Looking for the best things to do in Cairns? From the Barrier Reef to epic waterfalls here are 8 experience you can’t miss out on!
Trying to figure out the best things to do in Cairns? Well this awesome little party town in the northern tip of Queensland has so much to offer!
From the world famous Great Barrier Reef to epic waterfalls and chilling in the lagoon pool – here are 8 of the best things to do in Cairns…
1. Visit the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the top natural wonders of the world – the largest coral reef system in the world. Located just off the coast of Queensland, visiting the barrier reef is the top thing to do in Cairns.
The site consists of nearly 3,000 reefs and 900 islands, with perfect water conditions for exploring the vibrant underwater world. Great Barrier Reef has an abundant marine life, which also includes endangered and native species.
Some of the favorite marine creatures to see at the reef include whales, sea turtles, over 100 species of sharks, and more than 1,500 species of fish. The reef also includes diverse flora such as seagrass, algae, seaweed, and corals, creating the perfect habitat for a thriving underwater community.
Over two million people visit the Great Barrier Reef every year. Tours are provided for snorkeling and diving while learning about the site from trained experts.
2. Explore the Atherton Tablelands Waterfalls
If waterfalls are what you’re after, then you’ll quickly fall in love with the Atherton Tablelands waterfalls. Located outside of Cairns, the site includes a well-known circuit of 10 waterfalls, and even more to discover if you’re adventurous to explore deeper into the surrounding rainforest.
The Atherton Tablelands waterfalls include single-drop waterfalls of all shapes and sizes. The Millstream Falls is the widest of all the falls and all of Australia. Other falls give you fantastic photo opportunities such as the Millaa Millaa Falls, one of the most photographed and featured in popular commercials.
Atherton Tablelands also provides a few unique styles of falls, such as cascading falls of the Dinner Falls, or the Nandroya Falls, which seems to emerge from a moss-covered alcove.
Many of the falls provide natural pools for cooling off in the Australian heat or enjoying a nice lunch at nearby picnic tables.
3. Day Trip to Cape Tribulation
Choose one of your free days while visiting Cairns and spend the day visiting Cape Tribulation, a remote stretch of pristine beach hidden within the Daintree Rainforest. Many tours to the beach include a trek through the forest to discover the ancient flora and fauna living within the world’s oldest rainforest.
After reaching the coast, you’ll be welcomed by scenic views looking out to the Coral Sea, where the Great Barrier Reef begins.
Cape Tribulation is a place for enjoying leisurely walks along the white sand beach and views of the turquoise water. Be sure to walk along the boardwalk up to the Alexandra Lookout for sweeping views of the Daintree River and sea.
Keep in mind that visitors are not permitted to go near the water due to crocodiles.
4. Bungy Jump in the Cairns Rainforest
You may as well get your adrenaline fix during your visit to Cairns by experiencing the AJ Hacket Cairns Bungy Jump, the only Bungy jump attraction in Australia.
Visitors jump from a 50-metre tower, free-falling in the Cairns Rainforest – enjoy views of the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef on the way down. Don’t worry, the expert staff provides enough safety measures to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
The attraction includes more than a dozen ways to jump from the tower, with options suitable for beginners or seasoned professional jumpers. There are also packages available for photos and videos of your jump.
After your jump, settle down with a drink at the bar or enjoy the breath-taking views from the skydeck.
5. Chill at the Esplanade Swimming Lagoon Pool
Looking for a way to escape the hot Australian heat? Chill out at the Esplanade Swimming Lagoon pool. The pool is one of the most popular attractions, located on the Cairns foreground with filtered water pumped in from the sea to create an artificial lagoon.
The lagoon pool is a place for safe swimming and designed for tourists of all ages. Spend a few hours at the lagoon to swim in the warm waters; let the kids play in the sand while you relax in the shade underneath the trees. There are also wooded deck areas for lounging.
Surrounding the lagoon are lots of restaurants, cafes, and shopping options.
The Esplanade Swimming Lagoon Pool is FREE and open daily for the public all year long.
6. Party The Night Away!
Travellers love a good party vibe and Cairns is bursting with epic nightlife to help you start or finish your East Coast adventure!
There are plenty of awesome backpacker bars dotted around Cairns – from upmarket cocktails to cheap drinks deals and dancing on tables!
For those hunting for a party hostel, look no further than Gilligans – which has a pool, poolside bar, huge nightclub and heaps of events throughout the week. Whether you stay there or not though it’s a great place to party.
When it comes to bars in town it doesn’t really get much more classic than the Woolshed. Grab a cheap backpacker feed here before they turn the tables into the dance floor and your can party until the early hours of the morning!
…so make sure you pencil in a couple of good nights out and a couple of hangover days by the pool!
7. Immerse in Aboriginal culture at the Tjapukai Cultural Park
Tjapukai Cultural Park is a cultural venue showcasing the best aboriginal experience in Australia. Get to know one of the oldest living cultures- over 40,000 years old – via interactive activities.
More than just an educational exhibition about the culture, the cultural park lets visitors get hands-on and interact with local aboriginals, employees to help provide an authentic experience about the culture.
Some of the common activities to engage in include traditional dance, making fire, listening to the chilling musical sounds of the didgeridoo, and even practice throwing a spear or boomerang. Many of the activities featured were essential aspects of daily life for the aboriginals.
The venue also includes live plays and performances.
Tickets for the Tjapukai Cultural Park start at AUD 49.
8. Witness the Sights from the Kuranda Scenic Railway
Riding on a train in Australia might not seem like a major attraction, but the views along the Kuranda Railway are definitely worth the short trip. The railway extends from Cairns to Kuranda, taking passengers along the scenic route through Barron’s Gorge.
Board a steam train at either endpoint and enjoy the nearly 3km route, which includes multiple stops for hopping on and off. The two stations in the rainforest give access to walking along the boardwalks to discover the lush forest scenery before continuing the journey through the gorge. You’ll also have fantastic views of Barron Falls.
Make sure to spend some time at Kuranda Village to shop in one of three markets at various stalls selling perfect souvenirs and locally-made handicrafts.
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