Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter Escape 2012: Cairns, Australia

We touched down in Cairns on January 12th. It was hot and extremely humid putting us outside our comfort zone. We lost a day. It took us almost forty-eight hours to catch up with much needed sleep as well a adjusting to time differences and being ahead of everyone we know in other parts of the world. 

The Cairns Esplanade

Cairns is a bustling holiday town. The Cairns Esplanade overlooking the Pacific Ocean is a beautifully landscaped pathway for walkers and people on a variety of wheels.

View of the Ocean Floor from the Submarine-Glass Bottom Boat

By the third day we are ready to tackle the Great Barrier Reef. It is an area of approximately 1500 km that stretches south towards the town of Bunderberg and is made up of many, many reefs. We take the 75-minute ferry to the popular Green Island Reef.

Once there, Tim snorkels from the beach as he flippers his way towards the platoon where he gets to swim with the schools of fish and observe the coral life. While I view the reef through the submarine-glass bottom boat. The picture on the right tells the story! We both concluded tht the Hawaiian reefs are much more colourfully bright.

It is now time to pick up the car and give it a try--driving on the wrong side of the road and coping with the rotaries at every intersection. "Susie," our GPS navigator, guides us along our road trip. We drive north along Captain Cook Highway that meanders in all kinds of curves including three or four switchback curves for the first 10km and then onto open highway into the Tablelands of Tropical Queensland. 

We stop at the Golden Drop Mango Winery--a 300-acre mango farm. At the far end is the distillery that produces mango wines and mango liqueur. Mango wine tasting is a completely different taste experience. The owner hands us a few mangoes for us to enjoy at our leisure. They are deliciously juicy and succulent as is expected of ripe mangoes picked from the tree. At the end of our five-night stay in Cairns, we get on the road again heading south towards Airlie Beach, Bunderberg with a four-day stop over in Brisbane.

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