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Australia: North Queensland, Cairns
It takes a while to get there from most places on this planet, but Cairns is
well worth the effort. Located on the north eastern coast of Australia, Cairns
(pronounced "Cans") is both a beautiful place to visit and the perfect
jumping off point for the Great Barrier Reef. The town itself is rather small
and the beach consists mostly of mud flats. While you will need to visit town
to catch a boat to the reef, the better accommodations are located up the coast
between 20 and 30 mile North.
We like the Ramada Reef Resort, Palm Cove
, which is located about 20 minutes from Cairns. It's right on the beach
and has one of the largest swimming pools in the country. The best trip out to
the reef is on board one of the sailing catamarans leaving from Cairns. There
are also motor powered trimarans which get you there faster, but they are
somewhat like taking a bus. On your trip to the reef make sure you bring lots
of sun screen and be prepared to get in the water. Even if you don't snorkel or
scuba dive, you should at least jump in for a bit with a goggle to see the sea
life under the surface. The people are incredibly friendly and will make you
feel most comfortable.
To get to
best bet is to catch a flight from Sydney. It takes approximately 4 hours but
once you've made the trip to Australia in the first place 4 hours on a plane
will seem short. For information about Australia in general, contact the
Embassy of Australia, 1601
Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, DC 20037 - Telephone: 202.797.3000, the
Commenwealth Department of Tourism
, or the Australian Tourist Commission - Telephone: 708.296.4900.
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