Beaches & Reefs Reverse
5 Mar 2010
Time of my life! I highly recommend it. I took this tour in December 09 which I thought was a great time of year to visit, beginning of summer so the weather was great, hot but not scorching like I expected. And it was pretty much sunshine the entire tour. I chose to do the reverse tour because I wanted to end in Sydney and spend an extra week there for New Years...and many others on the tour did the same so I had plenty of new friends to hang with. <BR><BR>Prior to booking I didn't realize Beaches & Reefs would be joining with other tours where people were coming and going. I was a little bummed to find out about 20-25 people had already been together for 11 days on the Aussie Explorer so cliques were already formed but the remaining 25-30 of us who were just starting in Cairns quickly formed our own bond. Not gonna lie, we were a little divided but it wasn't much of an issue. Slowly but surely we started to mix & mingle as we made our way south. The majority of the group was on the tour until Sydney but a few people finished at the Whitsundays and a few more in Surfers (Cairns Sunshine Trail). And a few people who were supposed to finish up, paid extra and decided to continue on because they didn't want to miss out on the fun as they already bonded with the group. After thinking about it, I felt the reverse was better because I never felt that I missed out on the Northern Territory (Aussie Explorer) tour and happenings before I arrived, but the thought of leaving a tour that was continuing on without me, I would feel like I was missing out. Which as I explained, a few people were lucky enough to have more time off because they decided to continue on. <BR><BR>This post can get really long so let me try to sum up the excursions. <img src="http://connect.contiki.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif" alt="Smiler" width="15" height="15"><!--graemlin::)--> Cairns, do the reef cruise. About 95% of the group did it and it's a good way to get to know your tour the first day. I went skydiving the next day, amazing! A lot of people went white water rafting too. FYI, if you plan to scuba dive in Cairns then you can't skydive the day after for safety regulations. If you really want to scuba dive, save skydiving for Surfers (but in Cairns you can jump from 14,000ft which is the highest you can go). <BR><BR>Whitsundays, do the 2 night sail! It was the highlight of my trip. If you're looking for luxury, stay on Daydream Island, but for the experience...sail! Sooo fun. And if you do the sail, you'll stay have a 3rd night to spend on Daydream so you get the best of both worlds. <BR><BR>Not much to do on the farm, so just enjoy the experience and have a fun night of karaoke with the group. Fraser Island is awesome. I did the full day 4WD tour and it is absolutely worth it to get to Lake McKenzie which is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I don't think anyone did the 1/2 day tour. Some people rented 4WD vehicles and had a good time too. But for one group who did that, the clutch in the truck broke and they were charged $1000 for it. Stick with the tour, it's safer. <BR><BR>Surfer's was probably my least favorite stop but that's just my opinion. It's kind of the Miami of Australia and it's just not my scene...for the nightlife anyway. I did the Tiger Moth Bi-Plane with Aerobatics. That was awesome! Anyone who couldn't skydive in Cairns, did it in Surfers. There are so many excursions here so it's hard to choose. Some people did a Harley ride, some did kayaking. I chose to relax after my plane ride. Dracula's was a great time too. If you have a sense of humor, go. <BR><BR>Save the surf lessons for Surf Camp because that's all there is to do there. I was terrible but had so much fun. Unfortunately I can't really comment on Shoal Bay. It was Christmas Eve when we got there so we had dinner and all ended up partying in one hotel room together. And the next day the excursions were canceled (dolphin swim and whatever else there was...) b/c it was Christmas day. So we got an early start for Sydney and ended there. The tour kind of got cut short for the holiday. <BR><BR>Overall, the trip was an absolute blast. Sorry, it was so long, but I hope this helps in your decision. Let me know if you have any questions!