Bucket list

Five Cairns experiences you should not miss

A modern, vibrant city set between thriving rainforest and spectacular reef, Cairns is the tropical wilderness destination with something for everyone. Explore the artisan products of the hinterland at the weekly Kuranda markets, finding a trove of treasures hand-crafted by local makers. Dive into the Great Barrier Reef and find yourself in an underwater kingdom of marine biology and sea life. Immerse yourself in ancient rainforest up at Cape Tribulation, or even take yourself on an island getaway by boarding a boat to Fitzroy or Green Island – just to name a few of the more-than-600 that make up the main archipelago!

Visit the world’s oldest tropical rainforest

Transport yourself back through time with a walk through the wet tropics rainforest. This World Heritage-listed area is more than 80 million years older than the Amazon and is also more biodiverse than the Galapagos Islands. Cairns is the perfect base to get out and adventure through the pristine wilderness on a one-day tour up to Cape Tribulation, which includes a Daintree wildlife cruise. Think crystal clear water, powerful rapids and luscious green canopies. If chasing waterfalls is your thing, the renowned Waterfall Circuit is sure to delight. Self-drive to the breathtaking Millaa Millaa Falls for a morning dip, followed by an afternoon picnic at either Zillie Falls or Ellinjaa Falls. Keep your eyes peeled for the electric blue Ulysses butterfly fluttering amongst the rainforest canopy – and the electric blue cassowary bird!

Test out your outdoor adventure skills

For those feeling like their last year has been a little lacklustre, Cairns has plenty of activities for adventure lovers big and small. If you’re feeling daring, take a wild ride down the rapids of the Barron River with a white water rafting expedition. Level up again by setting out on grade 3 and 4 rapids in the Tully River. If hurtling towards the ground at unfathomable speeds is more your thing, you can skydive from a plane at 14,000ft, or even take a leap at Australia’s only bungy site and Cairns’ tallest viewing platform.

Live your island paradise dreams

If you’re lusting for a tropical overseas getaway, add Cairns to the top of your bucket list. The 2,300-kilometre long Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral system on the entire planet. Home to a wild variety of marine life, it’s the place to marvel at eclectic fish, bright seaweed and even a friendly turtle, dolphin or reef shark. The reef is also dotted with hundreds of beautiful islands – many of which can be reached for a day trip or even booked for an overnight stay. Green Island and Fitzroy Island are both declared national parks, with each offering the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure. Snorkel or dive the reef from the islands’ shores, trek through the dense rainforest or laze on the sand under a beach umbrella. Some tours even offer you the opportunity to board a glass-bottomed boat to gaze through an underwater window at what lies below.

Make like a hippie and head to Kuranda

Nestled in the rainforest highlands is the cool and quirky mountain retreat of Kuranda. Locals in the area tend to champion an alternative lifestyle, which makes for fabulous markets and village shopping. There are also spectacular walks to enjoy and boutique wildlife attractions such as Koala Gardens, Birdworld and the Butterfly Sanctuary. If you’re driving, be sure to check out Barron Gorge National Park en route, but there are other ways to get to Kuranda that are just as exciting! Travel through the treetops with a scenic ride on the Skyrail, overlooking the vast Cairns coastline and magnificent hinterland. When you’re ready to head back to base, catch the scenic rail back to Cairns.

Cairns Esplanade and Lagoon

Laidback central Cairns is the perfect place to unwind. There’s plenty to do in the city itself – not to mention a diverse range of eateries to try thanks to the rich cultural mosaic of the region. Meander through the bustling night markets and the Cairns Esplanade markets each Saturday, which showcase local artisan crafts, foods and jewellery. Visit Rusty’s Markets, smack bang in the centre of town, and sample the fresh fruit unique to tropical Far North Queensland. Finish your day with a dreamy sunset swim in the refreshing saltwater lagoon on Cairns Esplanade.

Start planning your visit to Cairns here, with our range of curated experiences certain to make your holiday extraordinary. Cairns is one of the main holiday hubs in North Queensland and a popular gateway to the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Fill your days with full-on experiences right here for an extraordinary stay in Cairns.

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