Once an obscure town nestled far north of Queensland, Cairns has since become the travel-destination jewel of Australia. This bustling bay-side city boasts sunny warm weather, amazing scenery, stunning beaches and a laid back ambiance perfect for a memorable vacation. Here are the top 10 (in no particular order) things to do and see in Cairns:
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Quite possibly the best way to get a spectacular view of Cairns’ beautiful scenery, a hot air balloon ride will not disappoint. If you have not been on a hot air balloon ride then Cairns is the best place to start. Get an aerial with of the stunning Great Barrier Reef, cozy up with that special someone as you ride off into the sunset, or simply enjoy the ride and take the in the beautiful Australian terrain.
The Great Barrier Reef
A visit to the Great Barrier Reef is a no-brainer. It is the largest reef system in the world and it is home to stunning aquatic life. There are many way to enjoy the magnificence of the reef; hop onto a helicopter ride to get an aerial with of the reef, sign up for a diving lesson to get up close and personal with the colourful aquatic life or go on a snorkelling adventure with the sea turtles.
Visit Michaelmas Cay
This slice of paradise is a spectacular tiny reef-island surrounded by stunning pristine waters. Michaelmas Cay is one of the most important seabird breeding areas in Australia. It is the only place within the Great Barrier Reef that allows visitors to experience a seabird rookery with high species diversity and large bird populations. The crystal clear waters surrounding Michaelmas Cay makes for a truly outstanding snorkelling experience.
See Platypus in the Wild – Atherton Tablelands
Enjoy a cool and relaxing camping trip in Atherton Tablelands surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Cairns highlands. Also get up close and personal with Platypus in the wild at the Tarzali Lakes Aquaculture Centre. Discover fantastic natural wonders, majestic waterfalls and tropical fruit farms.
Created by Jose Paronella and officially opened in 1935, Paronella Park is 13 acres of lush greenery and vibrant flowers. This gorgeous park houses many Moorish inspired concreted structures; one of the must-sees is the Grand Staircase. Whether it is during the day or at night the park offers visitors an enchanting experience.
Shopping – Great Local Art, Craft and Produce at Cairns Markets
What is a vacation without some shopping? The Saturday Esplanade in Cairns is the best place to get jewellery, clothing and locally made skincare. Alternatively head over to the Friday Night Market at Palm Cove for some scrumptious grub, exciting shopping and a bustling social night life. If fresh produce is your thing then try Rusty’s where you can find the best regional produce at affordable prices.
Visit Green Island
Located just off the coast of Cairns, Green Island is a beautiful 6000 year old coral cay within view of the Great Barrier Reef. This tropical island is also a National Park, home to colourful bird-life, over 120 plant species and the island is also surrounded by beautiful coral gardens and exciting to marine life. Try the iconic SeaWalker helmet diving an exquisite experience that allow visitors to get a 360 degree look at marine life and a chance to spot sea turtles.
Kuranda Train and Skyrail
Take a tour of Australia’s World Heritage listed Tropical Rainforest on a scenic ride. Board on the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway, this spectacular 2 hour journey will bring your through Barron Gorge National Park’s rugged mountains, past beautiful teeming waterfalls, over 40 bridges spanning sheer drops and through 15 tunnels.
Visit Fitzroy Island
One of the less common islands in Cairns, Fitzroy Island is the ideal choice if you are looking to go island exploring without having to share the island with hordes of tourists. This tropical paradise is also listed as a national park and its pristine waters make for an outstanding snorkelling experience.
Cairns Night Zoo Safari
The party starts when the sun goes down at the Cairns Night Zoo, experience nocturnal wildlife in their natural habitat. But before you embark on this exciting adventure, enjoy a scrumptious Aussie BBQ dinner. After dinner the safari’s guides will lead you into the darkness to meet wildlife such as koala bears, owls, possums, crocodiles and many more.