Category Archives: Cairns

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#21 – Queensland’s waterhole trail

WRITTEN BY EDITOR • APRIL 1, 2015

  • The hidden secret swimming spots around Cairns are number 21 on Australian Traveller’s ‘100 amazing places you haven’t been to yet‘. Nominated by: Carla Grossetti, food and travel journalist.

    “There are dozens of hidden swimming spots around Cairns,” confirms Carla Grossetti. “You could easily spend a happy weekend exploring them,” she says, cooling off between stops along the tropical food trail, bedding down in cosy B&Bs, timber treehouses, luxurious beach resorts, holiday parks and eco lodges. “It’s such an enchanting way to admire the countryside.” Grossetti shares her favourites with us.

    Fairy Falls: “Despite being located right near to Crystal Cascades (a popular local waterhole), this spot is hidden so deeply in the tropical jungle that you need to be a bit adventurous to find it. Turn your back to the Crystal Cascades’ car park, head into the forest where there is an opening between the trees. You must keep the creek on your right, climb over boulders until you reach the most beautiful tranquil deep plunge pool. It is called Fairy Falls because it is so magical,” she says.

    Josephine Falls: “This is a gorgeous, deep green pool, complete with tiered cascade waterfall and ‘Slide Rock’ (nicknamed for obvious reasons), an hour south of Cairns in Wooroonooran National Park.”

    Stoney Creek Falls: “A shallow, family-friendly swimming hole 15 minutes’ north of Cairns, at the end of Stoney Creek Road, Kamerunga.”

    Behana Gorge: “It’s a bit of a walk, but you’ll be rewarded with a deep, cool pool and pretty waterfall, tucked in at the base of the iconic Pyramid mountain in Gordonvale some 30 minutes’ south of Cairns.”

    Granite Gorge Nature Park: “The privately owned park, 12 kilometres west of Mareeba on Chewko Road is dotted with boulders so big that the river has pooled into deep waterholes in between them. Rock hop, canoe, hike and go caving at Granite Gorge, and even camp the night afterwards (from $14 a night) or stay in a cabin (from $95 a night).”

     

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    — Cairns —

    #93 – The secret Frankland Islands

    WRITTEN BY EDITOR • APRIL 1, 2015

    Explore the Great Barrier Reed from your very own secret paradise, the Frankland Islands, close to Cairns, number #93 on Australian Traveller’s ‘100 amazing places you haven’t been to yet‘. Nominated by: Bob East, CEO of Mantra Group.

    The five Frankland Islands (Normanby, Russell, High, Round and Mabel), south-east of Cairns, offer adventure seekers “the chance to camp and explore the reef from your very own tropical paradise,” says Bob East.

    Only 20 people are allowed to camp here at any time – “it’s a truly unique experience,” he says. “I recommend this trip with a group of friends, taken in the cooler months, when the temperature will still be higher than 28 degrees!”

    Once you’ve packed all your gear, you can arrange to be dropped off and picked up by Frankland Island Cruises.

     

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    — Cairns —

    Swimming in the Devil’s Pool, Babinda Boulders

    WRITTEN BY EDITOR • FEBRUARY 6, 2015

    Is this Far North Queensland’s prettiest swimming hole? We have a strong hunch it might be, although, despite local popularity at the nearby Babinda township (59 clicks south of Cairns), the area remains a place of relative serenity.

    As you can see, the series of massive granite rocks, more officially known as the Babinda Boulders, have been smoothed over by several millennia of pure freshwater, which filters down from Queensland’s tallest mountain, Mt Bartle Frere.

    This particular spot, known as Devil’s Pool, is the meeting point of three separate streams (hence the name), and can get “pretty turbulent” during the height of wet season, says local photographer and capturer of this shot, Andrew Watson – though worry not, he adds, there are several gentle pockets of crystal-clear water nearby where you can swim year-round.

    If you’re not up for a dip – the water does have a bit of bite, either delightfully refreshing or rather cold, depending on how thick your skin is – you can take the easy, 500-metre walking track to the Devil’s Pool Lookout instead.

    From Cairns, take the Bruce Highway south to the Babinda turnoff, then follow Munro Street through the middle of town – it flows straight onto Boulders Road which will lead you right where you want to go. How refreshing.

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    — Cairns —

    The 007-like luxury of Crystalbrook Lodge

    WRITTEN BY EDITOR • NOVEMBER 21, 2014

    Boats, helicopters and plunge pools… the brand new Crystalbrook Lodge is where James Bond meets the outback, writes Patrick Higgins (photos: Elisse Hassey)

    The name’s Brook, Crystalbrook.

    OK, so it doesn’t quite have the same delivery as that of the world’s most beloved super-spy, but outback Queensland’s latest luxury offering definitely has the opulence to ensure Bond himself wouldn’t look out of place (minus the exploding pens).

    In 2011, two gentlemen by the names of John Morris and Jim Noli purchased a station from cattleman Gary Hill for $2.2 million (bargain) and decided to turn the on-site homestead into a secluded boutique offering.

    The result: this eye-catching, five-suite lodge located on the edge of Crystalbrook Lake, catering for a maximum of 10 guests at a time. A movie-worthy setting that’ll have you craving a vodka martini in two shakes (not stirs) of a grass-fed lamb’s tail, in other words.

    Your mission begins with a choice between aircraft to transport you to the 35,000-hectare station, located around 180 kilometres west of Cairns. Come via helicopter and you’ll arrive in around an hour or, for the agent with no time to kill, a private-charter flight will have you landing on their own airstrip in about 40 minutes – though 007 would definitely choose the former (it makes for quite a dramatic entrance).

    The property still runs as a working cattle station with 2,000 head currently roaming the grounds, and you’re free to saddle up and join in on a muster should you feel inclined – though once you settle into your lavish environs, simply viewing the surrounds may be enough.

    The champagne is popped as you arrive (be prepared to gawk on cue at the floating lilies and freshwater crocs that dot the top of the glass-sheet lake hugging the feet of the lodgings). Head to the Balinese-style hut that juts out over the water’s edge, and you might even come across a cat-stroking Bond villain, swinging around in his chair to greet you (“Greetings, how nice of you to join us. I wouldn’t fuss over our freshwater friends; they’re the least of your worries…”).

    Make sure you kick him out of that comfy outdoor couch setting, though, to settle yourself in for a viewing of one of the Fanta-orange sunsets that burns up the horizon most afternoons (cold beverage accompaniment recommended).

    One could imagine that James would end up in the lake at some stage during his visit here, wrestling one of those leather-skinned friends – it’s got movie-scene drama all over it. If you’re interested in cooling off sans crocodilian accompaniment, the magnesium wet-edge pool here (thoughtfully added to help soothe sore muscles – the magnesium that is) makes for a viable alternative.

    It’s absurdly photogenic, even without Ursula Andress emerging from its waters, and most afternoons can be well spent here, soaking away in the natural healing aqua. If the sun gets too much, you can always take refuge in the lodge’s state-of-the-art theatre room, complete with full Apple TV connections (or super gadgets, as we like to call them in the field).

    Laying about and supping on three-course meals featuring the region’s finest would be more than adequate for an international man of mystery, but it’s not a real adventure without a little action, is it?

    To get the blood pumping, and for a bird’s-eye view of the dusty-red terrain, you can hire a helicopter for the day and head out over the vast property. Your pilot will sweep his way around rivers, over cattle and wild horses, near and far to crocs and birds.

    Throw a line in at one of the local hot spots brimming with barra, or just find a picnic spot to tip back the Bollinger (with a side of Beluga, naturally). Returning to headquarters, grab a kayak and glide along the lake, making friends with jabirus and lotus birds. If luck favours you, a herd of brumbies may even make an appearance.

    There are plenty more opportunities for the active (guided walking trails are our pick, with magical limestone caves and indigenous art-riddled rock formations to explore) but all the wanderings will most likely encourage a thirst, so a quick stop at the local Chillagoe pub slash post office maybe on the cards. (Not really fitting the sexy-spy theme, but still worthy of a call to converse with some of the characters here, and sample their claim to the ‘best hamburger in the world’.)

    Bellies full, landscape explored, luxury lapped up… It seems like a well-rounded extravagant escape, but a Bond movie wouldn’t be finished without a slight twist, would it?

    The owners have thought of that, too – finish here, and you can choose to extend your holiday on board one of their two six-person motor yachts, which will take you exploring the Great Barrier Reef.

    All you need now is a sunset to sail into.

    The Details: Crystalbrook Lodge

    Getting there
    If you don’t fancy flight transfers, travelling by road will take three hours (4WD) from Cairns.
    Staying there
    Prices for Crystalbrook Lodge start from $900 per person, per night including accommodation, all meals, drinks and some activities. Motor yachts are additional.
    For more info
    crystalbrookcollection.com.au

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    — Cairns —

    Welcome to bush-luxe Crystalbrook Lodge

    WRITTEN BY EDITOR • JULY 8, 2014

    This is an image you’ve never seen before.Why?

    Because it’s from a brand spanking new, ultra-exclusive retreat in far north Queensland: Crystalbrook Lodge.

    The newest of Australia’s prestigious ‘Luxury Lodges’ group (qualia, Southern Ocean Lodge…), this collection of just five suites sits on 34,000 hectares of unspoilt bushland 40 minutes north of Cairns, on the edge of Crystalbrook Lake.

    While you’re here, you can while away the days kayaking, heli-fishing, indulging in Atherton Tablelands produce or simply by lazing around the expansive wet-edge pool (from whence you can partake in a little wildlife spotting, should the urge strike you – multi-tasking as it’s meant to be, yes?).

    Just 10 people can stay here at any one time, which sounds like just about the right amount to us.

    Prices from $3600 per person for three nights, including meals and return flights from Cairns to the property’s private airstrip. Naturally.

    Australian Traveller issue 57: Guide to the Kimberley Special

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    — Cairns —

    Flying Frogman: Scuba-skydiving stuntman’s cinematic freefall making a splash

    WRITTEN BY EDITOR • MAY 21, 2013

    Your schedule too tight to take in scuba diving and skydiving this weekend? Why not try both at once?

    That is the subject of one of the entries in the ‘One Day in Paradise’ film festival promoting Tropical North Queensland, launched on May 15.

    Experienced filmmakers such as 2013 Tropfest Winner Nicholas Clifford are among the 20 contestants involved in the $75,000-first-prize competition.

    All the two-minute films from the Youtube-based festival had to be made using wearable GoPro cameras.

    The flying frogman, Gold Coast stuntman Gulliver Page, pictured, warned that scuba-sky diving isn’t just your run-of-the-mill weekend activity.

    “Jumping out of a helicopter in snorkelling gear and landing on the Great Barrier Reef isn’t for everyone, but it’s certainly a novel way to experience this beautiful part of the world,” he said.

    Other experiences captured in the promotional festival include a gymnastics display in the Daintree National Park and a bull riding youngster sporting a helmet-mounted GoPro.

    One Day in Paradise will be judged in June by a panel including former Tropfest judge and SBS film journalist Sandy George.

     

    — Cairns —

    100 Incredible Travel Secrets #94 Fitzroy Island, QLD

    WRITTEN BY EDITOR • APRIL 3, 2013

    Tropical escape, without the crowds

    Fitzroy Island, Qld

    A 60-minute ferry ride from Cairns is this gorgeous and often-overlooked island, which forms part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

    A haven for water sports and rainforest walks, it’s ideal for the tropical experience, without the crowds.

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    Refreshing Cairns

    WRITTEN BY ADMIN • JULY 2, 2012

    Anna Warwick on the winter appeal of Cairns  Continue reading

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    100 Best Views In Australia #33 The Daintree from Myall Beach, QLD

    WRITTEN BY ADMIN • APRIL 1, 2012

    Where is it?

     Cape Tribulation, 120km north of cairns

    How to see it for yourself?

    Just opposite Cape Tribulation Camping, Lot 11 on Cape Tribulation Road, is the Dubuji Boardwalk. The boardwalk leads directly to Myall Beach where this view can be seen when looking south. This pristine beach has a fringing coral reef that’s exposed at low tide: a great place to explore the rockpools. Inviting as it looks, you can’t swim here in summer stinger season. It’s also one of the many Tropical North Queensland beaches where the Daintree rainforest fringespristine white sand.

    Why I love it

    “Cape Tribulation is where the rainforest meets the reef.” – Dale Flack, Tourism Tropical North Queensland
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    100 Best Views In Australia #98 Captain Cook Highway, Tropical North Qld

    WRITTEN BY ADMIN • APRIL 1, 2012

    Where is it?

    70km between Cairns and Port Douglas

    How to see it for yourself?

    Starting in Cairns, drive along the Captain Cook Highway towards Port Douglas. It takes under an hour, giving plenty of time for stops along the way to enjoy the scenery. This particular view was taken about halfway along, at Rex Lookout.
    Why I love it
    “The road between Cairns and Port Douglas is as good as you’ll get anywhere in the world, with amazing views along the drive you can pull over and really take it in.” – Dale Flack, Tourism Tropical North Queensland

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    — Cairns —

    Great Barrier Reef and the New7Wonders

    WRITTEN BY ADMIN • NOVEMBER 8, 2011

     Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has been listed in the top ten nominations for the New 7 Wonders of Nature. By Victoria Dalzell Continue reading

    — Cairns —

    Cairns in 48 Hours

    WRITTEN BY ADMIN • OCTOBER 30, 2011

    You don’t have to take the week off work to have an action-packed adventure holiday, as Elisabeth Knowles discovered during a weekend in Cairns.

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    Amaroo Trinity Beach – Affordable Beach Breaks

    WRITTEN BY ADMIN • OCTOBER 26, 2011

    Queensland’s Affordable Accommodation – Holiday Rental  Continue reading

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    100 Things To Do Before You Die #095 See Where The Rainforest Meets The Sea In The Daintree

    WRITTEN BY ADMIN • MARCH 28, 2011

    Where is it? Cape Tribulation, Qld, 140km north of Cairns

    If you’ve ever wanted to see what Australia looked like to dinosaurs, Cape Tribulation is where you’ll find out. This gorgeous coastal region in the Daintree National Park is where the rainforest meets the Coral Sea. It’s also the only place on earth where two areas on the World Heritage List sit side by side: The Wet Tropics of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. The rainforest is the most ancient of its kind in the world at 135 million years old and the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem.  
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    Affordable Summer Holidays: Mission Beach

    WRITTEN BY ADMIN • SEPTEMBER 20, 2010

     AT’s guide to the best cheap accommodation for summer and Christmas holidays

     

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    Bedarra Beach House Holiday House

    WRITTEN BY ADMIN • SEPTEMBER 10, 2009

    Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes Continue reading

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    Trinity Beach Palace Holiday House

    WRITTEN BY ADMIN • SEPTEMBER 10, 2009

    Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes Continue reading

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    Sejala Beach House Holiday House

    WRITTEN BY ADMIN • SEPTEMBER 10, 2009

    Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes Continue reading

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    Ultimate Guide to the GBR: Mainland towns of Townsville, Cardwell, Mission Beach, Cairns, Palm Cove, Port Douglas & Cooktown

    WRITTEN BY ADMIN • MARCH 19, 2009

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    Cairns Gets Smart

    WRITTEN BY ADMIN • MARCH 3, 2009

    An AT blog on smart cars coming to the Cairns hotel scene Continue reading

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