First Time to Cairns

Jan 22nd, 2004, 10:50 AM
  #1  
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First Time to Cairns

My niece is currently working in Brisbane. I am planning a trip to visit her (from the United States) in early March. We are planning on spending 4 days in the Cairns area and would like some recommendations for Great Barrier Reef snorkeling tours. Also, what else is worth doing in the area for first time visitors? We will be staying in Port Douglas and we will have a rental car. Also, are the jelly fish a problem in that area in March?

Thanks! I have really enjoyed reading the posts on this site!
MiMary is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 04:26 PM
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Hi MiMary - from PD for snorkelling I like Wavelength - it doesn't take too many people and caters only to snorkellers, not divers. There's an enormous amount of things to do and see in the area - apart from snorkeling - could you give us a hint of what interests you. Yes, March is still in box-jelly fish season - they inhabit the coast, not the reef. If there's any doubt the reef operator will provide you with a lycra body suit, be guided by the crew who are well aware of any possible dangers.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 06:24 PM
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we had such a great day out with ocean spirit's boat (we're snorkelers, but the divers didn't bother us a bit) that we went back the next day to try to go out again!
when we couldn't, we went to green island and i DO NOT recommend that, no matter how desperate you are to get to sea.

there is a lovely aboriginal cultural center where you can learn a bit and try out boomerangs and spears and see baby cane toads (don't pick them up like i did!). you can rent a car and visit the silky oaks lodge for lunch and explore the daintree for the day, or (better) spend a night up there before returning.

you can drive the coast up toward port douglas and stop at that great beach-what's it called- with the cafe on one side of the road and the pretty view and water on the other (it's north of palm cove).

you can stay and or/ stroll through palm cove. ditto port douglas.

we are less touring oriented so we didn't go in for kuranda scenic railway- but that is quite popular to do as well...

we also made a long drive to find milla milla waterfall and while the fall was very disappointing i will never forget the gorgeous inland scenery of that drive- totally unexpected and literally breathtaking at every turn (and we live in a very pretty place).
kerikeri is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 09:22 PM
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Kerikeri - I completely agree with you - I feel Ocean Spirit to Michaelmas Cay is the best day reef trip in the entire area, but MiMary says she is staying in PD and Ocean Spirit leaves from Cairns. OS is so well organised and professional that it would never give divers preferential sites to snorkellers, but I can tell you, there are some operators that do because they make more money from divers. Wavelength is not one of them either - they concentrate on the best snorkelling sites in their area. Green Island, sadly, has suffered badly in the last few years, whether by cyclones or too many visitors is debatable. The Frankland Islands, south of Cairns, are still pristine and are said to be what Green Island was 30 years ago. The beach you are referring to just north of PC is Ellis Beach - I'm just off to walk my dogs on it!
pat_woolford is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2004, 09:10 AM
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jealous pat!!!
kerikeri is offline  
Jan 26th, 2004, 02:35 AM
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G'day MiMary,
Wavelength Reef Charters are the only true snorkelling specialists in the entire region and I can thoroughly vouch for them. They are the longest running company in Port Douglas and have the smallest groups yet have multiple exclusive sites that are the envy of the rest of "tourist" fleet in Port Douglas.
There is heaps of other things to do but its late and I wont go into all that now. If youd like to know more including anything you want to know about jellyfish, just email me
Chris.
[email protected]
Fish_Boy is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 12:06 PM
  #7  
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Thanks for the information about snorkeling. We will have a car so I guess we could leave from Port Douglas or Cairns. Both Wavelength and Ocean Spirit sound great. I will look up their websites and show my niece.

Pat, sorry I wasn't very specific about my interests. I would say that we are more interested in the natural beauty of the area (not night clubs or theme parks). I would like to see the Daintree rainforest, but don't know if a tour is better or taking the Kuranda rail and cable car is a better way to go. I am fast approaching middle age (sigh!) so I am not interested in any strenuous hiking or extreme sports. I was figuring on spending one day snorkling, and one day in the rain forest. On the other two days, our time will be shorter because we are traveling in and out of the area. Ideas for those days (cultural centers, beaches, shopping) would be appreciated. Thanks again!
MiMary is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 12:53 PM
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Hi MiMary - KurandaTrain/Skyrail/Tjakupai Aboriginal Cultural Park (close to Cairns) is in a different area to Daintree World Heritage Rainforest which is closer to PD. You can do a full day trip to Daintree from PD - Trek North is a Cairns based company and they'll pick you up in PD. You can drive this yourself but you'll gain a lot more by going with a knowledgable guide/driver. Depending on how much time you have on the other days, you should be able to do at least Skyrail as it picks up every 15 minutes - the train only twice a day and once on Saturdays. The Kuku-Yalangi people are near Mossman Gorge, which is just out of PD - they'll take you on a "dreamtime walk" in the rainforest and the Rainforest Habitat, where you can see native animals up close is just off the highway on the road into PD. They won't let you cuddle koalas, but you can be photographed close to them. Plenty of shopping and restaurants in PD - my favourite is Sassi's on cnr of Macrossan and Wharf Sts - try the chili mud crab. Have a great time!
pat_woolford is offline  

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