So normally on 30 Dates, each week I try to suggest new date ideas in London – whether it’s a first date, or your sixty-first date!
However, as I’ve been spending six weeks down under, I’ve decided to showcase some fun ideas in the various towns and cities I visited along the way.
Cairns is NOT a romantic town. It is not a beautiful town, or a cultural town! It is full of travel agents, backpacker hostels and bars.
But what Cairns is, is a gateway to some incredible adventures! Based towards the north of the Australian East Coast, it’s the most popular springboard to the Great Barrier Reef, and a central point for numerous other adventurous activities. With that in mind, this week I’m not doing Date Ideas for Cairns. (Because personally I wouldn’t want to go on a ‘date’ in Cairns). What it is great for though, is some once in a lifetime opportunities, to share with the one you love! Or at least the one you met the night before in the backpacker hostel!
If you hold a diving certificate, then this is the obvious reason to head to Cairns. With heaps of different day trips and live aboard boats heading to the Great Barrier Reef each day, there are various options for all budgets. And if you don’t have a dive certification, then there is always snorkelling. A number of the sites are so shallow that snorkelling is just as fulfilling as heading deeper. The reef is incredible – some of the most colourful, varied corals in all of the world, and it is inhabited from everything from beautiful lace-like sea worms, to reef sharks and incredible turtles. A particular favourite at a number of dive sites, are the Maori Wrass (seen above). They’re like huge docile puppies, who want to come and play with you! If you’re limited for time, but want to make the most of diving on the Great Barrier Reef, I would recommend a day trip on Silver Swift. I did two days diving with the Silver Series company, and whilst they were more expensive than others, the whole day was really well-organised, safe, and as comfortable as possible, with a really yummy buffet lunch, 3 different dive sites, and plenty of time to chill out in between.
As far as romantic trips for two go – yes, it’s not particularly private, but it’s a great thing to experience together, and the reef is breathtakingly beautiful. Don’t knock it – there have been a fair few under water proposals there over the years!
White Water Rafting
Last time I was in Australia, I had so much fun rafting down the Tully River, that when I realised you could do day trips from Cairns, I signed up again immediately. Previously I’d gone from nearby Mission Beach, however if you’re limited for time and only staying in Cairns, it is still more than manageable in a day. It’s around a 2 and a half hour bus ride out to Tully, but the rapids are well worth it, and Raging Thunder are extremely experienced at taking boat loads of backpackers and tourists down the Grade 3 rapids. There are two different packages – the Extreme Package is around £10 more expensive, and is billed as being quicker, and with more swimming and jumping off rocks. As one guide put it, ‘normally we try to keep you in the boats, but on the extreme tour, we try to get you out!’ I had a great day, and it was well worth the $159 AUD.
There is genuinely no better buzz at 7 in the morning, than jumping out of a perfectly good plane for no reason! And if you’re going to do a tandem sky-dive somewhere in the world, Mission Beach, Queensland is the perfect place to do it! Again, it’s more than doable from Cairns, you just need to be prepared to be picked up super early. But it’s well worth the trip.
If you’re travelling with a partner to the East Coast of Oz though, my recommendation would be to get a camper van and do the drive with just the two of you. Wicked vans are everywhere, and easy to drop off along the coast when you’re done with them, and it’s a great way to see the country completely at your own pace.
If you can avoid staying in central Cairns, I would definitely recommend it. Port Talbot is a bit less touristy, and further up the coast towards some great jungle adventures. If you do stay in Cairns, and you don’t want to crash in a camper van, splash out and get a B and B, because the hostels are like university halls during Freshers’ Week!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx