GREAT BARRIER REEF
There are so many ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef. Take a day cruise out to the reef and enjoy a full day of snorkeling and diving. Spend the night out on the reef and even take in a night dive, or see the reef from above in a scenic helicopter ride. A wide variety of options are available, catering to all types of budgets.
KURANDA TRAIN AND SKYRAIL
Experience the world heritage listed Wet Tropics Rainforest with a Kuranda Train and Skyrail tour. Located approximately 15 miles outside of Cairns, start with a 90 minute gondola ride over the forest canopy. Several mid-station stops allow you to get out and take in spectacular views. Allow yourself time to explore the Kuranda "Village of the Rainforest" before heading back to Cairns on the historic and scenic Kuranda Railway.
While snorkeling and diving are high on most lists, the area around Cairns offers a number of different adventure sports. The Barron and Tully Rivers have some of the best white water rafting in Australia. One can also try horseback riding, hang gliding or take a tandem sky dive for a view of the Great Barrier Reef from above.
Cairns offers plenty of dining, nightlife and shopping options to suit all tastes. There are plenty of cafes to grab a nice breakfast and get your caffeine fix. Check out the Esplanade or drive 30 minutes north to Palm Cove to enjoy the incredible restaurants right on the beach. And don't miss the Saturday market at the Esplanade, the Friday night market at Palm Cove and the monthly market at Holloway Beach, where you can find jewelry and other hand-made crafts, great food and fresh local produce.
Port Douglas is a short drive north of Cairns. A resort town, it is a great place to just get away and relax. Enjoy a lazy day on the beautiful and famous Four Mile Beach, take in some golf at a world-class course or enjoy the variety of restaurants, from cafes and pubs to world class dining venues. Take a look at the Nautilus Restaurant - fine food in a rainforest environment.
The oldest lowland rainforest on earth (135 million years old) sits just north of Port Douglas. There are many things to see and do in the area, giving you the option to enjoy a popular day tour from Cairns or staying overnight for a few days in one of the luxury resorts or wilderness eco-lodges. Tours within the rainforest have you experiencing a range of rare plants and animals, like the tree living kangaroo and the prehistoric cassowary bird. One can also spot crocodiles and take a walk on Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the reef.
Some of the oldest cultures in the world can be found Australia, and tropical North Queensland is no exception. Experience authentic music, dance and storytelling or learn how to throw a spear and hunt at a number of Aboriginal tours in the area. Check out the Pamagirri Aboriginal experience, the Mossman Gorge Centre, the Kuku Yalangi Rainforest Aboriginal People and Guurrbi Tours.
The Atherton Tablelands is a fertile plateau that sits 3000 feet above sea level - cooler and lower humidity than Cairns. The area is largely rural, dotted with quaint towns and farms. Coffee lovers should visit the town of Atherton where 90% of Australia's coffee is grown. Wildlife is abundant as are spectacular views of the region.
Fitzroy Island National Park is a short 45 minute ferry ride from Cairns. Experience the island on a day tour or splurge with an overnight stay at the 4.5 star boutique Fitzroy Island Resort. Enjoy the island by relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, kayaking or hiking.