Top 10 things to do in Cairns | Cairns Tours

Top 10 things to do in Cairns

By James Dixon | 2nd September 2015


It’s extremely difficult to put into a few words the exquisite beauty of Cairns and its surrounds, and even harder to pick 10 top things to do – there’s just so much happening all the time. The great advantage of Cairns attractions is that they are located in fairly close proximity to one another. This enables parents with children, time-poor travellers or anyone with a disability to travel with ease and see as much as they can in a short period.

While visiting Cairns, you really have to venture out and explore some of the superb natural and manmade wonders that are situated in and around this beautiful bustling city. We are often asked what the best attractions to visit in this region are, but to try to name one or two would do our intrepid travellers a great disservice. The following is just a small sample of what’s on offer:

The Great Barrier Reef

Stretching over 344,400 km2, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is the biggest living structure on our planet – it can actually be seen from space! We often associate the great Barrier reef with corals (600 types of soft and hard corals only make up about seven percent of this vast area), but with 600 continental islands to explore, 100 types of jellyfish, 1625 fish species, turtles, crocodiles, sharks, whales, dolphins and so much more to discover under the clear water, you will be loath to leave. From shallow estuaries to deep ocean, this exquisite natural ecosystem hosts a unique range of ecological habitats.

Babinda Boulders

This beautiful national park is rich in natural flora and fauna. Its huge granite outcrops situated in and around Babinda Creek at the foothills of Bartle Frere – Queensland’s highest mountain – blend perfectly to create some of the wildest landscapes imaginable. After taking the picturesque two-kilometre rainforest walk – which incorporates three lookouts overlooking some thunderous waterfalls – why not sit back, relax and take advantage of our gas barbeques, toilet and shower facilities, sheltered picnic areas, and frolic in pristine, mountain fresh watering holes to cool off.

Lake Barrine Volcanic Crater Lake

With Lake Barrine’s lower humidity and temperatures (due to the fact it is situated 720m above sea level) you can escape and unwind from the coastal extremes. Twin Kauris Walk is an easy 10 minutes of lush rainforest, culminating in the viewing of two magnificent 50 metre high, thousand-year-old bull kauri pines. Picnic areas and toilet amenities are provided.

Atherton Tablelands      

If you are in any way interested in the natural wonders of this exquisite region, you really must visit at least some of the following superb locations in the Atherton Tablelands. Why not leave a couple of days free and visit Undara Lava Tubes, Curtain Fig Tree, Mt Hypipamee Crater, Lake Tinaroo, Broomfield Swamp or Paronella Park – and we have only just scratched the surface with these selections. Come face to face with unique wildlife, whether on the ground in the air or in the water, everywhere you go. Criss-crossing this beautiful landscape are the gourmet wine and food trails.

Daintree National Park

Only an hour North of Cairns, this ancient rainforest (it’s over one hundred million years old) has to be one of our most diverse national treasures. It extends from Mossman Gorge, right up to Cape Tribulation. This is one of the few places worldwide where the reef meets the rainforest. Imagine walking from cool, lush canopy straight onto picture perfect sandy white beaches.

Fitzroy Island

Located 29 kilometres southeast of Cairns and only a 45-minute ferry ride away, this extremely lush rainforest oasis boasts wonderful walking tracks, underwater fun (ever wanted to learn to dive? Then this is for you with a certified learn-to-dive school), or relax in tranquillity on beautiful coral beaches.

Kuranda – SkyRail Rainforest Cableway and Scenic Railway

The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway has to be on the top of any holidaymakers to do list. The skyway transports you 7.5 kilometres above World Heritage listed rainforest to the village of Kuranda. You can either travel in comfortable regular cabins or be awestruck and soak up the spectacular view in one of our glass-bottomed gondolas. Upon arrival at Kuranda, you can spend many wonderful hours wondering through its many attractions – such as Kuranda Markets, the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Birdworld, and so much more – before jumping aboard the Scenic Railway for an amazingly beautiful picturesque journey back to Cairns.

Hot Air Ballooning

Where is the best place in the world to go hot air ballooning? You guessed it, Tropical North Queensland! The stunning pre-dawn scenery will keep you mesmerised while you watch the first rays of the sun kiss the earth under you. Watch below as you unhurriedly drift over the local fauna going about their morning ritual. Why not take that extra step and spoil yourself with a champagne breakfast when you get back.

Bungee Jumping

This is not for the fainthearted, but if you want some adrenalin pumping wildly through your veins, then seek no more as this is perfect. Just 20 minutes from Cairns you’ll find the Bungee Jump and Minjin swing, conducted from a purpose built tower that was the first of its kind in the world. Don’t be fooled by the beautiful surrounding scenery – with 16 different types of jumps, you can pick your own level and you, your family and friends can have an absolute ball while being scared to death. There’s truly nothing more exhilarating!

If that’s not enough excitement for you, try the Minjin Jungle Swing. Ride this swing on your own or with a friend and reach speeds of up to 120 kilometres an hour in 3.5 seconds.

Cairns or Flecker Botanical Gardens

This well-established botanic garden (founded in 1886) is an absolute delight to the senses. Whether you like horticulture or not, you will be fascinated by some rather bizarre plants. Just wait until you see Amorphophallus Titanum – this flower grows up to 70 kilos in weight and only has one leaf that reaches a whopping seven meters in length; or Nepenthes – a carnivorous pitcher plant that lures its prey with a sweet nectar. Come for a relaxing day out and see the rare, exotic tropical plants in this tropical paradise.