The place I fell in love with. A place I know I will be going back to very soon. These are a few MUST SEES when you’re at this little spot of heaven. Make sure you take your time in Cairns because that’s part of the lifestyle.
Cairns Esplanade Lagoon
Easily one of the first places you can go to. The lagoon is an outdoor pool located along the esplanade and such a relaxing place to go to when you want to chill out, live the Cairns laid-back vibe and cool down. I was in Cairns in February so it was extremely humid, but regardless of when you go, this is a must-do in the small city. Go during the day, go in the evening before it shuts, have a nap on the grass and then grab yourself an ice-cream at a nearby gelato spot.
Great Barrier Reef
One of the main reasons why I went to Cairns, and probably one of the main reasons why anyone goes, is to see the Great Barrier Reef. There is so much to learn about this natural world wonder and there are a lot of different ways you can see it. I took a dive course to get my open water diving certificate - if you’re thinking of doing this, I can highly highly recommend Pro-Dive. I went on the liver board for 2 nights and it was the most amazing and fun experience I’ve ever had.
There are so many other companies that can take you out for intro dives or just to have a snorkel. I went on Passion’s of Paradise. On Passions you’ll get a bit of an insight on the Great Barrier Reef, and what we can do to protect it.
Hot Air Ballooning at Atherton Tablelands
This experience was one of the most magical things I have ever done. Wake up at 3:30 am to go take a sunrise hot air balloon over the Atherton Tablelands. The crew from Hot Air Cairns where so accomodating and I can definitely recommend them over the other Hot Air Balloon companies in Cairns since they were actually able to answer a phone call for some questions.
It was so peaceful, and such a lovely experience. They have a range of different packages for different lengths of hot air ballooning experiences!
Whether you choose to go out to Fitzroy for a day trip, or spend a couple of nights, this beautiful island is an ABSOLUTE must do. I went to Fitzroy on my last day in Cairns and it was the best way to be farewelled by Cairns. 45 minutes by ferry off the coast of Cairns, it’s easily done as a day trip. But there are plenty of huts and various forms of accomodation to stay at as well.
Lined with stunning beaches, amongst which there is Nudey Beach (not actually a nude beach). Nudey Beach was ranked #1 in Australia’s Best Beaches awards in 2018. There’s the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and plenty of wonderful snorkelling where you can swim with turtles.
A 1 hour drive/bus ride north of Cairns, Port Douglas takes the laid-back lifestyle to the next level. Here you’ll find Four Mile Beach, a beautiful spot to swim at, and sweeping views of the beaches and surrounds.
When I was in Cairns I knew I wanted to rent a car to drive around since there are lots of things outside of Cairns, but there are plenty of bus tours that can take you to all the key spots around.
Mosman Gorge is in the direction of Port Douglas, North of Cairns. This is an easily accessible spot without a four-wheeled drive and without an intensive walk. Drive to the Mossman Gorge visitor centre where you then catch a shuttle bus. Here you’ll have the opportunity to stroll through a canopy walk and then cool down in the water. There are plenty of other waterfall spot to see but this is one that I had time to experience and is easily accessible.
When I was in primary school, I did a big project on the Daintree Rainforest. This area is the oldest surviving rainforest in the world and an absolutely must see to check it off the bucket list. There are plenty of tours that take you on cruises down the river where you’ll get to see crocodiles and experience the sounds and wonders of the Daintree.
Skyrail and Railway
Lastly, the Skyrail and Railway experience to bring you up to Kuranda Village is a beautiful opportunity to get a different perspective of the rainforest. The Skyrail Cableway will take you up and above the tops of the trees. And the Railway will take you through the wonderful forest. You’ll get to see large cascades and the huge Barron River. Catch the Railway up to Kuranda, spend a few hours, walk through the village, markets, have some lunch and then catch the Skyrail back down.