On Monday, March 29th, I was leaving Ayers Rock to go to Cairns. The ticketing agent at the Ayers Rock airport made me weigh my backpack, and it turned out to be 12 kilos, 5 heavier than the allowable 7 kilos apparently. I really don’t like to check luggage, not only because of the extra cost, but mostly because of the extra hassle. So I rearranged and redistributed the contents of my backpack into my new knock-off Jimmy Choo purse to get the weight down to 7 kilos. Success!

Luggage weight issues

Once I got through security, I started putting everything I had taken out back into my backpack, because my purse, with all its contents spilling out, was not easy to manage. While I was doing that, the ticketing agent came through security to hand me a tank top I had accidentally dropped. She must have noticed what I was doing and told some other employees because when it was time to board, one of those agents stopped me to weigh my bag again.

Not satisfied with my reply that it had already been weighed, I had to rearrange again. The excuses I was given were 1) from the ticketing agent – that my “heavy” bag could fall out of the overhead compartment and injure someone (I don’t think 5 kilos makes much difference in this scenario), and 2) from the boarding agent – that it was a weight and balance issue.

I had to bite my tongue to stop from telling her that I work in aviation and have taken ground school, and I know that 5 kilos in the overhead or 5 kilos on the floor makes no difference to the weight and balance of the plane.

Arriving in Cairns

I finally arrived in Cairns a few hours later. Castaway’s Backpackers, the hostel I stayed at, was a breath of fresh air, by far the best hostel of the entire trip. The staff helped me choose Passions of Paradise to go snorkeling with the next day, which I was really excited about since my main reason for coming to Cairns was to see the Great Barrier Reef.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I attempted scuba diving in February but was not successful due to sinus issues. However, where they took us to snorkel was shallow enough to see the beautiful reef and a wide variety of fish, and I didn’t feel like I was missing out be not being able to dive. I was shocked to find how quickly time flew by while I swam around looking at the underwater world.

Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Australia

I decided not to spend an additional AU$50 on an underwater camera, but above is the first place we snorkeled. One of the boat’s crew members also fed some fish that were swimming next to the boat, and I just happened to have a front row seat.

Great Barrier Reef
fish feeding, Great Barrier Reef

Rain forest tour

I still had one day left in Cairns, so I decided to sign up for Uncle Brian’s rain forest tour. A friend of mine from work took the tour when he was in Cairns a few years ago and loved it, and the staff at the hostel just raved about it. 

Signing up was probably the best decision I made on my trip. It was led by Cousin Brad (apparently all their guides go by “cousin”) and he kept us entertained non-stop aboard Gus the Wonder Bus. We hiked through the rain forest, saw beautiful waterfalls, swam in an extinct volcano, got bruised and scraped up, ate great food, sang songs, and had an all-around wonderful, silly, fun day.

Millaa Millaa Falls Australia
Millaa Millaa Falls

While packing to leave Cairns, I took everything heavy and put it in my purse in preparation for any potential resistance when checking in at the airport. I was asked again to weigh my bag, and found it was 11.5 kilos, but the carry-on limit this time was 10 kilos. I pulled out a few things, got it down to 10.5 and was allowed on my way to board for Sydney.

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