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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Lithography Workshop - Evening Course

Edge Hill, Cairns Area
From AU$380 - 420
Weekly from 28 March – 9 May 2019
Staying in Cairns for a while and need some creative outlet? Make an impression... be a printmaker! This course covers the basics of stone lithography, the print medium chosen by Picasso, Raushenberg, David Hockney and Camille Henrot.

7 Cairns Marathon

Cairns Area
From AU$15 - 115
28 April 2019
Up to 3000 athletes from Queensland, interstate and overseas are expected to participate in the inaugural 7 Cairns Marathon and Community Run Festival. Scheduled for April 28, 2019, it is the first official run festival of its kind to be held in Cairns and is forecast to generate significant visitor activity to the region.

Senior Moments A Comedy Revue: Cairns

Cairns Area
From AU$55 - 75
15 May 2019
By popular demand, Senior Moments is back for another national tour from February 2019, with Gold Logie winner and veteran actor John Wood (Blue Heelers, Rafferty’s Rules) and Max Gillies (The Gillies Report, Once Were Leaders) joining Play School icon Benita Collings, Kim Lewis (Sons and Daughters, The Restless Years) and Russell Newman (A Country Practice, Underbelly) in this senior theatrical sensation, with Midday Show Maestro Geoff Harvey on piano.

Cairns Expo 2019

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$10 - 12
17 – 19 May 2019
The Cairns Expo is the region’s largest event of its kind, showcasing the latest products and services for homes, lifestyles and outdoor adventure. The home show has something for everyone, from sustainable living ideas to finance, gardening, homewares, roofing, beds and more.

Waking Ugly

Cairns Area
Free Entry
17 May 2019
Waking Ugly will be playing acoustic versions of all their favourite cover songs and some of their own compositions at the latest hot spot in Cairns. Delicious food, craft beers and awesome tunes—what a way to start the weekend!

Pint Of Science (Cairns)

Cairns, Cairns Area
20 – 22 May 2019
Pint of Science is a three day festival bringing the latest in science research to pubs across Australia (and the world!). In 2019 the festival will run on May 20, 21 and 22. Please visit the Pint of Science Australia website for all updates regarding venues.

Best Ever Drinking Songs With Waking Ugly

Cairns Area
Free Entry
25 May 2019
Pull up a stool, order a beer and get ready to sing along to your favourite classics! Waking Ugly have a knack for playing forgotten hits that'll bring a smile to your face and keep your feet tapping until closing time.

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2019

Cairns Area
31 May 2019
The original and the best mountain film festival is coming back to Cairns for one huge night! The 2019 Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour showcases over two and a half hours of the most enthralling mountain adventure films that will have you planning your next adventure before the credits roll.

Speakeasy presents Mr Manifold (Melb) Debut - Free Entry

Cairns Area
Free Entry
7 June 2019
They are very proud to bring to you, for his debut in Cairns,... Mr. Manifold and The Resolution - DJ Set. Introducing the multiverse of sound that is Mr. Manifold. Sculpting with frequencies of deep bottomless bass, glitch, ghetto, swing and funk.

Professional Bull Riders Cairns Invitational

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$45 - 146
15 June 2019
The PBR’s (Professional Bull Riders) Monster Energy Tour will bring its thrilling, adrenaline-filled, edge-of-your-seat excitement back to the Cairns Entertainment Centre on Saturday, 15 June 2019. For one-night only, some of the best bull riders in the world will battle the sport’s toughest bovine athletes.
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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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