Day 3 & 4: Cairns, Kuranda Rainforest, and the Great Barrier Reef
After our first two days in Sydney, we flew up to Cairns (told you we didn't rest much!). We wanted to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef (World Heritage site #3), and so we made the trip up here JUST for that reason. But of course, we wanted to make the most of the day we flew in, too- so we took a bus up to the Kuranda Rainforest (World Heritage site #4) and spent the day taking a riverboat cruise of one of the oldest rainforests in the world in the Queensland Tropics, walking the pathways through the rainforest, and just generally exploring it all. I learned then that I must be a true Seattlite at heart because my feet and ankles got so swollen in the heat and I had to loosen the straps on my Birkenstocks! It doesn't get any more Seattle than that- Birks + unadapted to warmth is pretty much what this city is known for. We then took the famous railway back down to Cairns, and it was absolutely breathtaking- the trip up to the rainforest would have been worth it JUST for that ride back down.
On day 4, we snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef. I've wanted to see it in person for as long as I can remember, and we both felt that it was worth the extra trip to see it before it disappears forever (Science PSA for the day: go here to read about the dangers facing the GBR). We took a boat out of Cairns out to the reef; sadly we don't have any images from that part of the trip (we have lots of video we'll share at some point!). The weather was actually crazy- it was cloudy and rainy, and it was SO choppy that it definitely was not a pleasant boat trip out to the reef! But we snorkeled for hours at three different sights- we found Nemo, a giant sea turtle, and Chris found a reef shark (I'm ok I missed that one). The colors and the beauty we saw there will probably forever remain the most incredible experience of my life. I'm not sure anything will ever come close to how awed I was by the beauty of that place.....
By this point you can definitely see thee exhaustion was getting to us- I tried to fall asleep on not one, but TWO tables..... in two days. While waiting for our food to arrive. And on the train. But our motto is that you can sleep when you're home.... so we kept going!