Dense rainforest and beautiful beaches are just a small snippet of what Queensland boasts. More than 1.8 million square kilometres (715,000 square miles), the ‘Sunshine State’ is enormous. In 2011, I visited one of its most popular destinations: Cairns.
Along with Port Douglas, Cairns (pronounced ‘cans’) is an easy access point for the Great Barrier Reef. This is one of the reasons I was drawn to it. No access point to the GBR is easy – as it is a barrier reef, and thus is off of the main landmass of Australia – so I embarked on a three-hour boat ride out to the reef. The long journey by sea was well worth every minute though, as I had the privilege of enjoying one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Snorkeling in the translucent Coral Sea amongst sea turtles, schools of fish, stingrays and copious amounts of colourful coral was an extraordinary occurrence. Michaelmas Cay and Paradise Reef were stunning in every way.
On a second adventure out to the GBR, I ventured over to Fitzroy Island. A sea kayak voyage followed by even more snorkeling made for another unique adventure.
Out of the ocean and into the rainforest I went! Taking part in ‘Captain Matty’s Barefoot Tour’, I visited three waterfalls - Josephine, Millaa Millaa and Dinner - within the Atherton Tablelands, which make are a big chunk of the Daintree Rainforest. These waterfalls were breathtaking, and flowed into the ultimate swimming holes. I made the most of these! Going for a dip beneath one of the Daintree’s waterfalls made me feel like I was in a scene from a movie. It was incredible! Cascading water over slippery, ancient rocks created a natural slide, which was an authentic Australian rainforest experience.