You’re unlikely to visit Queensland’s tropical north without at least passing through Cairns, and there’s plenty of reasons to stop here too. With a wide array of Great Barrier Reef cruises, diving trips and overnighters leaving from Cairns, the city also boasts the gorges and rivers of the Daintree Rainforest and the Atherton Tablelands right on its doorstep, so the possibilities are endless.
Here you'll find all of our Cairns recommendations including our suggested itinerary. To start planning your Cairns holiday, talk to one of our Travel Experts today on 0800 707 6010.
Aside from its endless sunny days and laid-back lifestyle, most visit Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef. But it’s so much more than simply the gateway to the world’s biggest natural aquarium; there’s a burgeoning café culture to consider, not to mention fantastic food (the fresh deep-fried calamari here is divine) and markets selling myriad wares and produce. It’s also the perfect jumping off point for some of Tropical North Queensland’s other natural wonders. From here you can explore the UNESCO-listed Daintree National Park, home to one of the oldest rainforests on earth and the majestic Cape Tribulation. And the day trips don’t end there: off the coast there’s the paradisiacal Fitzroy Island, while inland you can learn about aboriginal culture at Tjapuaki, ride the Kuranda Skyrail, and eat ‘til you burst in the food-rich Atherton Tablelands.
Did you know?
If you don’t fancy throwing yourself off a huge cliff, you can try the world's shortest bungee instead (the cord is 30cm long) at the Gilligan’s Backpackers Resort in the city centre. Participants jump off a ledge that’s just four metres high.
Undara National Park, located in the Cairns region, boasts the world's longest lava vents – they’re 20 metres wide and stretch for nearly 100 miles.
It’s home to one of Australia’s renowned ‘Big Things’ – an eight-metre-tall ‘Big Marlin’, located outside the Stockland Shopping Centre.
The Cairns region is also home to Queensland's tallest peak, Mount Bartle Frere
How to get around
Explore on foot around the Esplanade
There are few better ways to explore a city than under your own steam. Thankfully, Cairns’ CBD is easy to walk around – especially if you’re staying near the Esplanade. Easily one of the busiest areas for locals and tourists, the Esplanade even has a pedestrianised section, making it even better for exploring on foot. You can also navigate the streets by bike; you can rent your wheels from pretty much any hotel or tour desk. To explore the suburbs and surrounds however, you’ll need to have a car.