Searching for Nemo… in Cairns!

As I mentioned in an earlier post (P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney!), my mom and I will be heading to Cairns after our Sydney adventures. Cairns (pronounced “Cans”) is a tropical city located in the northern state of Queensland. From what I hear, it’s one of the best places to don a snorkel and wetsuit, getting up close and personal with the Great Barrier Reef!

Cairns, named after Sir William Wellington Cairns, was officially founded in 1876, and the discovery of gold in the area largely contributed to the city’s development. The area had been discovered in 1770 by Captain James Cook and  his crew. Though Aborigines originally inhabited the area, the reef, channels, and mangrove swamps made the region and survival rather difficult for European settlers. During World War II, Cairns was used by the Allies as a base for operations in the Pacific, thereafter evolving into a tourist destination.

Once Mom and I arrive, Dad will be flying over to spend a few days with us. Yay!

We’ll be spending one day on a dive boat, doing 3 dives and hopefully seeing lots of amazing critters on the Great Barrier Reef. It’ll be the first time any of us has had the opportunity to dive in ocean water! We were all certified in lakes in Wisconsin, and I can’t wait to get in the salty sea and find me some cuttlefish! One of the other international students I know had the opportunity to go snorkeling in Cairns, and she happily reported she saw a few!

Our hotel has a deal with Tusa Dive, so we’ll be going on a trip with them to 3 different dive sites. They provide all of the equipment, which is awesome! It’s a bit difficult to fit boots and fins in your carry-on, plus all the clothes you need for a 2-week trip…

The trip would be even more perfect if I could find a sea turtle! Chances of seeing my beloved leatherback are pretty much nil, but I’d be satisfied finding any sort of sea turtle! I’ve been dreaming of seeing the reef ever since I first learned about it in 2nd grade (and we transformed our classroom to make a mock-flight to Australia… so fun!), and now it’s finally almost time!

Did I mention I’m super excited??? I’m assuming we’ll see lots of fish and other species too. We’ll have to see how many we recognize from Finding Nemo! Starfish, surgeonfish, clownfish, pufferfish, stingray… any and all would be awesome!

We’ll also be taking a day to explore the Daintree Rainforest. Our hotel also works with Billy Tea Safaris, and we’ll be going on their 1 Day Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation & 4wd Bloomfield Track Day Tour.

Our day begins rather early with a drive along the Coral Sea and a guided cruise on the Daintree River. We’ll be learning about the Estuarine Crocodiles, checking out the mangrove forests, and searching for other wildlife.

We then head over to Alexandra Range for a walk on the boardwalk and  find a Southern Cassowary! In all honesty, this is the major reason I chose to do this tour! I love cassowary! They’re such ancient-looking and unique birds. I’m really hoping we see one!

They’re not birds you want to mess with though. They have a rather convenient dagger-like middle claw on their three-toed feet that can be up to 5 inches long!

For those familiar with dinosaurs, they rather earily bring up images of a velociraptor… Check out those feet!

Cassowary are obviously not defenceless, but have become classified as vulnerable due to human actions. Rainforest destruction for agriculture and development, fragmented populations, increasing traffic and car accidents, and pets (attacking the young) have all become a problem for this beautiful bird.

Lync Haven is our next destination, where we’ll be able to feed kangaroos, visit “Boris the crocodile, and have lunch. Then we drive along the Bloomfield Track to Emmagen Creek where we’ll have time to explore, swim, and sample traditional Billy Tea from the Daintree Tea Plantation.

Kangaroo Feeding

Kangaroo Feeding

Afterwards, we stop at Cape Tribulation Beach before crossing the Daintree River by cable ferry and heading back to the hotel. Much of the tour is centered around visiting the National Parks, which I love!

Other than that, we’re planning on relaxing on the beach and enjoying the tropics! I’m looking forward to seeing my familia! Looking back, time has gone by pretty quickly, but it seems like forever since I’ve seen them!

With this trip planned and set, it’s time for another! I just finished booking my tour for the break during Trimester 2! It looks like I’ll be headed to the Outback in August! Stay tuned for a pre-trip report!

It’s sure to be an adventure Down Under!

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