Cairns will remain memorable to me for a lifetime as I was able to strike off two major things from my bucket list. The most fascinating fact is that one of them was in the air and the other under water!
Cairns is situated on the northern part of Queensland and is one the biggest adventure sports locations in Australia. I was at ease in the tropical weather but one of the things that was pleasantly surprising was the selection of tropical wines. When we think of Australia and wines, Chardonnay and Shiraz are the names that come top of your mind first. But Cairns offers a range of fruit wines and it’s well worth a visit to try their unique wines and liqueurs. A small city navigating through it is easy as it is just mainly four streets at crossroads from each other. I stayed at a hostel called The Jack that was quite accessible to all the places.
Coming back to the experiences I struck of my Bucket List, one of them was scuba diving and snorkelling. When in Australia the first thing that pops up when you say these two activities is the Great Barrier Reef and yes I was fortunate to do both at the majestic reef. The 2,300 kms long ecosystem comprises of thousands of reefs and hundreds of islands made of over 600 types of hard and soft coral. It is the largest living thing on Earth and even visible from outer space! There are multiple tour operators and a basic research will give you an understanding of the price points. The experience in itself was was out of this world; the life underwater & the colours were truly magnificent and to add it the overwhelming feeling of diving at the Great Barrier Reef.
The next thing struck off my list was skydiving. Although I was sure I would do it one day, I had not zeroed in on a destination. This was an impulsive decision and the next day I headed 80 kms south to Mission Beach for the biggest fall of my life. I can proudly say that I skydived from 15000 ft and that was by far one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life! I was completely aware and did not close my eyes even once as I did not want to miss the view and the experience.
The Daintree Rainforest, the Cape Tribulation and the Kuranda Scenic Railway trip stretch were also fabulous sights to see and I did have a great time. The Railway trip through the tropical forest reminded me of the Konkan Railway route in the South Western part of India. My last day in Cairns was the best as it was Halloween and the entire city had transformed itself. From a Zombie Nation invasion to the Day of the Dead Halloween Fiesta, it was energy at a different level.
I was hosted by my relatives in Brisbane, so I can’t really give a firsthand view of hostels or B&B options in Brisbane. The place has pleasant weather and I had a wonderful time during my visit, which was the beginning of November. It was basically Spring time with beautiful misty mornings and I used to begin my day with an early morning jog at the neighbourhood park.
When I talk about Brisbane, the first question shot at me was have you been to South Bank? Of course, considering that’s the most well known space here. Before the South Bank was developed for the World Expo in Australia, Brisbane was just another city. The area is a fun mix of restaurants, shops, parklands and even an artificial beach. Once at South Bank, it is impossible to miss the Wheel of Brisbane – Brisbane’s humble version of the London Eye. It is quite overpriced, but nonetheless, it provides stunning views over the central business district (CBD) and surrounding areas making it a must visit spot for any traveller. South Bank is also considered Brisbane’s cultural hub, as it is home to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre & the Gallery of Modern Art and Museum.
Another day was spent at the King George Square and the City Hall. Inside City Hall is the Museum of Brisbane, from which it is now possible to go up to the top of the bell tower. The best view of Brisbane is from Mt.Cootha, which is outside of the CBD. I enjoyed the evening sipping a hot cuppa and seeing the sun set on the horizon.
The landscape of the Brisbane country side is etched clearly in my mind. I was fortunate to ride with my friends over the weekend I was there. We went riding through Enoggera Reservoir – Mount Nebo into Somerset Dam. The ride was through the winding roads, which is a favourite for the local bikers and we found different groups pushing rubber to tarmac on these roads. The koala sanctuary was another highlight of the trip, especially as this was my first experience of getting up close with koalas and kangaroos.
After a marathon ride from Sumatra, we entered Java on the auspicious day of Eid ul Adha, that was a public holiday. I was welcomed at the harbour by my
Warrier's Trail is a crazy dream of a simple guy that was inspired by a desire to travel, meeting people, see places and live life full of uncertainty.
The dream is to travel 40 countries, in over 500 odd days in 5 regions (S.E.Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe & Africa)
A journey of exploration!