Cairns' tropical location on the north QLD coast makes for an environment that's largely different to the likes of Sydney or Melbourne, and this fact is reflected in the various types of plant and floral life on display in the excellent Cairns Botanic Gardens. Some of the world's rarest plants can be found here, including some vibrant species of orchids and the giant Amorphophallus Titanum - a flower which can weigh up to 70kg! Located just outside the centre of Cairns, the gardens are home to a large variety of unusual plant species that many may not have encountered before; a number of which give of a truly "prehistoric" feel. Cairns Botanic Gardens is a very well maintained and designed attraction that makes for an ideal day out during typically hot Cairns days. The numerous shaded areas provide shelter from the heat along with some great scenery. Its compact size also makes the gardens easy to navigate, while still offering plenty of space to either enjoy a picnic, or a bite purchased from the great on-site cafe. The gardens are divided into five different sections; these include the Gondwana Heritage Garden, Freshwater and Saltwater Lakes and the Zhanjian Friendship Gardens (see a full list below). There are over 4,000 tropical plant species from all over the world on display at the Cairns Botanic Gardens, with many of them labeled for identification purposes. If you're looking for additional insight into the gardens, the staff at the gardens are always happy to help and assist visitors with their enquiries. There are a number of walking trails winding through the gardens as well as interactive touch-screens, signs and iPods available to rent for a guided tour around the grounds. Numerous colourful and exotic butterflies and bird species round out the atmosphere here to create a cavalcade of colour and life that's a joy to explore. Given that it's only 4km from the centre of the city, is free and can keep you occupied for numerous hours. Cairns Botanic Gardens are considered one of Cairns' top free things to do.