Cairns, Australia — known as the gateway to the country’s tropical north region that is still fairly untouched by modern-day life. This city is as laid-back as it gets in Australia and is an absolute mecca for outdoor lovers.
Cairns also acts as a springboard to Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef and surrounding Whitsundays which are both considered national treasures. Whether you’re an Australian local or plan on visiting this area, here are the top Cairns attractions to add to your to-do list.
1The Iconic Great Barrier Reef
If you’re heading to this part of Australia, you don’t want to miss a diving or snorkeling trip along the Great Barrier Reef. Not only is this an Australian national treasure, but it’s also a World Heritage Area.
If you aren’t an experienced diver, you can partake in a number of different snorkeling tours with designated operators that take you to all of the best snorkeling spots. These tours usually last most of the day and include the gear you need, as well as a packed lunch.
Some of the best operators include Reef Magic, Quicksilver, or Sunlover Reef Cruises for snorkeling. If you’re looking for an other-worldly diving experience, you want to go with Pro Dive Cairns’ ScubaPro or Divers Den’s OceanQuest.
2Explore the Daintree Rainforest
Other than its gorgeous seaside locale, Cairns is also known for its backdrop of dense tropical rainforest. The Daintree Rainforest is also a World Heritage Area and offers a magical experience for all outdoor lovers.
Explore this part of Northern Queensland and you’ll get to see ancient ferns, lush tropical canopies, waterfalls, and some of the world’s rarest bird and wildlife, if you’re lucky. You might want to take a guided night walk through the rainforest in search of Australian wildlife — these guides know what is best and what to look for.
There are also options to cruise along the Daintree River in search of crocodiles or take a zip-line tour through the tall canopies of the jungle.
3Explore Cairns’ Surrounding Islands
With just a short boat ride from the main harbor in Cairns, you will find yourself in the heart of the Whitsunday islands, which is a collection of small, natural cays that are completely untouched and wild.
Live out your Castaway dreams on any number of these beautiful cays, but make sure to visit Fitzroy Island in particular. Home to a turtle rehabilitation center, mangroves, and impossibly clear waters, you can reach this slice of heaven within 45-minutes via ferry.
4Go Waterfall Chasing
A trip to Cairns is not complete without a swim in one of its many waterfall pools. And there are plenty of astounding waterfalls to choose from. One of the most popular swimming spots includes Babina Boulders for its crystal clear, turquoise waters, surrounded by lush rainforest.
From there, make your way to the epic site of Devil’s Pool for a roaring look at Mother Nature’s power. Josephine Falls is also an amazing sight to see, so add this to your list of waterfalls, too.
5Experience White Water Rafting on Tully River
If you’re a thrill-seeker and looking for a great Cairn’s experience, you want to head to the Tully River. This is an all-day activity with grade 3-4 level rapids that will put your rafting skills to the test. Lap up the mind-blowing scenery around you in-between the rapids and look out for local wildlife sightings.
Looking For More on Cairns Attractions and Travel Tips?
This just scratches the surface on the best Cairns attractions to experience when visiting this part of Northern Queensland. If you’re on the hunt for travel inspiration — it’s right at your fingertips.
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