Cairns and Northern Beaches

Cairns

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. 

Things to do in Cairns

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.

  • Go White Water Rafting on the Tully River
  • Bungee jump on a bike with AJ Hackett
  • Take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway before descending into the world-heritage listed rainforest
  • Learn about indigenous history with Walkabout Cultural Adventures, Mungalla Aboriginal Tours or Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk
  • Check out the Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome for some family fun
  • Go Croc spotting with Daintree River Cruises
  • Swim, socialise and let the kids run free at Cairns Esplanade Lagoon
  • Take a trip to Babinda Boulders and hire a kayak
  • Explore Josephine Falls and swim in the refreshing waters of this natural swimming hole
  • Take the family for a joy ride at the Smithfield MTB Park

Plan your holiday

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Smile for Saturday Mornings Print Club

Edge Hill, Cairns Area
From AU$15 - 125
Weekly from 7 December 2019
Fancy something different? Print Club is their casual Saturday morning printmaking group. Drop in to their print workshop any Saturday morning. Set your own pace - come in for a chat about your art and ideas over a cup of tea and see what others are doing, delve deep into producing those long awaiting editions, or make a small print.

Great Barrier Reef Chinese New Year

Cairns Area
Free Entry
24 January – 9 February 2020
The Great Barrier Reef Chinese New Year celebrations continue the age old custom of welcoming the Lunar New Year in Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. A unique experience and way to celebrate the lunar new year and learn of the cultural history of the region.

International Ocean Film Tour - Cairns

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$18 - 22
12 February 2020
The International Ocean Film Tour is the ultimate film event for all ocean lovers. Adventure. Action. Ocean Life. The International Ocean Film Tour is headed to Australia with the best ocean adventures and environmental documentaries on board.

Cairns Expo 2020

Cairns Area
From AU$0 - 12
15 – 17 May 2020
The Cairns Expo is the region’s largest outdoor adventure and home and lifestyle event. Over three huge days, the Cairns Showgrounds will be filled with the latest caravans, camper trailers, motorhomes, accessories, fishing gear plus great ideas for your home and lifestyle such as sustainable living ideas, gardening, homeware, bedding and more.

Cairns Youth and Careers Expo

Cairns Area
21 May 2020
The Cairns Youth and Careers Expo was established 18 years ago by the Business Liaison Association to provide the students of Far North Queensland with up to date and relevant information on career pathways.

PBR Cairns Invitational

Cairns Area
From AU$45 - 140
23 May 2020
Get ready for one huge night of entertainment as the Professional Bull Riders return to the Cairns Convention Centre in the heart of Far North Queensland. 22 riders eager for glory, battle against extreme power and agility as they go head to head with 52 of the rankest bucking bulls in the nation, eight seconds at a time.

Cairns Ecofiesta

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
24 May 2020
Now in its tenth year, the Cairns Ecofiesta is a major festival of stellar performances, hands-on workshops and a massive expo of green-tech and sustainable living solutions. With a dedicated children's program, local street eats, roving performers and satellite events, its the perfect time to come together and celebrates their regions unique natural environment, tropical lifestyle, raises awareness of environmentally friendly living solutions and how to reduce the impacts on the environment.

C2K Bike Ride

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$725 - 795
27 June – 3 July 2020
Cairns to Karumba Bike Ride is a truly epic adventure that you will talk about for a lifetime. Whether you are a rider (road or dirt), a supporter or a volunteer, there is a place for everyone on the 2020 Cairns to Karumba Bike Ride.

Australian Pole Sports Championships

Manunda, Cairns Area
Free Entry
28 June 2020
Welcome to Australia’s second World Pole Sports Championships (WPSC) qualifying event, taking place at the Cairns Basketball Early Settler Stadium. Pole is one of the fastest growing sports on the planet.

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
10 – 11 July 2020
CIAF showcases the diverse cultures and artistic wealth of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples through an impressive program of art, dance, music, fashion, talks and workshops. CIAF has gone from strength to strength since the inaugural fair in 2009, attracting significant attention from both international and national collectors, curators, media and the general public.
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Great Barrier Reef

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:

  • Scuba or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and tick off the Great Eight marine animals to see
  • Take a scenic flight over the reef and witness the beauty from above
  • For the adrenaline junkie, skydive from the highest tandem jump in Australia
  • Go by boat or heli to Vlasoff Cay for the most picturesque picnic spot on the reef
  • Sail to Michaelmas and Upolu Cays
  • Swim and sleep on the reef with Sunlover by Starlight
  • See the reef without getting your hair wet and helmet dive with Seawalker Green Island
  • Take a day trip to a pontoon for reef-viewing and exploration

Cairns tours

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.

To learn about the fascinating indigenous history of Tropical North Queensland look at some of these indigenous tours.

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

From the Blog

Cairns accommodation

Whether you are after budget accommodation or you can splash some cash on something a little la-de-da, Cairns has you covered. 

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.

For a true Great Barrier Reef experience, jump on a boat, switch your watch to island time and holiday in impeccable style on Fitzroy Island or Green Island.

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.

How to get there

International airport

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.

From Brisbane

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.

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