Famed for its first-class access to the nation’s biggest drawcards, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, these world-heritage sites stamp Cairns on the map as Australia’s nature capital with some serious adventure game.
No matter who you are or how long you’re there, Cairns is a bucket list destination that speaks for itself when it comes to flaunting its natural assets. You could be rubbing fins with Nemo while you snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, surfing your way through the jungle of the Daintree Rainforest or hammock-side on a tropical island all within a day.
Whether you’re gliding above the rainforest, meeting the local wildlife or learning about the indigenous history of the region, Cairns is brimming with nature and adventure experiences for every sized explorer. See these top 10 Cairns experience to add to your itinerary.
Stretching over 2300kms, the Great Barrier Reef consists of 900 islands and 2900 individual reefs so as you can imagine, the ways you tick off this bucket list item is extensive, and the scenery is nothing short of spectacular.
Whether you choose to sail, scuba, snorkel, cruise, fly, skydive or island hop, on, in or over the Great Barrier Reef, you can guarantee there is an experience for whatever floats your boat.
Here are some of the best ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns:
Cairns is brimming with nature experiences, and tours are the best way to see as much as you can.
Deciding how you should experience the greatest reef on earth? Check out which Great Barrier Reef Tour is for you.
The adventure capital will certainly deliver some of the best adrenaline experiences to really get your tummy turning with our guide for adventure packed things to do in Cairns.
For an all-inclusive 5-star experience where kids under 12 can stay and eat breakfast for free, rest your head at the Pullman Reef Resort and Casino. If your tribe is looking for a more resort-like vibe, you can’t go past the Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort with its lagoon style pool and epic pool bar menu. Enjoy views of the Coral Sea and stay at Waters Edge Apartments Cairns on the Esplanade. Other accommodation options include the Mantra Trilogy and the Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort.
If you’re coming to Cairns for a good time not a long time, there are a bunch of backpacker options to suit any budget. Check out Nomads Cairns or Cairns Central YHA for a central place to hit the sack and save your dollars for the more important experiences in the region.
Cairns Airport is the fifth busiest airport in Australia and an international gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The Cairns Esplanade is just over 10 minutes from Cairns Airport and there are plenty of transportation options to get you from the airport to your hotel.
You can take the Airport Connect for $4 one way or $6 return which links Cairns Airport with the public transport network at the Sheridan Street bus stops. From here Translink offer services to Cairns City or Northern Beaches for a minimum of $2.20 for an adult single fare.
There are also a range of airport shuttle services, hire car options or ride share and taxi options if you prefer a more direct route into Cairns from the airport.
If you are coming to Cairns from Brisbane, the drive along the Pacific Coast Way from Brisbane to Cairns will take you approximately 19 hours. This drive links coastal and hinterlands towns as well as major cities all along the east coast and is a fantastic way to experience Queensland at your leisure. Hire cars are available from Brisbane Airport and you can plan the ultimate road trip with this Brisbane to Cairns Itinerary.