Located in Queensland, Cairns is a magnificent city that’s considered a major transport hub and commercial centre in the east coast. It is also a great starting point for those who want to explore the Great Barrier Reef, one world’s most beautiful natural attractions.
Unfortunately, many tourists still do not know that other than being a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns offers access to many fun experiences and exciting adventures. This is the reason why, even domestic tourists who are visiting Queensland, bypass Cairns in favour of Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
But if you ask people who have been to Cairns, you’d be surprised that it is chock-full of opportunities for value-for-money fun and adventure and worthy to be included in any traveller’s travel bucket list. Sailing, diving, trekking, skydiving, and island hopping are just some of the activities you‘ll experience in Cairns. This underrated city provides for many opportunities for adrenalin-pumping activities that could rival those offered by more popular adventure destinations in the world.
Heading to Queensland anytime soon? Below is a list of fun activities in and around Cairns you probably didn’t know about.
White Water Rafting
One of the must-try activities when travelling in Cairns is white water rafting along the length of Tully River to conquer some of Australia’s most challenging rapids with a lush rainforest as your backdrop. As you negotiate through narrow crevices and be thrilled by numerous exhilarating drops, let the sheer beauty of Far North Queensland take your breath away and recharge your batteries before you return to your fast-paced city life back home.
If you have a thing for heart-stopping adventures, Cairns is the ultimate destination for you. Have the courage to defy extreme heights and book a skydiving adventure from Cairns. Enjoy unparalleled views of gorgeous beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, surrounding islands and a World Heritage-listed rainforest as you look down from 14,000 feet up in the air during your free fall dive.
Your tandem free fall skydiving adventure will be one of the most memorable experiences in your life.
For a beautiful island getaway, head over to Green Island for the day, a coral cay that’s part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park World Heritage Area, just a short boat ride from Cairns.
Featuring dense rainforests, powdery white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and exotic marine life, Green Island is serene, peaceful, and amazingly beautiful. Join a relaxing full-day or half-day tour to Green Island to experience nature at its finest.
Another island you should consider visiting is Fitzroy Island; it is home to a tropical rainforest and a coral reef system that are just as beautiful as Green Island’s.
While the Great Barrier Reef is a must when in Cairns, there are other natural attractions waiting to be discovered. One of these is Daintree National Park, where you’ll find some of the oldest rainforests in the planet.
Spanning approximately 460 square miles, the Daintree is named after Australian geologist and photographer Richard Daintree. The rainforest boasts diverse flora and fauna due to its excellent climate and topography. It is home to approximately 3% of Ausralia’s frogs, reptiles, and marsupials and houses 90% of the country’s bat and butterfly species.
Another important feature of the Daintree is that the tropical rainforest is located very near the Great Barrier Reef such that visitors are treated to a coastal scenery like no other, lush greenery stopping just right where the sea begins.
Just right where the two natural attractions meet stands Cape Tribulation, a beautiful town with a small population. Featuring small inns, hostels, eco-lodges and resorts popular among domestic and international tourists, Cape Tribulation also offers activities like zip lining, horseback riding, and various water sports.
Australian Wildlife Encounters
Located in the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics, Kuranda is the go-to destination for Austalian wildlife experiences in Cairns.
This picturesque village, known as the centre for Aboriginal arts and crafts in Tropical North Queensland, is an ideal mountain destination for those looking to have close encounters with birds, butterflies, koalas, turtles, eels, wombats, crocodiles, kangaroos, and wombats.
Kuranda is best experienced on board a 6WD amphibious WW2 Army Duck, which will let you explore the rainforest to appreciate its fascinating flora and fauna. Your Army Duck experience provides for a unique perspective of one of Australia’s most complex and diverse ecosystems.
While swimming at the Esplanade’s man-made lagoon is a fun activity, nothing beats taking a dip at a swimming hole at the bottom of a plunge waterfall.
There are a good number of waterfalls that are quite easy for you to visit from Cairns and a must-visit is Milla Millaa, located in Queensland’s Tablelands region. The world heritage-listed 18.3 metre plunge waterfalls are the most picturesque waterfalls in Australia. At the base is a pool, suitable for swimming and taking a dip in, which is a big favourite among locals and visitors alike, given the region’s climate.
The Millaa Millaa Falls Circuit is made up of 3 waterfalls – Millaa Milla, Zillie, and Ellinjaa. The falls are situated just outside the town of Millaa Millaa.
Another waterfall that’s famous in Queensland is Barron Falls. The steep cascading waterfalls, located within the Barron National Park, is near Kuranda. To get the best views of the waterfalls, join Kuranda tours that include free rides on the Kuranda Scenic Skyrail. Admire spectacular views of the waterfalls from different lookouts at the Barron Falls Station.
Tropical Wine Tasting
Unknown to many North Queensland is one of Australia’s wine regions and Cairns is known as the premier tropical fruit wine region in the world. Cairns’ unique wines are made from mangoes, bananas, lychees, pineapples, and other tropical fruits grown from North Queensland’s best orchards.
Most of the fruit wineries are easily accessible from Cairns. When joining food and wine tours from Cairns, do not forget to take sips of fruit wines made from Australian native fruits like Davidson Plum and Lemon Aspen.
Planning an adventure trip to Queensland? Add these action-packed Cairns tours and activities to your itinerary!