Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef and beyond

We got over the sadness of having to leave Cape Tribulation pretty quickly, as we had to dash back down to Cairns by the following day so we could have the next exciting adventure – snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef! EXCITING. We decided that it was definitely something we wanted to do while in Queensland, so we booked a day tour where we were taken on a boat to two different spots on the outer reef to snorkel among the coral and fishes.

We had to be ready to board the boat pretty early, but we managed to sneak in a big coffee before we left at a place called Bang and Grind, which do their own roasted coffee in two blends – Bang and Grind. We got one of each to taste the difference…we definitely preferred one over the other but I forget which now. They were both pretty tasty though – nice and strong coffees.

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Then, to the boat! At first, I was a bit hesitant about being so far out in the ocean (the dude on the boat tour the day before wasted no time in telling us that crocodiles can swim hundreds of kilometres and can be found on the reef, but not to worry, as there are far scarier things on the reef that can get us…thanks dude…) but I have to say, this was one of the coolest experiences ever. At first, you jump in the water and look down and get kind of disappointed at only being able to see distant blurs, so you paddle along, and BAM! That moment where the coral just appears in front of you, and tropical fish are swimming right by your face…it was so cool! Now I’m keen to do it again, maybe on the Ningaloo Reef when we get around that way!

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The tour was good – they fed us and gave us wine on return, and Billy even had a play on the boom net on the way back. I was going to jump on, but then felt the need to stay on board to watch and ensure he didn’t drown. I think he came close a few times.

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Here he is floating off into the ocean.

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After our big day, we headed south and stayed overnight in Gordonvale, before driving west towards the Atherton tablelands. We had only given ourselves one day to visit this area as our time is becoming very limited, so we had to rush it somewhat which was kind of a shame, but we managed to pack in heaps of cool stuff regardless.

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First up, this 500+ year old cathedral fig tree, near Yungaburra, which was out of this world huge. The enormity of this thing is hard to describe. You can kind of get the idea seeing Bear amongst it.

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We met a really lovely young family there who had just been up to the Wallaby Creek festival, and their youngest boy was so taken with Billy, and kept yelling “NOOOOOO!” when his parents told him it was time to go.

Next we headed to Lake Eacham for a swim – a lovely lake with turtles swimming around it and easy access, with manmade steps built down into it. This refreshing swim rejuvenated us a little, and we kept on moving to our next destination – the ‘waterfall circuit’. As we were a little time limited, we only did part of it – a short road with three waterfalls spaced out along it. First up was Millaa Millaa, a gorgeous waterfall with icy cold water to paddle in.

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Next, Zillie falls, which brought you to a lookout at the top. We bushbashed down a steep worn path, climbing over and under fallen logs to reach the bottom of the falls, where we had a picnic lunch on the rocks.

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The last on our circuit was the Elinjaa falls, where we spotted another turtle jumping into the water. Billy took a swim here, but I was content just to dip my legs in this icy one.

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Then, we were on our way in. Our last stop was a cute little town called Ravenshoe, that had an awesome shop near the end of the street (I forget the name of it) which had a mix of organic veggies, health foods, jewellery, herbs and spices, new hemp and bamboo clothing, second hand clothing, crystals, and more, the majority of it locally sourced from the Ravenshoe area. It was a really cool little place, and the lady there was super friendly and willing to chat – definitely worth stopping in at if you ever happen to be in the area.

We ended up driving about 150km west of Ravenshoe and camping out on the edge of a state forest, just to get a start on the long journey ahead of us. I’ll fill you in on the trip across to the Northern Territory (where we are now!) very shortly. Until then! X

Bang and Grind
8/14 Spence St, Cairns
Mon-Sat 6am – 4pm

0 thoughts on “Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef and beyond

  1. What a magnificent tree!
    Your snorkeling adventure sounds fabulous. I’m glad you didn’t encounter a croc or anything scarier than a croc! 🙂

      1. Haha! Lucky! Is that a Box Jellyfish (I don’t know much about jellyfish)?
        I’m glad we don’t have to contend with all of that where I live. Although, I wonder if some of those sea creatures will travel further south as the sea temperatures warm (with climate change). Scary thought!

        1. Yes! There’s the box jellyfish, and irukandji, these tiny little ones, and there were two or three others. I think only one or two were deadly, but the others could paralyse in minutes! Plus the little blue ring octopus. Arghhhh!

          I know what you mean though, I was chatting to some guys about that exact thing the other day, because I was wondering whether the crocodile population, as they increase (since shooting them is no longer a sport) will start to migrate south down the coasts of Australia in search of more food etc. It’s a scary thought!

          1. It is a scary thought!

            It’s nice to swim at Byron and only have to worry about sharks! Haha! Just kidding, I don’t actually worry about that. I went kayaking at Byron recently, and once we were out there one of the instructors mentioned that sharks had been spotted recently (bull and great white), hanging around in the hope of snaring baby dolphins. Well! I just made sure I didn’t dangle my hands in the water. 🙂

          2. Yikes! Yes I guess you just have to be smart about it…I know they say avoid the water at dusk and dawn and stuff like that. Attacks are far rarer than car crashes, but somehow they seem like more of a threat.

            We are in Broome now, camping right on the beach. There was a croc shot here two weeks ago only about 40m out from the shore. Apparently he had been sitting there for two days without moving (they like to watch the habits of their prey before attacking), so that was a bit crazy. I can’t believe they shot it though – they tried to capture and relocate it but for some reason couldn’t. I don’t see why they didn’t tranquilise it instead of killing it, it’s just not fair to shoot a croc (or shark) for behaving in its natural way.

            I went swimming there this morning, but definitely kept on the lookout.

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