Top 10 things to do Around Cairns | Cairns Tours

Top 10 things to do Around Cairns

By James Dixon | 16th September 2015


When asked to describe the beauty of Cairns, finding a word or words to describe this natural wonderland can allude even the most seasoned wordsmith. Visitors that have been to this magical oasis landscape regale us with tales of a radiant, glowing sun, exciting adventures and spectacular scenery that elicits a heavenly appeal. This bountiful coastline boasts stunning weather, which seems to extend its glow throughout the magical city. Giving sites like the Daintree Rainforest, the stunning Great Barrier Reef and the renowned Cape Tribulation (to name just a few) create the best possible backdrop! There are a vast amount of very exciting destinations in and around Cairns with a majority lying in close proximity to each other, this grants you – the holidaymaker – the best possible landscape to enjoy everything without have to do extensive traveling.

As you combine this sensational location with the 5 star dining options available to you, lively nightlife and adrenaline pumping ventures, it stands to reason why Cairns is one of Australia’s busiest and best tourism hotspots! However, if you need a little guidance don’t despair we have complied a Top Ten List voted on by people that have actually been there!


Cape Tribulation

Surrounded by the Daintree Rainforest, lying around an hour drive of Cairns, Cape Tribulation is truly a must see location, and one of the very few in the world where you emerge out of a plush rainforest and straight onto a stunning reef-fringed beach! With multi day adventures and hiking available, stroll along the sweeping beaches or engage yourself with the stunning marine life that lies offshore. Even venture on an interactive rainforest walk – taste, touch and feel your way through this enchanted forest. There is so much to do and see in this picturesque location, if you visit Cairns without seeing ‘Cape Trib’, it’s almost a travesty!

Fitzroy Island

This magnificent island lies around a 45-minute ferry voyage from the city of Cairns and one word that would describe this location is – sensational. This majestic tropical haven grants lucky holidaymakers a total of 838 acres of lush rainforest, extensive glistening beaches and hideaway coral reef systems. With days of aquatic fun, relax in the sun while enjoying the scenic beach or serene walks through any of the four principal walking paths that enhance the finest points of the rainforest and picturesque lookouts.

Fitzroy Island is an ideal location to learn to dive, with introductory and certified diving and a learn-to-dive school – you’ll be immersed in this aquatic wonderland in no time! Whether you stay for a couple of hours or the week, Fitzroy Island is guaranteed to fulfil your every desire in an idyllic Island location.

Port Douglas

Once a sleepy fishing village, Port Douglas has retained much of its quaint, country charm, despite being in such close proximity to the tourist magnet, Cairns. With the phenomenal Daintree Rainforest fringing the town and the Outer Great Barrier Reef just an hour offshore, Port Douglas is an absolute perfect location to use as a base for those wishing to explore the delights of the region. Within the town itself, you’ll find accommodation ranging from five star resorts to comfortable backpacker digs, delightful café’s, award-winning restaurants, lively bars, kid-friendly attractions and much more. The palm tree lined oasis of Four Mile Beach is Port Douglas’ primary highlight and visitors can spend an afternoon relaxing on the pure white sand or swimming in the cobalt-blue ocean, then take a very short stroll up to the main drag on the foreshore. Superb!

Green Island

One of the unsung heroes of the Great Barrier Reef Islands, Green Island is set in stunning natural beauty, encapsulating the wonder that is this area! With a multiplicity of Island activities to enchant you and your family, you’ll be able to participate in rainforest walks, underwater adventures, boutique shopping, dining or just veg out in the sun. There is even Marineland Melanesia’s Nautical Museum, where you can sneak in some learning for the little ones – without them even knowing! This really is one of the most picturesque locations around Cairns. Do yourself a favour, hire a paddleboard/canoe, and explore in your own way.

Wooroonooran National Park    

Located less than an hour south of Cairns, the World Heritage Listed Wooroonooran National Park is a stunning representation of the region’s pristine natural beauty. With 79,500 ha of wilderness – including the Bellenden Ker Range, Mt Bartle Frere and Mt Bellenden Ker – there are unlimited possibilities for nature lovers to indulge in bushwalking, animal spotting, photography and general sightseeing.

With a network of wild rivers, majestic cascading waterfalls and thick, lowland rainforest housing species such as milky pine, blackbean, water gum and red tulip oak, this national wonder is home to many wildlife species, including the adorable musky rat-kangaroo, chowchilla and double-eyed fig-parrot. You can explore the surroundings via the elevated Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway, which offers gorgeous views of the park’s best features, including panoramic views from above the canopy.

The Atherton Tablelands

The Atherton Tablelands borders the divide between Queensland’s tropical paradise and inland desert, making the area a diverse expanse of possibilities for tourists. Regardless of your holiday preferences, you’ll find something to satisfy you in the Atherton Tablelands. From gourmet dining and wine along the ‘Food Bowl Of The Tropics’, the stunning sights of majesty along the ‘Waterfall Circuit’, wildlife spotting in both the lush rainforest regions and the savannah regions, or the patchwork of colours you’ll see if you take a hot air balloon ride at dawn – there’s something for everybody. The Tablelands also boast a number of wonderful natural and manmade features, such as Lake Tinaroo, Paronella Park, Mt Hypipamee Crater, the Curtain Fig Tree, Undara Lava Tubes, Broomfield Swamp and Barrine and Eacham crater lakes.

The Baron and Tully Rivers

The rivers around Cairns are definitely worth exploring, but when you imagine your Cairns holiday, you probably don’t think of white water rafting! However, this is a mistake. Not only does Cairns have some ripper rafting locations, they are surrounded by the beauty of world-renowned rainforest. With options available for everyone – starting at a fairly-gentle Grade 2-3 rapids at the Barron River, right up to the intensity of 3-4 rapids of the Tully River – you can choose whether you want to ignite your adrenal glands or just let them simmer. In conjunction with the wild rapids, you’ll have the chance to swim and play in the calmer areas of the rivers. ‘Soak’ it all in, Cairns style!

Barron Gorge National Park

Barron Gorge National Park is located within a Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in the Atherton Tablelands and is only 21 minutes west of Cairns. The park features a wonderland of natural scenery, including rugged mountain ranges, lush tropical rainforest, surging river systems and impressive gorges – all of which are bursting with a rich variety of flora and fauna species.

With the Barron River dominating the forestscape, the river winds 60 kilometres before entering the imposing Barron Gorge – an impressive and rugged natural trench that separates the Lamb Ranges from the Macalister Ranges. This site is best viewed during the wet months.

The Great Barrier Reef

This location is one Australia’s best. Not only does it encompass 2,300 km of spectacular coral beauty, but it’s also home to a variety of marine life that is second to none! Stretching as far in any direction as the eye can see, this magical aquatic wonderland is waiting for you to explore and devour with your senses. With a wealth of enchanting marine life that lives in and around the blossoming coral systems, it’s almost as though this national treasure has been made just to excite your senses.

The area is easily one of the world’s best dive sites – not only for experienced divers, but for amateurs/beginners as well. The reef is not only mesmerising under the waves, it is also spectacular above; with sun kissed beaches that glisten in the sun and crystal clear lagoons that reflect your image like an aquatic mirror. With so much to see and do in and around the reef, make sure this is on the top of your itinerary. It isn’t classified as one of the ‘Wonders of the World’ for nothing!

The Daintree Rainforest

When people mention Cairns, there are a few highlights that are mentioned and the Daintree Rainforest (for good reason) always makes the list. Once you’ve set foot in this spectacular natural epicentre, you’ll quickly understand what all the fuss is about. The Daintree has an ancient magical feel – as you’re dwarfed by the ancient flora, you’ll be mesmerised by the local wildlife going about its day. Situated around an hour’s drive north of Cairns, the Daintree Rainforest spreads from the Wet Tropics of Mossman Gorge, right across to the unspoiled Cape Tribulation Daintree National Park. The beauty of the Daintree is only exacerbated by the fact that it’s one of the rare location where the rainforest meets the reef! Be enthralled as you step out from the darkness of the canopy onto a glistening beach.