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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Royal Opera House Cinema Season: Swan Lake

Cairns Area
21 – 22 July 2018
A brand new production of Tchaikovsky’s magnificent classic Swan Lake will screen exclusively nationally as part of Royal Opera House 2017/18 Live Cinema Season. Presented in partnership with Trafalgar Releasing, the 2018 production includes additional choreography by Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett to perfectly close the season.

InkMasters Print Exhibition

Edge Hill, Cairns Area
Free Entry
27 July – 19 August 2018
Inkmasters biennial exhibition shows a magnificent range of prints selected from regional, national and international artists both indigenous and non-indigenous. Printmaking methods and techniques include the traditional such as etching, linocut and woodcuts.

Beach Netball - Cairns

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$200 - 400
28 July 2018
Beach Netball is played on a specially designed half court on the sand with five players on the beach per team. It’s a round robin event, featuring shoot outs and finals with the winners taking home the James Cook University Cup.

Tour of the Tropics

Edge Hill, Cairns Area
From AU$55 - 232
3 – 5 August 2018
Tour of the Tropics is the re-branded Tour of the Tablelands cycling event which has been in operation since 1997. Tour of the Tropics has come to life to incorporate not only a sporting event for cyclists, but a festival inspired food, wine and music event for not only sporting enthusiasts, but leisure travellers and families of all ages.

Ross Noble - El Hablador

Cairns, Cairns Area
4 August 2018
Who is El Hablador? It’s Ross Noble. No, but who is the one they call El Hablador? I just said, it is Ross Noble. You know? Long hair, does stand up where he dances about the stage, spinning out all the nonsense in his head into a show.

Cairns Tropical Writers Festival

Cairns Area
10 – 11 August 2018
The Cairns Tropical Writers Festival is held in Cairns, North Queensland. It is the heart of literature in the tropics. The program is now available and tickets are for sale at their website. Some of the highlights are:

Cairns Festival

Cairns, Cairns Area
24 August – 2 September 2018
The countdown to the region’s favourite annual celebration is on! Cairns Festival is set to showcase the vibrant, tropical lifestyle and creative spirit of Far North Queensland with a multi-dimensional program of family-friendly events and activities spanning music, art, craft, culture, dance, theatre, comedy and markets.

Targa Great Barrier Reef

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
31 August – 2 September 2018
Targa Great Barrier Reef will be the first ever Targa event held in Queensland and the event name joins two iconic brands under the one banner. The new event will be based in one of Australia’s iconic tourism locations, Cairns and will reach out to all of the surrounding regions including Port Douglas and the Atherton Tablelands.

Cardiac Challenge

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$150 - 370
22 – 24 September 2018
The Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge is a three day camping and recreational cycle ride in the September school holidays. The route includes some of the most stunning scenery in the Wet Tropics, Dry Tropics and World Heritage National Parks of Far North Queensland starting in Cairns and progressing inland through the Kuranda range, Speewah, Mareeba, Mt Molloy, Mt Carbine, the Desailey range, Lakeland and finishing in Cooktown.

Australian Irish Dancing Championships 2018

Cairns Area
3 – 7 October 2018
They are proud to announce that, for the first time ever, the Australian Irish Dancing Championships will be held in Cairns and tropical Far North Queensland. Competitors and spectators alike will be immersed in a week long festival of Irish Dance, Music and Culture.
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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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