This week I am going to return to my 2013 trip to Australia. After the ordeal that was the flight over, we were exhausted. I was cranky, and my mom was hobbled by an ankle injury. Hopefully if you ever make the trip to Australia you won’t arrive in nearly as bad of shape as we did, but just in case I highly recommend you do what we did and spend your first three days on the north shore in Cairns.
Yeah, the extra flight was brutal, but it turned out to be worth the extra hassle. By the time we finally arrived we only had energy to order room service and collapse into bed at 7PM. By the time we awoke 12-13 hours later we felt a hundred times better ( except for my poor mom’s ankle).
Cairns is a tropical paradise with luscious rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef just off its shoreline. On the first day we took an old train to the top of a small mountain that included stunning vistas and a scenic waterfall. The train was accessible, but the only accessible car didn’t have enough seats for our friends to sit with us. The views were spectacular however and at the top and it was pretty easy to get around the little town. There was a great little animal park where you could see native animals and birds up close. Most of these are quite exotic. On the way down we rode in a gondola over top of the rainforest canopy. You could hear the animals and catch a glimpse of the occasional bird many of which are brightly colored. The secret to a gondola and accessibility is to make sure the gondola has totally stopped before trying to board. This was no problem at Cairns as everyone was very helpful.
The next day we took a glass bottom boat and semi submarine to the Great Barrier Reef. This was truly wonderful and made me envious of those that scuba dive. The semi-submarine wasn’t really accessible in the traditional sense but the staff was great helping me get down there and they had a glass bottom boat that was accessible and gave almost as good a view of the reef. We had leisurely meals every night and woke up on the third day rejuvenated and ready to fly back to Sydney.