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Things to do in Cairns

Renowned for being the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is a tropical oasis with surprises around every corner.

 

There’s truly no place like it on earth; Cairns is the adventure capital of Australia where travellers flock from around the globe to connect with nature.

 

Fringed by the reef and enveloped by rainforest, the world’s warmest welcome is waiting for all to feel and experience, with plenty to see, do and explore.

 

Located north-west of Cairns, Kuranda is nestled within one of the oldest tropical rainforests on earth. Here, you can jump aboard the famous Kuranda Scenic Railway & Skyrail and wind your way through waterfalls, the breathtaking Barron Gorge and learn about the history of the making of the handmade tunnels and bridges. This experience also includes hotel transfers and provides guests with the opportunity to experience stunning views across the cane fields of Cairns, plus a stop on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway - an iconic rainforest experience that includes time at both Red Peak and Barron Falls stations, both with spectacular lookouts.

 

Looking to hit the beautiful blue waters off Cairns? This 1 Day Sailing: Reef Daytripper experience; where guests can get up to $15 cash back per person when you book with us. Enjoy a full day sailing tour on the Great Barrier Reef including a guided snorkelling tour, a delicious, tropical-style buffet lunch, complimentary fruit platter with a selection of cheeses, crackers and wine, plus coffee or tea on arrival.

 

With Cairns being the Great Barrier Reefs’ mainland epicenter, there’s a multitude of ways locals and visitors can access one of the world’s most explored tourist destinations (which is even visible from space). There’s over 2000 individual reefs and 900 picturesque islands stretching over the area, with the world’s most exquisite beaches ready for you to roam. 

 

For the thrillseekers looking for the best view of the region, Skydive Cairns is Australia’s premier skydive company, and offers spectacular scenic views over Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding rainforest from 15,000 ft.

 

Back on dry land, Green Island is one of the oldest coral cays on the Great Barrier Reef and includes a beautiful, dense rainforest - which makes sense seeing as though the island is a national park and home to over 120 bird species. This Green Island Full Day Tour from Cairns includes return catamaran transfers, the choice of snorkel equipment or glass-bottomed boat tour, a snorkelling demonstration and reef presentation.

 

Head south to the photogenic Fitzroy Island and guests can enjoy one of the region’s most unspoilt areas. Complete with rich rainforests and sandy beaches, the option of a half day or full day tour includes return ferry transfers, up to 6 hours of free time and plenty of other activities.

 

Multi-day tours throughout the region are undeniably the best way to make the most of your time in Cairns, whether it’s a 2 Day, 1 Night Great Barrier Reef Snorkel Tour, which includes access to Thetford and MooreOuter Barrier Reefs, all snorkelling equipment and wetsuits, plus all meals and accommodation, or, the ultimate 3 Day, 2 Night Liveaboard Reef Trip, where guests can enjoy an unforgettable experience onboard the OceanQuest Catamaran, with a choice of twin or double rooms and including the opportunity to join the unique and exhilarating 'sharks in the dark' experience. 

 

For the thrillseekers, Cairns is home to plenty of outdoor activities like bungee jumping, white water rafting and skydiving throughout the year. Over in The Atherton Tablelands, the highest region in Cairns, this White Water Rafting & Atherton Tablelands package extends across two days, with activities like sliding down a natural rock slide, swimming under waterfalls and diving into a volcanic crater lake all on the agenda, before tackling the mighty Barron River while whitewater rafting.

 

Hungry for more? Bring your appetite along to this Outback Tasting Tour through the Atherton Tablelands. With smaller group sizes, your knowledgeable, local guide will lead you through this beautiful food and wine experience from Port Douglas. From the contrasting landscapes of lush rainforest, crops and dairyland to stunning ochre savannah plains, these rich volcanic soils allow farmers to grow diverse crops including bananas, coffee, sugar cane, avocados, mangoes, macadamia nuts, and citrus, which you will learn about as you taste your way around the regions 'food bowl'.

 

Loved by locals and tourists alike, Cairns is a region ready to welcome you - so what are you waiting for? Book your next tour or activity with Backpacker Deals today.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About ​Day Trips in Cairns

How many days do you need for Cairns?

The longer the better, as there's just so much to see, do and explore. The total amount of time you wish to spend in Cairns completely depends on what kind of holiday you're after - although at least 5 days is ideal!

 

What is the best season to visit Cairns?

Winter is the time to visit if you prefer cooler, more comfortable temperatures...although peaks are still around 26°C between June and August. Head out to the Great Barrier Reef during this time as the water is still pleasant – or get into adventure activities that require calm weather, such as hot air ballooning and sailing.

 

What are the top attractions to visit in Cairns?

Nature and adventure collide in Cairns and make for some pretty epic attractions. From snorkelling or sailing through the Great Barrier Reef to a scenic helicopter flight above Green Island, or skydiving above Mission Beach to a guided tour through the Daintree Rainforest, there’s plenty to explore and enjoy.

 

Which places provide the best tours in Cairns for kids and families?

For an activity the whole family will enjoy, this Cairns Aquarium General Admission ticket offer gives you all-day access to this much-loved Cairns attraction, where you can engage in presentations, live feeds and see Australia's only 10-meter Deep Reef Tank, 360-degree Oceanarium, 20m underwater tunnel, and mangrove boardwalk! For a fun-filled day outdoors check out this35 Minute Jet Boat Ride which is also sure to thrill!

 

Which experiences are best for multi-day tours in Cairns?

Experience more on a multi-day tour through Cairns and surrounds. Spend an incredible 3 days on the Great Barrier Reef for more time in the water on this all inclusive 3 Day 2 Night Liveaboard Reef Trip. Or, for the ultimate souvenir, there’s a 4 Day Learn to Dive Coursethat will equip you with open water certification by the end of it. There’s also this incredible 2 Day 1 Night Cape Tribulation tour where you can You’ll be swim in pristine creeks, laze about on tropical beaches and search for saltwater crocodiles in their natrural habitat - how incredible is that?