Cairns

As the heart of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics rainforest, Cairns pulses with energy. More than 600 tours a day make the most of the year-round outdoor lifestyle while world-class sporting events and festivals embrace the cosmopolitan city's vibrant tropical culture.

Energised by nature, Cairns is the place to soak up the tropical lifestyle. Discover an exciting city that takes pride in its cultural heritage and where time seems to last a little longer. Swim at the Esplanade lagoon, sample local produce at a farmer's market, enjoy free entertainment, shop for a summer wardrobe or cruise around the marina.

Take a tip from the locals for a cool dip at a secluded freshwater swimming hole, jump on a bike for a sightseeing tour along the city's network of cycle paths, marvel at tropical plants in the Botanic Gardens, browse the galleries or catch an act in a unique rainforest venue.

After dark choose a lively bar for drinks, taste local seafood at an award-winning restaurant, party on a dance floor, discover treasures at the markets or watch a local cultural show.

Choose from a wide range of accommodation including five-star international hotels, luxurious resorts, waterfront apartments, family-friendly motels and fun backpacker hostels.

The compact city is easy to get around and has the reef, rainforest and outback on its doorstep. With the Cairns International and Domestic airports only 10 minutes from the Central Business District, Cairns is the ideal entry point for a Tropical North Queensland adventure.

Travel from the city's Reef Fleet Terminal to the Great Barrier Reef and its islands, raft the white water rapids in the rainforest, step back in time with a train ride to Kuranda or treat your tastebuds to one of the many food and wine trails on the Atherton Tablelands.

Whether you want to flirt with adventure or be enchanted by exotic experiences, Cairns has it all.

Find What's Nearby

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Places to Visit
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Clump Mountain National Park

Mission Beach, Cassowary Coast Area
Free Entry
This park, on the scenic coast just north of Mission Beach, contains some of the few remaining patches of undisturbed tropical lowland rainforest in North Queensland. These rainforest remnants are important habitat for the endangered southern cassowary.

Malanda Falls Conservation Park

Malanda, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
Surrounded by dense rainforest, the North Johnstone River tumbles over basalt rock that was formed by an ancient lava flow at Malanda Falls. The much-photographed picturesque falls flow into an artificial swimming pool in this popular park near Malanda.

Millstream Falls National Park

Ravenshoe, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
Plunging over the edge of a columnar basalt lava flow, Big Millstream Falls is reputedly the widest single-drop waterfall in Australia. Lying in the rain shadow of the eastern dividing ranges, the dry open woodland here is in stark contrast with the rainforest which is only kilometres away.

Mount Hypipamee National Park

Atherton, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
This park features a diatreme (a volcanic pipe or vent) thought to have been created by a massive gas explosion. The gaping hole is 70 metres wide with steep granite sides that plunge 58 metres to the lake below.

Curtain Fig Tree

Yungaburra, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
The Curtain Fig National Park contains the renowned Curtain Fig Tree, an enormous strangler fig tree. Located a short drive out of Yungaburra, a small town in the Atherton Tableland, the giant tree has several aerial roots hanging down from its branches that look like curtains.

Eubenangee Swamp National Park

Babinda, Cairns Area
Free Entry
One of the most important wetlands between Ingham and Cairns, Eubenangee Swamp is a birdwatchers' paradise, with over 190 species of birds recorded. Situated in the lowlands east of the Bellenden Ker Range (the wettest part of Australia), much of this park is flooded during the wet season.
Free Entry
Josephine Falls, a scenic section of Wooroonooran National Park, features a scenic waterfall fed by rains falling on Queensland's highest peak, Bartle Frere, which looms above this popular picnic area.

Curtain Fig National Park

Yungaburra, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
This park protects a small area of an endangered type of forest, called mabi forest, the local Aborignal (Ngadjon) word for the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo. The large fig tree found in this park is unique because the extensive aerial roots, that drop 15 metres to the forest floor, have formed a 'curtain'.

Frankland Group National Park

Deeral, Cairns Area
Free Entry
Surrounded by extensive fringing reefs, the five islands of Frankland Group National Park feature rocky outcrops, dense rainforest, mangroves and coastal vegetation, making them a haven for wildlife. A colony of spectacled flying-foxes roosts on Russell Island, while manta rays and sea turtles have been spotted in nearby waters, part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Lake Barrine, Crater Lakes National Park

Yungaburra, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
This popular park features a deep crater lake surrounded by cool lush rainforest. Lake Barrine, part of Crater Lakes National Park, is a maar: a crater lake formed by volcanic explosions. In several places, large bull kauri pines, a species that once dominated the tableland forests, emerge through the rainforest canopy.
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