At 5am, in Darwin airport, we met up with Elena and became a group of 4, travelling the East Coast. We all had the same flight to Cairns and booked a hostel while we were waiting around so that we got a free airport pick up.
Cairns is a pretty nice place, I don't really think that there's too much there and it looked exactly the same as Darwin.
We spent the first day walking down the esplanade, where there were loads of 'beware of the crocs' signs despite there not being water for a good 100m, where you expected the water to be, it was just mud. We tried to take advantage of the 'free dinner' our hostel was offering but we had to get a bus over to a different hostel and buy a drink to get it! We went anyway but were all very disappointed with the child's portion we got given so walked back to our place and made some more food!
The next day we were up incredibly early for our trip to the Great Barrier Reef. We spent the day on a boat and visited 2 reefs. At the first one, Grace, Charlie and Elena all did an introductory dive while I tried to psych myself up to go in the water. After an hour of being the only person left on the boat and debating with myself whether or not to go in, I finally got changed and grabbed my snorkelling gear. So, I was only in the water for 10 minutes and I was holding onto a ring (which made it look like I couldn't swim) and I had a guide with me BUT the point is, for 10 minutes, I was less than 50cm away from fish, with no protection and only hyperventilated a couple of times. Under the water is like a completely different world. The coral and stuff looks awesome, but due to the cyclone a few months ago, a lot of it is still trying to regain its bright colours. At the moment it all just looks a bit brownish. As I was with a guide, I got shown all the cool stuff like families of Clown fish and a couple of giant clams. I came out of the water absolutely knackered as I couldn't let my legs be still for fear of a fish coming too close.
It was then lunchtime when we got a brilliant buffet lunch, I couldn't go for seconds though as I started to feel a bit sea sick. At the second reef, Charlie and Grace got to do a second dive while me and Elena went on a glass bottomed boat. After our short trip, Elena went snorkelling and I watched from the top deck, I felt that I'd had enough close encounters with fish for one day. On the way back there was various entertainment going on which I slept through.
That night we had our first goon bag in Australia and sat playing cards with some Frenchmen before heading out to the only place in Cairns without an entry fee!
Although we checked out of the hostel at 10am, we still spent the entire day using their facilities. We sat by the lagoon for most of the day and had a bbq in the park. We met Elena's friend for a couple of drinks and then had to get our bus at midnight to Airley Beach and start our journey south.