Adventures Down Under, Cairns [Final Part]
It’s 4:30 AM in the morning, we are at the front of Base Hostel, Airlie Beach, waiting to be picked up by a bus to take us to the train station to catch “Spirit of Queensland” to our last destination on the tour, Cairns. Everyone’s tired with drowsy eyes and were high on morning blues. A few of the gang had gone without sleep, partying all night and were smashed by morning. It was a surprise that they were on time at 4:30 A.M, all credit to CEO Ninja, I would say.
The train actually got delayed by an hour, which luckily gave us a chance to drop by a cafe early in the morning for a fresh brew of coffee and freshly baked croissants at the local cafe which was indeed a blessing. By 6:30 AM we were on an amazing train journey of our lives shuttling through the meadows of Australian countryside farms. The train ride was more comfortable than we had thought, it was almost like flying premium economy with great leg room, plush reclining leather seats with personal entertainment. The total travel time was about 9-10 hours to Cairns, known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and home to various adventure activities.
We arrived in Cairns, late afternoon around 4:00 PM after a fantastic train journey of 9 hours, during which our CEO had listed a number of activities which were on offer in Cairns. This included Scuba Diving, Snorkelling, River Rafting, Sky Diving & Bungee Jumping. Some of the members were divided on various activities and only a few chose Bungee Jumping & Sky Diving. Ninja suggested that since we had a long day on the road, we should do the Bungee Jump that evening itself to unwind ourselves, we couldn’t agree more!
We headed straight from the Cairns train station to AJ Hackett Bungee Centre, only 3 of us were going to try the Bungee and a couple others were going to try the Minjing Swing. With all the excitement, I was the first to go for the 165ft bungee jump of my life. I wasn’t feeling nervous, but I definitely did have butterflies in my stomach. After reaching the top, the view of Cairn’s rainforest, blue ocean and the view of the city itself was pretty a
After checking into our rooms and getting refreshed, all of us got together for dinner that night. We knew our adventures were coming to an end very soon, we only had one day left on the itinerary before each one of us would head in a different direction. At the dinner table, We spoke about our bungee jumps and swing experience and the plans for the final day. Most of us were looking forward to Sky diving at 14,000 ft which would be the perfect way to finish this amazing G Adventure trip. Some of the gang members preferred to go for a scuba dive & river rafting since they weren’t comfortable with heights. More importantly, everybody were excited for the last day of the trip and looked forward to it.
Next morning, we woke up to bad weather with overcast skies, poor visibility and constant drizzling which was definitely not conducive for sky diving, bummer! Some of the gang members who went for scuba diving and river rafting were lucky in one sense since most of us had to hang around the hostel playing snooker, hoping the weather would clear. Through the day our CEO, Ninja was constantly checking if there was any chances of sky diving that day. Later in the afternoon, we heard some positive news that the forecast for the evening was looking good to sky dive and they would pick us up by 4.00 PM from our hostel. Just around 4:00 PM, the weather had indeed cleared with bright sunshine and fluffy clouds above us, which was just perfect for a skydive. We reached the base station of Sky Diving Centre at Cairns airport, one of the reputed and professional skydiving companies in Australia with a 100% safety record. We were introduced to our skydiving instructors after all the formalities were done, the guys were pretty cheerful and fun who briefed us do’s and dont's. Most of us opted for the photo & video package which came at an extra cost but was definitely worth doing.
We took off from Cairns airport with a small Cessna carrier for a 20 minute scenic flight over the beautiful Cairns overlooking lush rainforests, plenty of sail boats, township, waterways and the mighty great barrier reef was visible in the blue ocean. At 14,000 ft the flight stalled signalling it was time to skydive, the red lights turned yellow and soon it switched to green which was an indication to begin sky diving. I was at the very end of the line, meaning I was going to be the last one diving, the girls were obviously screaming with excitement and fortunately none of them passed out or anything, One by one everyone were leaping off the plane, the sight looked like a scene from a war movie. It was my turn and I simply followed the instructions of my instructor, who was also my tandem partner, the chilly wind was hitting my face when I got to the door. I put my hands across my shoulders and with a bit of firm push from behind my instructor and I leapt off the plane, the free fall was so swift and enthralling that although it only lasted for about 15 seconds before my instructor pulled the parachute, those 15 seconds were pretty incredible, the speed at which you free fall, you really understand the force of gravity on earth. Once the parachute kicks in, things slow down and you cruise at a much controlled pace, the view was absolutely mind blowing with perfect weather. My instructor gave me some tips on how to control and guide the parachute and I was able to make turns and control the descending which was pretty cool. Our landing was pretty smooth and there were wild celebrations on the ground by the rest of the gang, everybody were excited! Ninja broke in a few beers for the gang and for our awesome instructors who made our dives so much fun and safe. We headed back to the Skydive office at the airport to change suits and to collect our bags, the office staff told us to pick photos & videos the next morning. They also gave us discount coupons for G Adventure gang for the night at a resto bar in downtown Cairns. Supposedly, the most happening place in the town after dark. We headed back to our base to get quickly refreshed and dressed up for the farewell party.
At 8.00 PM, the entire gang left for the last supper together, We arrived at the resto bar where we had a reserved table for G Adventure gang. What followed was plenty of table conversations about the amazing time we have had on the trip while everyone shared their memorable experiences of the trip. After an amazing dinner, there were plenty of photo ops, crazy pranks and finally thanksgiving to our awesome CEO Ninja who had done a great job to make sure that everybody had the time of our lives. As it got a bit late, the place was getting wild that night and we had to leave for another quieter place down the street where we hung around until midnight before we realized it was time to get back to the hostel.
Obviously, everyone felt a bit emotional and sad that it was all coming to an end and we would all be heading into different parts of the globe. Some of them were going back to school, jobs and some would continue traveling the world, but most importantly, we all knew that “There was no end to the story but just a transition to newer adventures”.
Next morning, I had all my bags packed and was ready to move into my Airbnb accommodation in Cairns just for a day before I flew out to Sydney the next day. Most of the gang were at the breakfast table all packed and ready to leave too. We exchanged good byes for one final time and that was the end of one of the finest adventures I have had in my life.Later that day, I picked up my photos & videos from Skydiving office, did some shopping at the Cairns city center, walked the beautiful Cairns esplanade and finally settled in comfortably in my Airbnb host’s place revelling all the good times I have had in my adventures down under.