Arriving in Cairns after spending a few days in the bustling city of Sydney felt like gliding into some sort of paradise island.
As we flew closer and closer to our destination, not only could we see the incredible Great Barrier Reef out to our right (window seats are the best!), but directly below we could see nothing but lush, green rainforest.
Read more: A Day at Bondi Beach in Sydney
Throughout our entire stay in Sydney it was cloudy and drizzling (remember this storm?), however as we flew north to Cairns the clouds had cleared and the sun was beating down, with a gorgeous thirty-plus degree heat to go with it.
We immediately checked into the Dreamtime Travellers Rest Hostel for our upcoming three-night stay. It was beyond basic and even just standing in our room was quite possibly the sweatiest, most humid experience of my life, but the hostel’s atmosphere was so relaxed and both the staff and other guests were so accommodating.
After unpacking I calculated that we had approximately half an hour until the sun set, so we legged it down to the beach to watch the light disappear behind the mountains. We were even joined by some pelicans!
We explored the beach-front for the next hour or so and then decided to grab a bite to eat in the food hall.
We spent the next two days of our stay out on trips to the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, both of which were incredible!
Our rainforest trip was packed full of hiking and waterfalls (including that one from the Peter Andre music video!), and for our Great Barrier reef trip we hopped on a very choppy boat to part of the reef for snorkeling and our first ever diving experience, which was terrifying but unbelievable!
On our fourth day we had until our 1am Greyhound bus to explore more of Cairns. Sadly it absolutely poured down – which was typical as they’d not had rain for over two weeks – so we spent a lot of time sat under shelter waiting for the weather to pass.
By lunch time the rain had cleared a little, so we were able to walk along the beach and spend some time in the lagoon, which is free to enter.
Staying awake until 1am was almost impossible, however we did our best to stay busy by attending a traditional Aussie BBQ with entertainment back at the hostel.
Then it was finally time to trek across town with our 65L backpacks, and catch our Greyhound bus to Airlie Beach via Townsville.
This was a crazy nine-hour journey, as we saw both another huge lightning storm and a bushfire on the way!
Although our stay was short, Cairns totally captured my heart. I’d love to go back for a more luxury stay, and explore more of the rainforest.