Have you been scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef or somewhere else? What was your experience like? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or share with someone if you so feel inclined! 🙂