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Tours and what to do in Cairns
The Cairns Lagoon on the Esplanade is a great place to swim and sunbathe
Most popular Cairns tours
Aboriginal guided tour
Festival Cairns - Runs for most of September
Hot air ballooning is a great adventurous way to see the area around Cairns !
Hot Air Balloon Tours
The 50 metre high Cairns Bungy Tower is situated 15 km north of Cairns and is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest with panoramic views out to The Great Barrier Reef. For over 10 years this tower of power has been the ultimate altar on which to sacrifice one's fear. Hundreds of thousands of people from just about every nation on earth have made the pilgrimage to this Bungy Mecca.
People jump for all sorts of reasons, to be able to say I DID IT, to wear the shirt or to impress the babes. All noble reasons, but the best reason to jump is still to face your FEARS, to do BATTLE with your MIND. To push yourself past the sweaty palms and the pit in your stomach to accomplish something you never dreamed you could do. So come on out, show us where your PERSONAL FEAR BARRIER is and we will help you break through to the other side… Click here for more info on this adrenaline rush....
If one bungy jump is not enough try their BIGGEST DAY OUT deal! This package allows UNLIMITED JUMPING between 10:00am and 3:30pm, on the same day. It has been designed specifically for the more adventurous thrill seeker. Lunch at AJ'S Rainforest Café is included. For your UNLIMITED number of bungy jumps, you may want to select from the following menu:
Cane toad races
Now unfortunately no longer in action, the World famous
Cane Toad Races used to be held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
at Johno's Blues Bar with crazy Toad Master for the evening Professor
This is an absolute must-see destination if you are holidaying
in Cairns. Though you can see it on a daytour you will gain much more
appreciation of the area if you stay for at least one night, or preferably
more, in Cape Tribulation itself. There are lots of things to do and
explore in Cape Trib; guided rainforest walks, reef trips, crocodile
cruises, boardwalks, sea kayaking, hikes, stunning beaches etc. Useful
links for Cape Tribulation: Rainforest
Hideaway for in-the-rainforest accommodation, for more
in-depth info on this amazing place see our Cape
If your time is very limited and you can only go on a daytour ask if they really take you to Cape Tribulation, there has been a growing tendency to take people to Mossman Gorge while giving the impression that this is the Daintree. To see the Daintree rainforest you have to cross the Daintree river, also Daintree Village (despite its name) is not in the Daintree rainforest.
Cairns is one of the best places in Australia to learn
to dive, you can join Deep Sea Divers Den for the adventure of a lifetime
learning to dive on the magnificent Great Barrier Reef. Deep Sea Divers
Den's friendly, personalized service, combined with the warm tropical
waters of the Great Barrier Reef, are the perfect combination for one
of the very best PADI 5 Day Openwater courses available. No pre-dive
experience is necessary, however being a comfortable swimmer will be
a definite advantage.
There are many different options on how to become a PADI certified diver. For your safety, a Diving Medical to Australian standard 4005.1 is a prerequisite to the PADI Openwater Certification course. It is a good idea to complete this medical prior to commencement of the course to avoid disappointment if a medical condition inhibits diving. Alternatively, a Dive medical can be arranged at the Deep Sea Divers Den Dive Centre on day one of the course.
The first two days of the course are taken up by pool and theory training. After the pool and theory training, you spend three days at sea on OceanQuest, a liveaboard dive boat, to complete your four training dives. Finish off the course with four pleasure dives and a guided night dive.
OceanQuest is 28 meters (30.6 yards) in length, fully air-conditioned with a cruising speed of 10 knots and carries 40 live aboard passengers. The OceanQuest is a dedicated liveaboard dive boat with the majority of passengers being scuba divers, with a few snorkelers. More info on this dive course or see their full range of scuba diving courses and trips here.
The Cairns Dive Centre has a great range of scuba diving courses and trips too.
A lot of eating & drinking happens along the Esplanade in Cairns where you will find several food courts, lots of restaurants, take-aways and plenty of bars where backpackers party the night away.
Indian food lovers will like Spicy Bites on Spence St. just across the street from McDonalds. Just around the corner at the southern end of the Esplanade is a new Indian restaurant named Royal India which is best avoided, I had a beef curry there which so dry that I thought I was eating a beercarton covered in curry sauce.
Thai food lovers will find quite a few Thai restaurants, but if you like your food authentic then it is a bit of a mission to find a good place. My personal favorites are the caravan at Rusty's market from Friday to Sunday, and Siam Orchid Spicy out in Stratford, quite a way from the city centre. My old favourite Edge Hill Thai Takeaway has gone way downhill unfortunately.
On the Cairns Esplanade there is a saltwater lagoon to cool down and lots of grassed areas hugely popular with travellers to soak up the sun and play games. The local council has put a "no wiggle" rule on this area; topless sunbathing is allowed but no wiggling is allowed, no playing with balls and frisbees etc. only stationairy sunbathing. There are also free gas barbeques in this area.
Book on a fishing charter and catch one of those
big Queensland fish!
Phone Justin on 0414 185534 for more information.
Visit the Flying Doctors Base and learn about this uniquely Australian service. Location: Junction Street, Cairns, near the Botanic Gardens, only a 10 minute drive from Cairns central business district. Phone: (07) 4053 5687 Cost of Entry: $5.50 adults, $2.75 children, $16.50 family Opening Hours: 8.30 am to 5.00pm Monday to Saturday. Closed Sundays and Public Holidays . All proceeds from the Visitors Centre help to keep the Flying Doctor flying.
Green Island is a very popular coral cay 27 km offshore from
Cairns located within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park World
Heritage Area. The island is surrounded by coral reef and protected
in the Green Island National Park.
Most visitors come for the day. A luxury resort with 46 rooms is situated on the island.
Cassius, a 100 year olf saltwater crocodile, has lived at Marineland Melanesia on Green Island, 27km off the coast of Cairns, for close to 24 years, but in August the whopper of a croc has finall entered the Guinness Book of Records as the largest croc in the world in captivity.
Cassius was captured south of Darwin in 1984, after he attacked yet another boat, and was taken to far north Queensland in 1987. He bears the scars from his battles with other crocodiles during his younger days, and has also lost his left arm.
A visit to north Queensland would just not be complete without at least one day at the Great Barrier Reef. When a survey was held in the UK in 2003 on people's top 'five things to do before you die' , snorkeling or diving on the Great Barrier Reef was high on the list! Many day trips and overnight 'liveaboard' boats operate out of Cairns; here is a selection of them;
The Big Cat : Green Island is a beautiful coral cay which enjoys world acclaim as a tropical paradise on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The island is a protected Marine National Park, readily identified by its emerald rainforest surrounded by white sandy beaches and magnificent coral reefs. The marine life includes endless varieties of colorful fish, turtles, giant clams, shells, starfish, sea anemones and much more. More info...
Wavedancer : Quicksilver's 30 meter luxury sailing catamaran, 'Wavedancer', offers the excitement of big ship sailing combined with the ultimate in comfort. Let the crew pamper you in the luxurious air-conditioned lounge with its fully licensed bar, or soak up the sun and sea air under the sails on our expansive deck. 'Wavedancer' is a memorable experience from the moment you step aboard. They will take you to Low Isles which is situated 15 kilometers north-east of Port Douglas. Low Isles is a 4 acre coral cay surrounded by 55 acres of reef. The corals are very close to the island, which makes snorkeling an enjoyable experience. The two small islands are separate with one common reef. The larger of the two, Woody Island, is uninhabited except for a large bird population. The smaller of the Low Isles is a coral cay with a lighthouse that has been operating since 1878. More info....
Ocean Spirit Upolu Cay Reef Cruise
: Set sail aboard a luxury catamaran with Ocean Spirit Cruises
for Upolu Cay, an uninhabited coral cay lying about 18 nautical
miles from Cairns, an ideal reef destination for a range of different
age groups. The surrounding coral gardens play host to a myriad
of marine life. Dugongs are often seen raising their calves throughout
the year in the protected waters around the cay. You also have
the opportunity to visit either Arlington Reef or Oyster Reef
as you sail out to beautiful Upolu Cay, both of which are teeming
with marine life and offer some of the best coral viewing on the
Great Barrier Reef. For those interested in exploring the coral
reef by diving on their day out to the Great Barrier Reef, Ocean
Spirit also offers introductory dives for the novice and certified
dives for experienced divers.
Overnight/liveaboard dive trips:
Cod hole - Two days/two nights.
Day One - is making our way North along the Agincourt and Ribbon
Reef systems. Enjoy 3 day dives and a night dive. The night dive
you choose may be included as part of the optional advanced diving
Day Two - Thursdays include diving at the famous Cod Hole and the Northern Ribbons, as well as another night dive. Awake to breakfast on Friday morning moored in the calm waters of Snapper Island. It is then a short journey back to the Marina at Port Douglas. Enjoy a minimum of 8 dives, including 2 night dives during your Cod Hole Diving Adventure. Snorkelers are welcome to join and have the opportunity to enjoy a FREE Introductory dive. More info....
The Kuranda railway was a great achievement at the time, long before many modern day machinery was invented thousands of labourers built this railway, including several tunnels, through the mountainous terrain. Up in the rainforest village Kuranda you can browse the markets for crafts and souvenirs and then return on the Skyrail. Buses will take you from the Skyrail base station back to the city again. More info....
Not for the faint hearted.. The Minjin Jungle Swing is guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping! More info....
The Cairns night markets in a central location on the Esplanade offers everything from a foodcourt to souvenirs, clothing, jewellery, and Chinese massage to iron out those muscles after your days of adventure.
Cairns has a thriving nightlife scene, and a few places cater specifically for the backpackers with party nights and games.
From Cairns it is only a couple of hours travel until you get to dry outback country where you will find the Undara lava tubes. They are the oldest standing and best preserved system anywhere in the world. The lava flow is the longest from one single Volcano, stretching over 160 kilometers. Over time, some of the roof collapsed exposing the tunnels in places and allowing the preservation of rainforest plants which were once part of Gondwana some 300 million years ago. Within the tubes themselves are unique ecosystems supporting a variety of unusual animals and insects. How to see this amazing place; A half day sky-safari , a full day sky-safari , or a full day trip which can be extended to an overnight trip.
This amazing attraction lies a bit south of Cairns, a Spanish immigrant early in the 1930's built a Spanish castle almost single handedly!
For an interesting and educating experience in the evening visit Reefteach on 14 Spence St. in the city, Tel/Fax: (07) 4031 7794 . Reef Teach presents a highly informative and entertaining presentation about the Great Barrier Reef. Presented by a Marine Biologist, Dive Instructor & Educationalist, it is the best way to learn about this complex ecosystem.
The Double Island Sea Kayaking tour departs twice daily
circumnavigating Double Island. There is time on the island for snorkeling
and relaxing before kayaking back to beautiful Palm Cove Beach. The
single and double kayaks are designed for the open water and are highly
stable. The half-day tour is suitable for all abilities from total beginners
to experienced kayakers. More
Kuranda Skyrail and Rail Tour encompasses the two most spectacular way to see Queensland's Far North. Firstly, glide over one of the worlds most beautiful rainforest aboard the Skyrail enroute to Kuranda; a picturesque mountain-top village. Here, you will enjoy taking time to explore and enjoy the village and its people. To return to Cairns, board the Kuranda Scenic Rail; winding around curves, across bridges, and through hand hewn tunnels. More info…
BARRON RIVER TRIP (3 1/2 hours duration)
The Barron River Gorge is located just 20 minutes drive north of Cairns and lies along a traditional pathway used by the original indigenous Djabugay people. The spectacular Barron Falls, further upstream, are considered a sacred site. The famous Kuranda Railway and Skyrail Cableway also traverse sections of the gorge.
This heart thumping ride spears through The Barron Gorge National Park and the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics. In the calmer sections you will get to enjoy the ethereal beauty of the worlds oldest rainforest and waterfalls from a unique waterline perspective. During the day you will also discover why the Barron's rapids have names such as 'Rooster Tail', 'Cheese Churn' and 'Hells Gate'.
TULLY RIVER TRIP (12 hours duration)
The drive to Tully, 140 kilometers south of Cairns, is a scenic journey through cloud-covered coastal mountains, clear rivers and streams, fields of sugar cane and exotic fruits.
Rapids include the unforgettable 'Alarm Clock', 'Wet & Moisty', 'Stair Case' and the dramatic 'Theatre' - all before a riverside BBQ lunch opposite 'Ponytail Falls' where time is made to replenish your batteries before the afternoon's remaining rapids.