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Cairns, Australia

The rainforest outside Cairns, Australia
Anna Carlson

Cairns, Australia (pronounced ‘cans’) is on the Eastern seaboard in the north and is the jumping off point for water sports in and around the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns is a great city for scuba-diving whether you are an experienced diver or not. Getting to the popular diving town is easy as there is an airport and train station. Accommodation is plentiful and hostels are cheap.

Diving courses are offered from multiple companies and can be for any experience levels. If you are a beginner or don’t have your diving license, you can take 5 day courses where you get your certification at the end of the course. Another alternative is to do 1 or 2 days of diving with a certified diver. It is like a trial dive to see if you want to get certified or not. These 1 day packages are around $100 AUD and include all of the equipment (wet suits, tanks, etc.), lunch, and snorkeling in between dives. This is a great way to experience scuba diving and see the sea creatures such as clown fish, sea turtles, jelly fish, multiple types of coral and a myriad of tropical fish.

Another day trip option from Cairns is to tour the nearby rainforest. Most trips will pick you up from your accommodation, or a nearby location, and drive you to the forest. Wildlife and natural wonders include waterfalls such as Millaa Milla, and a jungle trek through the UNESCO World Heritage listed Mount Hypipamee National Park.

Cairns is another of Australia’s adventurous cities in which you can easily spend a week or two just diving in the Great Barrier Reef. Make sure to pack lots of sun screen and be prepared for the humidity.