Tour of the Coral Expeditions II

In looking for a multi-day tour of the Great Barrier Reef we found that the majority of cruises are designed for scuba divers, so we were thrilled when we discovered Coral Expeditions and their ship the Coral Expeditions II, which offers itineraries that cater to snorkelers.

This was our first cruise on a small vessel (the ship holds around 50 passengers), and we were pleasantly surprised with the amenities and level of service onboard. The common spaces, including a lounge, dining room and sundeck, were clean and well-maintained. Our cabin on Deck C featured two fixed twin beds with drawers for our belongings, a small closet, and a built-in writing desk. The bathroom was our least favorite part of the room, as we struggled to alleviate the humidity and moisture that would build up after showering.

We would definitely travel with Coral Expeditions again, although next time we’d probably choose a larger room with a double bed.


Cairns Botanic Gardens in 4K

After a week of snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, we were excited to spend a day on land at the Cairns Botanic Gardens. We took a self-guided stroll along several of the walking paths, and appreciated the easy-to-follow map and plant markers. We weren’t surprised that our trip didn’t coincide with the rare blooming of the garden’s giant Corpse Flower, but would have loved to catch that! In all, the gardens are meticulously maintained, full of beautiful and rare tropical plants and flowers, and definitely worth a visit.

Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in 4K

Kuranda’s Butterfly Sanctuary is the largest butterfly exhibit in Australia, and a wonderful spot for nature-loving kids and adults alike. You’ll find 2,000 butterflies (give or take) in the sanctuary, including the iridescent blue Ulysses and the brightly colored Cairns Birdwing. The butterflies and moths in the main aviary seemed to be most attracted to guests wearing white, so if you hope to have any land on you, white clothes seem like the way to go!

Tour of the Four Seasons Sydney

We loved our stay at the elegant Four Seasons in Sydney, Australia. Our guest room was lovely and the housekeeping staff was especially wonderful; we loved the turndown service, complimentary water bottles, and organic toiletries. We didn’t think a room with a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House was worth the price to upgrade, although we imagine it would have been the icing on the cake!

Tour of the Pullman Reef Hotel Cairns

The 5-star Pullman Reef Hotel in Cairns, Australia is a beautiful hotel with a luxurious, tropical style. Our spacious guest room had a king bed, couch, and writing desk, and the surprisingly large bathroom featured a double vanity, spa bathtub, marble shower, and separate powder room. We loved the perks at the Pullman Reef like the complimentary mini bar, pillow menu, free drink each night in the trendy BAR36, and complimentary daily breakfast in the Thai-inspired Tamarind restaurant.


Tour of the Hilton Cairns

We enjoyed a one night stay at the Hilton Cairns in Queensland, Australia during our trip to the Great Barrier Reef. Our King Deluxe room was clean, the bed was super comfy, and our balcony overlooked the stunning waterfront. The hotel staff was extremely friendly and accommodating of our early check-in and late check-out request, which we greatly appreciated after our (very!) long flight to Australia.

Overall, we found the Hilton Cairns to be a great value for the price, and would definitely consider staying there again.

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