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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International Ocean Film Tour Volume 5 - Cairns (Earlville)

Earlville, Cairns Area
From AU$20 - 25
4 December 2018
Adventure. Conservation. Ocean Life. This is for you, Ocean Lovers! International Ocean Film Tour is on its way with the best ocean adventures and environmental documentaries on board. 120 minutes of film packed with the most inspiring short stories from the seven seas and the best water-sports action of the year.

Ocean Film Festival World Tour

Cairns Area
From AU$22.50 - 30.50
22 March 2019
With a vision to mesmerise and captivate, the Ocean Film Festival World Tour showcases more than two hours of sublime footage taken above and below the water’s surface.  Featuring all new films this carefully curated selection of short films document the beauty and power of the ocean, and celebrate the divers, surfers, swimmers and oceanographers who live for the sea’s salt spray;

7 Cairns Marathon

Cairns Area
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.

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.

Cairns Invitational PBR

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.

C2K Bike Ride

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$725 - 745
29 June – 4 July 2019
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 2019 Cairns to Karumba Bike Ride.

ReefBeat Music Festival

Parramatta Park, Cairns Area
6 July 2019
A New Music Festival for Cairns - ReefBeat is a one day event with a huge lineup of top musicians, bands and performers. Headlined by Thundamentals, Opiuo, Salmonella Dub Soundsystem and Tijuana Cartel with a huge swag of other support acts.

Australian Pole Sports Championships

Manunda, Cairns Area
Free Entry
6 – 7 July 2019
Welcome to a brand new Australian sporting event, proudly born in Cairns: Australia’s inaugural World Pole Sports Championships (WPSC) qualifying event, taking place at the new Cairns Basketball Stadium.

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
12 – 14 July 2019
From where ever you are, come and join Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, and immerse yourself in a CIAF experience of your own. The CIAF 2019 cultural festivities will take place on 12 to 14 July, opening night 11 July 2019.

Audi Arrow Experience

Cairns North, Cairns Area
From AU$27.50 - 38.50
14 July 2019
Bring your friends and family and join them on the Arrow Experience along the beautiful Red, Blue, Green and Yellow Arrows. This spectacular event is not only a chance to get into the great outdoors, but to help fund raise for your community.
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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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