Heading to Cairns for work? Well lucky you because you are heading to not just a burgeoning hive of industry but also to the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, a lively tropical urban centre and some truly exotic World Heritage locations. So if work is sending you North, be sure to extend to take advantage of all the marine based activities, adventure sports available, and be sure to experience the lush tropical rainforests that are found in this incredible part of the world.
Here are the five must do items to include on your Cairns' post work itinerary:
1. See the Reef below and above the water
Get your bearings and take a 45-minute heli flight and fly over the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns’ northern beaches, and the Daintree, a World Heritage-listed rainforest. Then head out to the Reef, to experience it below the water, and scuba or snorkel amongst the brightly coloured fishy locals – there are plenty of operators to choose from and trips out to the reef run all year round.
2. Discover a hidden hideaway at Kuranda
Just a 25 kilometre drive north brings you to the bottom of the mountain where you have two incredibly scenic options to reach the tropical village of Kuranda at the summit. Not only do you get to experience all the local food and crafts of this colonial mountain village, but also for the journey, you can combine a steam train and a silent gondola ride. So you can take the 115-minute journey (either up or down) on the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway that weaves through dense rainforest, waterfalls and 320-metre steep ravines.
Going up or down is also on offer from the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. This engineering feat became a blueprint for eco-construction when it opened in 1995. In order to reduce environmental impact, specialised helicopters ferried-in tower supports for the Skyrail. Also to minimise the impact on the World Heritage-listed rainforest, no roads were built and the tower construction workers were required to walk up to an hour uphill just to reach the new tower sites.
3. Indulge and chill at Palm Cove
Palm Cove, is a quiet and relaxing village by the sea with a little hint of exclusivity. Here there are beach resorts, restaurants and spas boasting of indulgent spas, beauty treatments and great dining – all of which are complemented by the Great Barrier Reef trips, rainforest excursions and exploration adventures locally on offer. You can also get active on the local beautiful golf course, or you can kayak around nearby islands, or take advantage of the water sports available for beach hire. Then again why not just relax, or wander through the boutiques, and just laze on the palm-fringed idyllic beach.
4. Take a spectacular drive to Port Douglas (Queensland’s Great Ocean Road)
Take the iconic 75km trip from Cairns to Port Douglas on a road that tracks one of the most spectacular coastlines in Australia. The road winds and twists with tropical vegetation interspersed with granite cliffs bordering one side, with long white beaches and a glittering blue Coral Sea on the other.
And the glorious journey is just one part of the whole experience because in Port Douglas beyond its Reef and the rainforests, there are still plenty of great things to do in this cosmopolitan township of the Far North. Also Port Douglas’ Four Mile Beach gets voted in Australia's 'Best Beach' lists every year. Unspoilt by any man made structures, the four miles of beach is stunning to stroll along during sunrise to sunset - it is no wonder that the likes of Hilary and Bill Clinton felt the need to take a stroll.
5. Daintree National Park
Daintree National Park is comprised of two areas, Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation.
The crystal-clear waters of the Mossman River flow over granite boulders in Mossman Gorge while Cape Tribulation is comprised of mountains covered with rainforest that sweep down to long sandy beaches. Visitors can reach this area by bus or hire car and take one of the many easy and adventurous walks – if you are planning to stay there for some time, be sure to take your own lunch. Lunch venues are few and far between.
Cape Tribulation is the stuff of movies with its deep green rainforests that seem to tumble into the blue waters of the Coral Sea. One of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, the Cape Tribulation area was included in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in 1988 – it really is a natural wonder to see while you are here.