The next morning (November 14th) we said good bye to the Outback and headed to Cairns. The Outback really surprised me. It was red and very desert-y BUT it also had a lot of green. There were plants everywhere. And not just shrubs, but tall green trees! I loved it all!
[Picture of Kata Tjuta from the plane]
[Picture of Kata Tjuta from the plane]
I love how Quantas always serves you a snack on their flights! The quiche and brownie were both delicious!
We left the Red Center and landed in the Rain Forest just a few hours later.
A shuttle picked us up at the airport and drove for almost an hour before we got to the Thala Beach Nature Reserve.
[Main building which has the front desk, bar, restaurant, shop, and pools]
While we were checking into the hotel the guy told us that we had one of the best rooms and that a surprise was waiting for us when we got there. He also informed us that we had a "Welcome to the Resort" drink waiting for us at the bar. Our bags were taken to the room and we went upstairs to the open air bar where we had our drinks and then we had dinner at the hotels restaurant.
[Stairs to the restaurant, bar, and pools]
[View from the bar - this is where two UNESCO World Heritage Sites meet: The Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest]
After our delicious dinner we went back down stairs where we saw a lady feeding a wallaby! She waved me over and I was able to feed her too! One of the guys at the front office came over and told us that she was a wild wallaby named Apple. She comes to the hotel most nights for dinner. She also had a joey but she was attacked by a python a few nights ago and the snake got the baby.
After feeding Apple we left the front office area, went down these stairs, and found our Eucalypt Bungalo!
[Champagne from our amazing travel agent]
The room was beautiful, the bed was huge and comfy, and there were tiny geckos everywhere!
[View from our room]
The next day (November 15th) was one that I have been looking forward to for a really long time. I was really excited to knock something else off my bucket list! We were going to snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef!
We got up early so that we could eat breakfast before we went snorkeling but we were told the wrong time for our bus pickup. On our way out the door to breakfast we got a call that our bus was there and waiting for us. Ugh. Oh well...
The bus took us to the dock where we checked in, grabbed a quick coffee and tea, bought Josh a rash guard, and then boarded the Silversonic boat!
We had a 90 minute run to the first snorkel spot. During this time we relaxed on the deck and reapplied sun screen like crazy!
Right before we got to our first location we were brought downstairs and given a safety lesson, a snorkel and mask, fins, and a lycra suit. I asked if we had to wear the suit and I was told that we "should because of the stingers." Apparently it is jellyfish season and these suits will help protect you if they show up!
I was so excited that I almost forgot to take a picture before hopping in the water!
At our first location the reef was between 5 and 20 feet deep and the water was crystal clear! We saw a ton of fish and even got to swim along side a sea turtle!
After 90 minutes we all jumped back on the boat where we zoomed over to our next snorkel spot. We put our suits back on and jumped in the water. At this site we saw a school of "Dory" fish and a lot of star fish. The wind started to pick up a bit and Josh was getting a lot of water in his snorkel so we decided to go in a little early.
After the second spot we were served a seafood buffet! YUM!
Josh decided to stay in the boat at the third site. He is not a very strong swimmer and we were told that the currents at the last location were stronger then at the other locations. As I was getting suited-up they announced that there would be a snorkel tour for those who wanted to go out with a local.
On the tour I learned about the local fish and plants and even got to hold a sea cucumber! YUCK! We also saw a small shark!
I was exhausted after a long day at the Reef so on the 90 minute ride back to land I fell asleep inside the boat but I way lying against a window and I got FRIED! My hand, arm, and neck hurt so much! It was probably one of the worse sunburns I have ever had!
I'm not going to lie, it was worth it :-)
The Great Barrier Reef has some of the greatest snorkeling in the world! The coral is beautiful, there are a ton of fish and turtles, and the water is perfect! Now I am super spoiled!