Cairns is a beach city in North Queensland that is considered a gateway to the Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The city has a small population of just 150,000 but because of it’s proximity the Great Barrier Reef, and the many activities you can do in and around Cairns, it has become a popular tourist hub. There is so much to do and see in the area so in this post I am sharing eight unique things to do in Cairns, to inspire you to visit this diverse coastal city!
1) EXPLORE DAINTREE RAINFOREST
At over 460 square miles, the Daintree Rainforest, located two hours north of Cairns, is a part of the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest on the Australian continent. Daintree Rainforest is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the oldest tropical rainforest in the world. Here you will see beautiful ancient ferns, lush canopy and an array of wildlife. There is so much to do at Daintree Rainforest including zip-lining and taking a river cruise.
2) SCUBA DIVE AT THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
Located off the Coast of Queensland, The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands expanding over 132,973 square miles of ocean. This area offers some of the best diving in the world, supporting an extraordinary diversity of life, including many vulnerable and endangered species. A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism. If you are going to be staying in Cairns visiting the Great Barrier Reef is a must!
3) RELAX AT CAIRNS BOTANIC GARDENS
The Cairns Botanic Gardens is renowned as one of the best exhibitions of tropical plants in Australia. Guided and audio tours are offered at Cairns Botanic Gardens where you can explore the beauty of tropical plants, relax in stunning surroundings and learn about tropical flora and horticulture. The Gardens are open from 7.30am to 5.30pm daily. Entry is free, so if you are looking for unique things to do in Cairns, visiting the Botanic Gardens is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.
4) VISIT GREEN ISLAND
Green Island, just 45 minutes from Cairns, is a world famous tropical cay in the Great Barrier Reef. Surrounded by white sandy beaches and beautiful blue water, this small island, which can be walked around in just 20 minutes, has been one of Cairn’s biggest tourist attractions for over 50 years. Green Island is surrounded by beautiful coral gardens, and is home to 126 native plant species, and an array of birdlife. At Green Island you can do glass bottom boat tours, snorkeling, scuba diving and eco walks through the rainforest.
5) SCENIC DRIVE ON CAPTAIN COOK HIGHWAY
Captain Cook Highway is a short Queensland highway that starts in Cairns and ends in Mossman. This beautiful stretch of highway offers a scenic route for tourists wanting to travel from Cairns north up to Port Douglas. Its beautiful ocean and mountain views and make it one of the best drives in Australia. Just be careful, this road is also considered one of the most dangerous in the country, as it winds along the coast, and is a popular tourist route. If you like exploring uncrowded beaches Captain Cook Highway provides beach access to many along the drive!
6) VISIT PORT DOUGLAS
Port Douglas is home to stunning sandy beaches, eclectic art galleries, great local markets, and is a favorite among celebrities. Port Douglas is just a one hour drive up the coast from Cairns, making it an excellent day trip destination. There are many things to do here including visiting the Wildlife Habitat and strolling on beautiful Four Mile Beach (pictured below).
7) GO FISHING AT SALTWATER CREEK
If you are looking for things do in Cairns going fishing at Saltwater Creek is a great way to get outdoors. This creek has excellent fishing and is home to Barramundi, Mangrove Jack, Flathead, Trevally, Jungle Perch, Sootie Grunter and Queenfish. You don’t need a license for sport fishing in Queensland (except in privately stocked fishing ponds and closed waters), and Saltwater Creek is usually not crowded, making this an excellent place to spend a morning or evening fishing!
8) SWIM AT CRYSTAL CASCADES
Crystal Cascades is a secluded freshwater swimming hole, hidden in a tropical rainforest. Here you will find beautiful water falls and stunning green foliage. Crystal Cascades is located on the outskirts of Cairns, just 20 minutes from the city center, offering a secluded paradise, not visited by any tour companies. There is no public transport to Crystal Cascades, and while you can take a taxi, cell reception is spotty here, so you would have a hard time getting a ride back. So it is best to rent a car and drive yourself, and enjoy the peace and quiet that this remote spot offers.
WHERE TO STAY IN CAIRNS
One of the most important parts of any trip is finding excellent accommodations. AccorHotels has six wonderful hotel options in Cairns, offering something for everyone. Wether you are traveling solo, as a couple, with friends, or with your family you will be able to find the perfect accommodation at one of these lovely properties!
THINGS TO DO IN CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA
I hope this list of things to do in Cairns has inspired you to visit this beautiful beach city on your next trip to Australia. This is just a small list of some of the activities and sights to see in Cairns – with a little research you will discover even more. With all the things to do in Cairns you will likely find yourself wanting to book two trips to this amazing destination, just to try to fit everything in! Happy travels!
This article was sponsored by AccorHotels. Have you been to Cairns? Please share your experience in the comments below!
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