When it comes to great Australian cities, Cairns is often forgotten about. Now Cairns is not big by any means but like the saying goes, it’s not the size that matters, it’s what you do with it. And for such a small place, Cairns has a lot to offer. Located in the Tropical North Queensland is this comparatively little city is a dream to adventurers and tourists alike bringing a mix of coral reefs and tropical beaches nearby lush rainforests and mountain views. There really is a little something for everyone and every bit is as exciting as the next.
Image thanks to The Great Barrier Reef Foundation
People who say The Great Barrier Reef is overrated are wrong. The place is out of this world amazing and really one of a kind. With it’s mix of unique and sometimes rare wildlife with the colourful coral reefs makes this place amazing. The best way to see the reef is to go snorkeling or scuba diving at any of the 2,900 individual reefs that make up the whole Great Barrier Reef. In the end you’ll probably end up going back because after going one time, you’ll still have barely scratched the surface. Many excursions offer extra activities on the day trips like helicopter rides, semi-submarines and guided snorkel trips which are great if you’re curious to learn about what you are actually seeing instead of just looking at this beautiful place.
Image thanks to Fitzroy Island
Fitzroy Island is a small resort island 45 minutes off the coast of Cairns. If you are looking for a quiet place to enjoy some water activities, get a great view of the mainland or experience some beautiful reefs then this is the place to be. Fitzroy Island has 4 different hiking trails for all skill levels, 3 beaches to relax and enjoy, 2 reef locations to snorkel at, and 1 awesome water trampoline! Plus a bunch of other fun activities.
This island is not to be missed! Great for a day trip or head to the island resort to stay a few nights. You can even be extra adventurous and camp next to the beach! If you’re after a challenge, hike up to the trail to the summit and get beautiful panoramic views of the island.
Travelers tip: If you’re going to enjoy the beach make sure you wear shoes since the beach is crushed coral instead of sand.
Image thanks to Destination Daintree
Thought to be the oldest rainforest in the world, the experience you’ll have here is almost magical. Head up to the Mossman Gorge to walk across the suspension bridge. Reward your bravery afterwards with a nice dip into the Mossman River below. Other activities in the rainforest include Crocodile River Cruises, hiking, and looking out for wildlife like koalas, cassowaries, and kangaroos! The Daintree should definitely earn a spot on your to do list.
Image tanks to Peppers
If you are looking for a beautiful beach town with that resort life vibe check out Palm Cove. It’s about 45 minutes public transport from Cairns and is the definition of paradise. With the beach lined with quaint, boutique type restaurants and cafes (we recommend the Fish’n’Chips at Chill Cafe) ,there is plenty to do here.
Fish ‘n Chips at Chill Cafe-Image thanks to TripAdvisor
Take a kayak tour around the nearby island aptly named Double Island, go window (or real) shopping, hire a standup paddle board, or just take a well deserved nap in a hammock on the beach. Whatever you decide to do will be a great choice.
Cairns is absolutely a gem of a town. With a free lagoon right in the middle of town that kids and adults can cool off in, to street performers and tasty food there is something for everyone. If Cairns isn’t on your list of places to go you are doing yourself an injustice.