17th October – 20th October, I paid Tropical North Queensland a visit. I decided to go to Cairns because it is a once in a lifetime experience to see the Great Barrier Reef. However, two days before my flight to Cairns, one of the Seven Wonders of the World was pronounced dead by an environmentalist, Rowan Jacobson. It was said that sixty percent of its corals are now bleached, which I thought, was really disappointing seeing as I was going to visit Cairns to see its wonderful Great Barrier Reef. But, what was more disappointing, in my opinion, was how human beings can be so irresponsible, enough to destroy what was once a beautiful creation.
On the first day, 17th October, I arrived in Cairns. I immediately went from the airport to the hotel, which was Mantra Trilogy. I thought the hotel was good enough for its price. I mean, for a twenty-one year old traveling a very touristy area, I think it was good enough. Service was not perfect – they did not have the regular everyday housekeeping, or a breakfast buffet, but they did have an air-conditioned room, plus my two favourite parts of the hotel were: 1. they had a pool, and 2. they were really close to civilization (malls, restaurants, bars, night markets, etc.). So if you have any plans of visiting Cairns, and are slightly on a budget, I would highly recommend Mantra Trilogy. After checking in, I tried asking around if there were nearby beaches that I could possibly swim in seeing as there was nothing on the itinerary that day, to find out that ALL beaches in the Queensland territory are contaminated with salt water crocodiles, and there were actually incidences of people dying because of croc attacks. I think that cycling around a new place is a great idea to see a lot of new things such as their culture, environment and whatnot. AND, you get to live like a local, which I believe is one of the true essences of traveling – getting to know the culture and the people where you are traveling at. As the day passed, I was getting more and more excited because the next day was Great Barrier Reef day!
I woke up at 8:00AM the following day to catch the boat ride to the outer reef. I joined the Great Adventures cruise and, I thought they were amazing because they really prioritized the safety of their passengers, and aside from that, they kept their passengers well informed about the different marine creatures that we were possibly going to see, the features of the boat, the different activities that we could be involved in, and etc. Some of the activities that they provided include: scubadoo, semi-submarine boat, scuba diving and the like. After one and a half hours on the boat, we finally arrived at our destination.
I think overall, the day was full of adventures and discoveries. Although, I knew that the Great Barrier Reef was pronounced dead, there was a moment of disappointment while snorkeling. I did not think that the coral bleaching was that bad, but it actually was horrible. There was almost nothing to see, if it were not for some fish.
Second day was another exciting day, it was time to visit Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. What was so exciting about this specific crocodile farm was that they take their customers on a boat where we could see crocodiles on their natural behaviour, and that is something not all crocodile farms can provide. It was as if they were not captivated animals, and I got to see these crocodiles fighting for their food (either chicken or kangaroo meat). They had other animals such as koalas, pythons, kangaroos, wallabies, owls, peacocks and the like as well.
Originally, on the last day, there was nothing on the itinerary, but out of spontaneity, I got to book a boat ride to the Green Island. It is around an hour boat ride from Cairns esplanade. I initially thought that, it was called the Green Island because it was surrounded by rainforest, but I was wrong. It is called the Green Island because it was discovered by one of the men whose last name was Green – how creative! The island was great, unlike the Great Barrier Reef, there was a resort on the island so, there was some sort of civilization – restaurant, bar, small souvenir shop, and that was basically it. The island itself though, was again a little bit disappointing. Together with the Great Adventures package, is a free snorkeling experience (with the gears and all that), which was great but, there was literally nothing to see, but sand and seaweed.
That afternoon itself, was my flight back home to Sydney. As soon as i landed, I missed Cairns – the sun, weather, people, culture.. It was a great trip, despite those moments of disappointment. And tomorrow, I am going back to reality (Uni), which will definitely make me miss this Spring break even more.
What I realized?
The Philippines has amazing beaches! I just hope that the Filipinos and tourists realize sooner that our natural resources do not preserve on their own. They need us, human beings, to take care of them and to avoid abusing them.