Don’t let the relaxed vibe of Cairns fool you. While locals and tourists alike wander around at country-town pace, wild adventure is never far away. The unofficial capital of Tropical North Queensland, Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, ancient rainforests, spectacular gorges and more. With so many breathtaking natural attractions on the doorstep, it’s no wonder Cairns is one of Australia’s best jumping-off points for fun.
Take to the Air
Get the adrenaline pumping and see Tropical North Queensland from 14,000 feet! The bird’s-eye views you’ll see of the Great Barrier Reef, World Heritage-listed rainforest or Trinity Inlet from a tandem sky dive will remain with you forever. Thrill seekers will not want to miss this one.
If you’ve never taken a flight in a hot-air balloon, this is the place to do it. Sure, you have to get up pretty early on balloon day but it’s worth it – you’ll be floating into the sky before dawn and watching the sun rise as you drift gently on the morning breeze. With the stunning scenery of Cairns and the Atherton Tablelands below, this is an adventure you’ll never forget.
For a slightly less heart-pounding adventure, take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for a 90-minute journey over an endless canopy of pristine rainforest. From this vantage point you can also enjoy spectacular ocean and mountain views. The Skyrail takes you to the vibrant town of Kuranda, where you can have a delicious lunch before taking the famous Kuranda Scenic train back to Cairns.
With good reason, one of the most popular adventures out of Cairns is the Kuranda Scenic Railway. Jump on board for a journey into the heart of World Heritage-listed rainforest, climbing from sea level to a height of 328 metres, passing spectacular waterfalls and heading into the stunning Barron Gorge. Listen to the untamed sounds of the dense rainforest as you travel through a landscape that is millions of years old.
Let go of your fears and coast through the pristine Daintree Rainforest on a zip line, guided by Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours. You’ll be rewarded for your leap of faith with an experience of breathtaking beauty. Zip between six tree platforms in a fully guided adventure of pure exhilaration.
If you fancy a mini road-trip, beach hop your way up the coast, stopping at Holloway’s Beach, Yorkey’s Knob, Trinity Beach, Kewarra Beach and finally, postcard-perfect Palm Cove. You never know what’s around the next headland but chances are, in this part of the world, it’ll be another beautiful beach – with a fish and chip shop in the neighbourhood, too.
Dive Into the Blue
While the tour options from Cairns can be overwhelming, one alternative is to simply do your own thing. Whether it’s chartering a small plane or hiring a helicopter, the options increase when you’re free to call the shots. Follow your adventurous spirit and find your own private snorkelling or diving paradise!
Green Island is a pristine coral cay, roughly 6,000 years old, within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and just 45 minutes by fast catamaran from Cairns. The cay is surrounded by underwater marine gardens that are teeming with life, making this one of the world’s most ideal destinations for scuba diving and snorkelling.
Take the short 45-minute ferry ride to Fitzroy Island and soak up the unspoilt wilderness of the Great Barrier Reef from the unique vantage point of a sea kayak. Go solo or join a friend in a double kayak as you explore the rugged coastlines and sandy beaches.