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TBJ TRAVELS CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA 1: Your Checklist Before Hitting The Great Barrier Reef


Summer is upon us so I thought of finally writing down my greatest adventure for 2016 at the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Australia. This is probably the longest TBJ Travels blog series that I'll write, but it's worth it because it's a comprehensive guide to enjoying the Great Barrier Reef for first timers. It might be of use to you one day! :)

First, here are the important things to prepare before departing for The Great Barrier Reef:

TICKETS!


Of course you have to buy a ticket. Philippine Airlines is the only local airline company that flies directly to Cairns 4x weekly. Visit PHILIPPINE AIRLINES OFFICIAL WEBSITE for the flight schedules and rates.



MONEY!

I had a bit of problem trying to exchange pesos to AUD in our local banks and money changers; some required one week interval for request and even if I did, there were still no AUD available. But don't worry, you can always have your money exchanged at the airport when you get to Australia.

LET'S PACK OUR BAGS!

Here are the important things you have to bring with you to the Great Barrier Reef:


1. Bikini and rash guard for jellyfish- ridden areas
2. Underwater camera (you have to! It's an adventure of a lifetime and it's worth it!)
3. Sun protectors: Umbrella, sunglasses, and hat because this coastal town can get really humid and dry during summer.
4. Travel First Aid Kit because Australia is rich in flora and fauna and it is always possible to encounter mishaps when in the wild. But don't worry, Australia's touring companies are well equipped with medical staff, training, and paraphernalia to address tour- related accidents.
5. Sunscreen. Not so much a priority because Australia is a land abundant in sunscreen and mind you, they're some of the best ones. Also, please bring natural sunscreen, specifically one that has none of the chemical ingredients to prevent coral poisoning and pollution of the water. FYI, chemical sunscreen ingredients are lethal to marine life, most especially corals.
6. Universal Adaptor. Please refer HERE to know how Australia's adaptor looks like. Australia uses 240V for electricity so no need to bring/buy a transformer if you're from the Philippines.
7. Insect repellent. Cairns is a lush mountainous area and there are mosquitoes and biting insects here and there.

Optional: Goggles, snorkel gear, fins. The touring companies will provide these for you unless you are sensitive and you want to have your own.

CONNECTIVITY:

Ever since I experienced the beauty of having pocket wifi in my second Japan trip, I made it a point to rent pocket wifi for my international trips. It will come out much cheaper than making calls or opting for roaming services, plus you can always seek help anytime from loved ones online and the Internet. Philippine Airlines has their own pocket wifi service called myPAL Roam. You can rent it on the spot at PAL terminal 2.

LODGING:

Lodging is a bit expensive in Australia so hostels are your best bet. One of the highly- rated hostels in Cairns is Caravella Backpackers Inn; its proximity to the center of Cairns where you will find the majority of restaurants, shopping centers, and night life is very good; you can walk it for 8-10 minutes and it's located in front of the famous Esplanade by the sea. It's clean, spacious, funky, and service is okay; didn't expect too much because the room I got is pretty affordable considering that it's a prime location; a friend who's been living in Cairns for years now was even shocked to know that a good hostel with amazing rates exists in her town LOL. It's a bit far from the jump off point of the tours though so you need to ride a cab; it's about 8 minutes by cab only. 

But hey, if you want to spend a bit more for better lodging, go for hotels. I suggest Pullman Cairns.

TIP: The best time to visit Cairns, Australia is around late October; it's not too hot and summer is just starting.

The room I got is a single room with twin bed and shared bathroom and cost me P9,000+ for 4 nights; there's a 50 AUD deposit before checking in that you can refund upon check out. For the room, it's more expensive if you are going to have your own bathroom in the room. Good thing that the common bathroom is right beside my room and luckily, I didn't have to endure any line to take a bath.


The other popular hostel in Cairns is YHA Hotels, but it's always fully booked. I would recommend Caravella Backpackers Inn as an alternative.

You can leave your luggage in the hostel's stock room so you can go around the city with ease before your flight back home.

TOURS:


There aren't a lot of personal travel guides about touring Cairns so I really made this tour from scratch; I referred to whatever guide was available, compared rates, researched about the pros and cons of every single popular trip, and whittled down my tours to the three: Green Island, Kuranda Tour, and Outer Barrier Reef Tour. For the tours I got and how I booked them, I'll muse in the intended blog posts as we go along in this travel series.

It is advisable to book beforehand for a hassle- free trip. You can actually book tours right in Cairns, but it will come out more expensive and chances are, you might not be able to go at your preferred time. Worse, you might not be able to book any tour at all.
That's all! Ready to go? Tomorrow, we'll hit Cairns, Australia and the Great Barrier Reef!

Visit PHILIPPINE AIRLINES to inquire about flights to Cairns, Australia.

Check out my other Cairns, Australia travel posts:

TBJ TRAVELS CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA 2: WELCOME TO THE GREAT BARRIER REEF! + CITY GUIDE

TBJ TRAVELS CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA 3: GREEN ISLAND TOUR + GUIDE + ITINERARY

TBJ TRAVELS CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA 4: KURANDA VILLAGE TOUR + GUIDE + ITINERARY

TBJ TRAVELS CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA 5: OUTER BARRIER REEF TOUR + ITINERARY + GUIDE

TBJ TRAVELS CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA 6: PALM COVE SIDE TRIP + SHOPPING IN CAIRNS + AUSTRALIA HAULS

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7 Lovely Thoughts

  1. Thanks for the tips Ms Martha. Kelan kaya ako makakapunta dyan? Hirap ng mag out of the coutry pagpamilyado na. Masyadong magastos. Kelangan pag ipunan. Someday... someday ...

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  2. Very helpful and useful tips for traveling Ms. Martha. Thanks for this. Have a safe trip madam. :-)

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  3. Oh my golly! Someday I will travel the world din. That's why I am still dreaming of becoming a flight attendant so I could visit different countries while earning. Hahahahahahahhaha. But I am just 5 flat and so skinny. Haaay. But thanks for sharing your travels all the time.

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  4. Thanks for sharing ur tips Ms. Martha! Not yet travelling to some country but this will be a big help for anyone.

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