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A tropical wonderland: things to do in & around Cairns


Cairns is Australia’s tropical city: a vibrant hub that is the perfect launchpad for seeing some of the country's most stunning sites. Whether you’re a diver, hiker, nature lover or just love basking in Queensland’s sunlit splendour, Cairns is a city where everyone can have an absolute blast!

So, what are some of the awesome adventures that take place in and around this most joyous town? Well, pack your bathers, organise your car hire from Cairns airport and let’s get onto some of the awesome things that await you in the city.

The Great Barrier Reef, of course!

The Great Barrier Reef, alongside Uluru, is at the top of the list of Australian tourism gems. Beachgoers, divers, nature lovers and snorkellers from across the world flock to the Great Barrier Reef, eager to catch a glimpse at just some of the thousands of species of fish, sea animals and coral that inhabit the ginormous stretch of coastline (2,700kms, in fact!).

What makes the reef so wonderful is its sheer, near-endless diversity, and some of the best places to enjoy the reef are located just short catamaran rides from the city of Cairns itself. Yes, whether you are keen on seeing some of the gorgeous inner reef or up to some deep diving on the outer reef, Cairns is one of the ultimate jumping points to enjoy this most incredible natural wonder.

With famous dive sites including Flynn Reef, The Cod Hole and Norman Reef, where you will chance upon anything from tiny clownfish (like Nemo!) to giant minke whales, you can understand how Cairns is a city with plenty to offer swimmers and divers alike!

Head up to the Daintree

The Daintree Rainforest is actually the world’s oldest rainforest, being some 180 million years young, and it's easy to see how amazingly this incredible national park has evolved over the years. The Daintree is home to some of Australia’s unique creatures, including the Southern cassowary, tiger quoll, the ringtail possum and the dainty green tree frog, with each animal providing an incredible snapshot into the way this ecosystem thrives and survives.

What makes the Daintree such a special place to visit is the fantastic array of adventures that take place within the park itself. You can jump aboard a river cruise, made even better by the fact that it’s a river cruise to spot the forest’s prehistoric predator - the saltwater crocodile! But don’t worry, you’ll be perfectly safe in the boat as your guide teaches you about this Jurassic beast (as well as the other fascinating creatures that inhabit the forest).

Next, be sure to take on a tour with a member of the local Kuku Yalanji people, who will teach you all about their traditions and connection to this important region. After a day’s adventuring and learning in the forest, you’ll probably want to refresh yourself a bit, and nowhere is better for that than one of the world’s most beautiful beaches - Cape Tribulation. This giant beachfront is home to some of the most gorgeous tropical scenery in the world, and is the perfect way to relax after a day's forest exploring!

Take in the sunset at the Cairns Esplanade

Cairns Esplanade is a really fun part of town, complete with a lagoon pool, great restaurants, art galleries, an aquarium and markets. One of the best ways to enjoy this gorgeous part of town is by taking in the sunset. The sunset at Cairns Esplanade is simply spectacular, and there are so many great places to take it in and enjoy the amazing yellows, blues, pinks and golds that flash across the northern sky.

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