Cairns is a city in the northern part of Queensland that also serves as the main entrance path to the Great Barrier Reef. It is worth taking a cruise in the bay of Cairns and it is here where you can explore access points with leisure activities that are always related to water like; boat cruises, snorkelling, and deep sea diving to have a closer look of the colorful fishes, marine wildlife, and various coral formations on its ocean floor. To discover the Great Barrier Reef is the ultimate highlight of the tourism activity in this part of Australia. It is exquisite, worth knowing, and totally unparalleled because there is nothing else in the world that can match its striking nature or beat the experience of seeing all types of shark, crocodiles, and fish of all colors. Along the Esplanade Boardwalk is where it all happens in Cairns. It not only has a nice view of the ocean, there is also a public swimming area (more leg bays), which is frequently visited by backpackers and a pleasant place to stay for families with or without children.
When To Go:
Ideally, the summer months that start from November and lasts until the end of March (with monsoon months of January to February) is the best time to see Cairns. It is also the perfect time to see the wild animals in the forest as they hunt and search for food. Exploring the Great Barrier Reef around this time will yield beautiful pictures of coral reefs and tropical fishes because this is the time when they spawn and go up and about the growing corals. There is also a high incidence of crocodile spotting in summer, which is their official mating season. If you plan to go around during the low temperature or winter months, schedule your holiday and sightseeing from the months of April to October. It is also the best time to see whales or humpback whales in their season of migration. These months are also regarded as the “Trade Winds” season where tourists and locals spend more time along the beach and swim in the cold ocean, but tolerable enough with no chances of having jellyfish stings or sunburn.
While Cairns have an agreeable temperature all year round, it also has its share of low season and where tourism is not much active. The months of January to February manifests strong rainfall and rare chances of cyclones to develop around the coastal areas. However, even if it rarely occurs, people tend to stay away from the ocean and explore activities and attractions on land.
Here are the main attractions and
things to do
in the city of Cairns…
is an interesting presentation that is rich in anecdotes by the flora and fauna enthusiasts and certified diving instructors of Cairns. It is an absolute must and a great way to educate anyone who wants to dive and explore the Great Barrier Reef. It has simple presentations mixed with great humor and excellent educational materials (videos, photos, samples, and diving stories). Gareth is one of the resident instructors and he can explain simple ways and some complex interactions of the aquatic world. The place also teaches the need to protect the marine ecosystem of Australia. The brief seminar about the Great Barrier Reef is suitable for both novice and experienced divers and the conference brings a number of interesting and entertaining supplements for the diving connoisseurs.
Spend a fun and educational two hours of easily accessible information on the reef and its underwater inhabitants served by a skilled marine biologist. In a way, it serves as an obligatory passage before going to the reef because it provides an overview of everything you can find on the reef, learn the various types of corals, and learn to recognize the different fish and how to identify potential environmental hazards. It is a must for snorkelers and divers and one of the most rewarding things to do when in Cairns. Free lunch, tea and cookies are kindly offered by the house.
is the promenade area of the amazing city of Cairns. Because the sea in the town becomes difficult to enjoy the simple pleasures like bathing (and frequent appearance of the endangered crocodiles and jellyfish stings), the government decided to build a large communal pool with an artificial beach patrolled by lifeguards in which you can swim without danger of being harassed by the stings of the jellyfish and the menacing presence of the crocodiles. They have also installed between the vegetation area, a row of electric barbecue grills that can be used freely and built a wooden walkway (with fitness facilities) that runs along the ocean where you can run or enjoy beautiful sunsets among other things; there is also a free Wi-Fi Internet connection.
You will be impressed by the landscape and the presence of some cafeterias. It has a vast area for walking and has public exercise equipments and posters with the region’s history. At one end of the “boardwalk” you will arrive at the port from which the tour to the Great Barrier Reef begins. A walk through this scenic and structured boulevard along the sea is a relaxing and soothing experience to calm one’s senses. It is surrounded by the main hotels and fancy restaurants of Cairns. The Esplanade Boardwalk has a recreation area with a huge public pool of high quality, built and open for all without any entrance fee. Along the side, there are gardens, squares, and complete leisure structure for various activities. It is the most pleasant place in the center of Cairns; do not miss it!
Cairns Botanic Gardens
Cairns Botanic Gardens
is a lovely place to stroll and admire exotic plants, orchids, and observe the sustainable balance of nature in the city. You can rent a mountain bike and go around the botanical garden, stop at the amphitheatre for a cup of coffee, or have a taste of freshly grilled meat or fish in the public barbecue area. Aside from the bike ride, you can enjoy a walk in the woods that is structured to cater to visitors where they have great options for exercise, read a book in a quiet corner or simply appreciate the local nature and all green surroundings.
The last Sunday of every month offer a lot of social activities and local events around the market where you can also discover exciting places to eat. It is nice to walk, take pictures, and get lost among its lush vegetation. There are lots of information available for those who want a more educational visit. It is a relaxing activity that is guaranteed to satisfy all nature lovers!
At first glance, the
looks like a normal park for small children, but looking more closely, you will notice that it has many other attractions designed for children by making it an excellent base for parents who want to take a break while watching their kids play in the water. The snack bar is next to the playground and on the sea front, there are lots of good options for fish and chips, ice cream, drinks and a chance to try and taste some of Cairn’s local dishes.
It is a wonderful children’s playground with a huge number of attractions for children and located among the thick foliage of magnolias, it is so large and interesting that it is possible to go on for hours and just have a fun time bonding with your kids. For those travelling with children this stop is mandatory and unhurried! It is equipped with a public playground and several fun toys, with some areas designed for kids who like the thrill of the splashing water and increasing the fun experience even more!
It takes 25 minutes from Quincy to find the
. Unfortunately, swimming is not allowed, but it’s a great place for walking and barbecue. If you walk a little further and go down the path through the woods, you can reach a very nice secluded beach with wonderful views and where most tours to see the Great Barrier Reef is offered. There are small apartments across the road from the sea where most tourists and divers prefer to stay. Along the beach there is a promenade, a few cafes and restaurants, there is also a shop where you can buy souvenir products, and equipment for professional deep sea diving. Trinity Beach is a comfortable place to explore the surrounding area of Cairns and convenient for travels because it is close to the airport.
It is an oasis of peace and tranquillity on Cairns even if the bathing area is closed to the public because of the presence of various animals (crocodile and jellyfish) that suddenly pop out of nowhere (during the spawning and mating months only), but it offers views of the islands that is definitely noteworthy. The fact that it is located next to the Great Barrier Reef makes it more interesting and a sight to behold.
This bird sanctuary is used by many operators of mini-cruises as the starting point for exploring the Great Barrier Reef. The entry into the waters of the
is smooth and blessed with soft sand and it is always nice to make a stop and see the living and colorful corals surrounding the island.
It is a small island of white sand in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef and full of birds that surround you without fear. Once you arrive, you can begin snorkelling from the beach with crystal clear blue-green waters and see the wonders of nature from the start.
is easily reached by an hour boat ride from Cairns. It is worth visiting, but if you want to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef you have to go elsewhere because the backdrop of Green Island does not offer much. The corals here are few, and those near the shore are quite ruined by people who accidentally trample on them.
There are numerous fish of various sizes and with a little luck you can swim close to the sea turtles, but it is not an ideal place for snorkelling. It certainly deserves to be seen, however, keep in mind that it is hotter and humid during the summer months. The lifeguards in this island are always present and attentive. The island is very touristy and far from the unspoiled paradise image present in other islands of the barrier. It has good resort and shops, in addition to public bathrooms with shower.
Kuranda Scenic Railway
Kuranda Scenic Railway
is an excursion made through the jungles and the interesting town of Kuranda which can all be done in one day. The ride begins on board a vintage train in one direction and cable car ride to return back to the jump off point. If you take group tickets in advance, you can redeem a discount on the ticket price. It is best to come in the morning, and when you reach Kuranda, it is highly recommended to spend more time knowing this quaint town in Cairns. The idyllic route offers a beautiful view of the city, as well as the ocean. The trip is accompanied by a story about the construction of the railway (narrated in English). One stop is done near a waterfall and you can take pictures or observe the unique landscape.
The Kuranda Scenic Railway was built in the late 19th century and runs through an attractive rain forest, and part of the railway is laid on the territory of the nature reserve called the Barron. During the trip, you can admire rich and exotic vegetation, waterfalls, and the breathtaking mountain scenery. At the Barron Falls, the train makes a stop where you can walk and enjoy the lovely vistas. The return trip via cable car makes 2 interesting stops along the way. If you have enough time, you can get on a tour and walk through the jungle. In general, the tour is pretty interesting and not boring.
Tablelands, Waterfalls, and Spanish Castle
It is a good trip around the mountains near Cairns, where you can visit the
and a visit to the ruins of an old
built in the 1930s by an eccentric millionaire
The terrace is nice, located right on the harbor, and near the best restaurants in Cairns. The tablelands or the plateau part open doors to the rain forest that is populated by animals that are easier to see and very common in Australia like the small marsupials and the amethyst boa. It is a lovely journey to the rainforest part of Queensland and an ideal activity to spend the weekend with the family. Everywhere you turn there are souvenir shops or tour agencies and you can find free maps about Tableland that are clear and informative enough.
The Tablelands passes through the drive 2 road via Kuranda or through Gordonvale. The second way is more interesting, because you have about 50 km drive that will pass on a spiral road in the mountains. On one side, you will see an open and amazing landscape and on the other side of the cliff, the most scenic and impressive views of Cairns. The Tablelands are situated above 1,000 km and it is a little cooler (3- 4 degrees colder). This is a region of rain and fog and along the road there are signposts by which one can understand what attraction ahead (all the tourist places are equipped with toilets). There are many interesting and beautiful waterfalls and lots more on your way to the local coffee shop. It is interesting to go in and really try the local dishes. And yes, swimming is allowed on the rivers and lakes area. In the tablelands there is no crocodile or jellyfish and the water is very clear, but really cold!
Trail Bike Adventures
Trail Bike Adventures
is an Enduro rain forest hiking journey in Cairns. Most of the people who have experienced this thrilling bike ride swear it is beyond what they expected of and a real must for the off road motorcycling enthusiast. The varied path from the track, crossing, rivers, and narrow passage in the drill makes this outdoor activity truly exciting. The team is passionate about riding and you will experience a different kind of sightseeing tour and a deeper appreciation of Cairns. It is a family run business that thrives with passion and dedication to promote this fast growing city. The guides adapt the course according to the driver’s level and allow everyone to enjoy the ride.
Cairns beyond any doubt has made a ton of progress in a moderately short time and it appears that every year this former plain town in Australia’s tropical north is fast developing to turn into a standout amongst the most visited destinations in the archipelago not only by its local tourists but attracting a wide share of international audience who are eager to explore and discover the depths and the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. This remarkable increase in tourism activity is not surprising and certainly not difficult to comprehend because this attractive town has an array of exciting things to do both on land and on the water.