The northernmost tip of Queensland is the only place in the world where two natural World Heritage areas come together, the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Discover the untouched wilderness of Australia’s wild north in Cape York and the Torres Strait Islands.
The capital of Tropical North Queensland is the perfect jumping-off point for the Great Barrier Reef, with boats departing every day to cruise, snorkel and dive. Seek out waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands close to the city, eat fresh seafood on the trawler-turned-restaurant Prawn Star in the marina and pick up some colourful local produce at Rusty’s Markets.
Cairns International Airport is 10 minutes from the city centre, with flights to most Australian capitals and cities in New Zealand, Asia and PNG.
The dreamy resort town of Port Douglas is a popular spot for local and visiting foodies. Spend a day in the green surrounds of Mossman Gorge and swim in the many sheltered waterholes. In September, celebrate the flavours of Tropical North Queensland alongside celebrity chefs and local producers at the annual Taste festival.
Port Douglas is a one-hour drive north from Cairns.
Come to where the rainforest meets the reef. The vast Wet Tropics World Heritage Area includes the ancient Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation, threaded with walking trails, waterfalls, rivers and gorges. Connect with one of the oldest cultures on earth and learn the Dreamtime stories of the Indigenous people who have lived here for over 50,000 years.
Snorkel straight from the beach on Green Island and dive with inquisitive potato cod off five-star Lizard Island. Take a dip surrounded by the boulders at Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island, voted Australia’s best in 2018, or check into one of just 10 luxury villas on the exclusive Bedarra Island. Adventurous travellers can head for the remote Torres Strait, a string of untouched 274 islands with a unique blend of cultures.
Full- and half-day tours run from Cairns to Green Island. Lizard Island is a private resort and can only be accessed by a one-hour scenic flight from Cairns. Horn Island in the Torres Strait is a two-hour flight from Cairns.