Four unmissable things to see in Cairns

The humidity of Cairns is part of what makes the personality of the city so friendly and obliging
The humidity of Cairns is part of what makes the personality of the city so friendly and obliging

The gateway to Queensland's tropical north, Cairns is a laid-back city known for its iconic island-paradise beaches and plush ancient rainforests.

Once nothing more than a boggy swamp and rocllicking goldfields port, Cairns is now a busy tourism destination with incredible proximity to natural beauty.

The heavy humidity and hospitality of the locals means you’re more likely to see boardshorts than suits on the streets, which are lined with alfresco cafes, bars and restaurants. 

Time in Cairns is best spent outside. Choose from scuba diving, snorkelling, helicopter tours and boat rides plus much more – there’s no shortage of things to do and see in this tropical oasis.

The Great Barrier Reef

It's truly astounding to see such a rainbow of naturally occurring colour in the diverse coral beneath the surface.

It's truly astounding to see such a rainbow of naturally occurring colour in the diverse coral beneath the surface.

The Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s most attractive destinations, is a place everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Covering more area than the Great Wall of China and with crisp golden sand and extraordinary mountains, it’s the perfect stop for everyone, whether you’re excited for an adventure or just working on your tan.

Exploring the Great Barrier Reef can be done on any budget, from backpacker to luxury purse strings. You can swim, snorkel, dive and sail this living masterpiece, exploring the world-renown Whitsunday Islands or relaxing on tropical beaches of Hayman or Lizard. Uncertainty about the future of the reef is all the more reason to go now. 

Mossman Gorge

Although not widely known to tourists, the southern part of Daintree National Park is home to the beautiful indigenous Kuku Yalanji citizens and well worth the drive. Only half an hour from Port Douglas, the Kuranda Scenic Railway tour stopping at the Barron waterfalls or a guided Dreamtime tour through the pristine rainforest is an absolute must.

With over 600,000 international and domestic tourists annually, the soothing sunshine coupled with the cool clear water is the perfect combinations for any relaxing holiday.

Cairns city

There's no beach in Cairns but the incredible lagoon in the heart of the city more than makes up for it.

There's no beach in Cairns but the incredible lagoon in the heart of the city more than makes up for it.

With the Esplanade Lagoon perfect for swimming located in the heart of the city, Cairns’ central shopping precinct and an abundance of restaurants and bars, you’ll find the energy of this happening city completely contagious. Cairns city is also an entertainment hub with a booming arts and music scene, boasting a revolving calendar of entertainment for kids and adults. Browse What’s On here

The city is a magnificent stop anytime of the year, but none more so than during New Years. With two exquisite firework exhibitions across the lagoon, Cairns city is the perfect picturesque setting to ring in the New Year.

Palm Cove

Stay at the Beach Club, in Palm Cove, and relax by the incredible pool.

Stay at the Beach Club, in Palm Cove, and relax by the incredible pool.

Named for the beautiful palm trees that line the casual esplanade, Palm Cove is a quiet village that boasts one of the most naturally beautiful beaches in all of Queensland. Just 17 short minutes from Cairns city, the beachfront promenade offers luxury shopping, health and fitness facilities, hair and beauty salons, and restaurants and bars. 

Enjoy a round of golf or hire a kayak to paddle around the nearby islands. Or take it easy fishing off the jetty with the kids, and laze by the beach. There’s plenty to do, or not do, in Palm Cove, making it an ideal day trip or destination.