Cairns city for me, is not my favourite. Compared to other cities we’ve explored in Australia, I feel Cairns is a little too industrial, grey and dull. However, that is just my opinion. Despite not being keen on the city, Cairns is the perfect base for some great adventures.
Whether you’re looking to dive the Great Barrier Reef, get lost in the jungle, find yourself stuck on a paradise island or chase down waterfalls, Cairns is the spot to discover Tropical North Queensland.
I am not yet finished exploring TNQ for myself, but here I’ll share my five favourite things to do whilst visiting Cairns. I hope it helps with your own adventures!
1. Dive the Great Barrier Reef
Surely this is on everyone’s bucket list right?! There are so many companies in Cairns that will take you out to the reef for a lifetime experience. We went with Ocean Freedom who were fab, but we didn’t see that much wildlife unfortunately. I couldn’t really complain about factors of life we have no control over!
Farley and I both did our first introductory dive on the Great Barrier Reef with these guys and this is a must for your bucket list. Snorkelling is amazing but diving is just INSANE! I freaked out at first but once I’d got the hang of breathing and equalising my ears, I found myself immersed in a whole new underwater world.
2. Lose yourself in paradise on Fitzroy Island
In my last blog post you would have heard about our time on Fitzroy Island. Just a 45 minute ferry ride from Cairns Reef Terminal you really can’t miss this place out.
We spent our day swimming with turtles, jumping on an ocean trampoline, eating burgers at Foxy’s, and sunbathing on one of Australia’s best beaches, Nudey Beach (by name only). We also visited the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre which was so amazing to see the hard work being put in to save the sea turtles!
Fitzroy is the perfect place for a day trip but I’d recommend extending your stay and staying overnight at the Fitzroy Island Resort. We’re heading back in a couple of weeks, who wants to join?
Check out my last blog post for the full story on Fitzroy!
3. Swim, sunbathe and relax at Cairns Esplanade
If you’re anything like Farley and I when you’re travelling, you will need some days doing the bare minimum! As much as we love adventure, exploring and discovering new destinations, sometimes we just like to chill. All day.
With no beach, the lagoon at Cairns Esplanade is the perfect spot for doing just this. We loved taking a picnic down with our beach towels, finding a spot that’s half shady half sunny and spending the day relaxing and recovering from adventures!
4. Do go chasing waterfalls!
Whoever says don’t go chasing waterfalls, don’t trust them. Tropical North Queensland is the capital of waterfalls. Most of which are inland from Cairns so it’s best to hire a car to get there!
Once you’ve got your own set of wheels, head for the Atherton Tablelands. Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls, Ellinjaa Falls, Nandroya Falls, Josephine Falls, Babinda Boulders, Crystal Cascades, Fairy Falls to name just a few. I still have some to tick of my bucket list but the ones I’ve visited have taken my breath away. Just see for yourself!
5. Road trip to the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation
For those that follow my travels, you’ll know that this is where I am now. This is where the rainforest meets the reef, Sir David Attenborough’s favourite place and my magical home.
If you’re in Cairns, then take yourself on a road trip up North. The drive alone is spectacular and once your here the experience is even better! You’ll find yourself in the struggle I currently experience everyday – not being able to swim in bluest ocean you’ll ever see which washes onto the crystal white sandy beaches, fringed with tropical palm trees. It looks like the complete paradise but with crocs about, swimming is a NO! Do not risk it!!
You also can’t come to Daintree and not experience a crocodile cruise on the Daintree River. I have lots of recommendations if you need any! In my next blog, I am going to share my guide to exploring the Daintree and Cape Tribulation.
See you soon! Let me know if you’re ever in the rainforest! 🌿