CAIRNS – THE AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER GUIDE
Cairns – The Australian Traveller Guide
First rate dining, plenty of good hotels and lots of night life make it the major staging point for any Tropical North Queensland holiday. The Great Barrier Reef is right on your doorstep, along with a stunning tropical rainforest. Cairns is a 22hr drive north of Brisbane, the closest capital city, but this tropical town is considered by many to be the unofficial capital of Tropical North Queensland.
Where to Stay
It all depends on why you are in Cairns. Most of the hotels are around CBD with the high end hotels all there.
For an extended holiday (anything more than two nights) we suggest you head either north or south to find some of the great laid back towns of tropical Queensland. There is the sophisticated with plenty to do and not too crowded Port Douglas. More sedate and romantic Palm Cove. And for those a little more adventurous Cooktown to the north is more of a frontier town than anywhere else in the tropical north. To the south there is the idyllic lazy Mission Beach, also leaping off point for the family friendly Dunk Island and romantic super glitzy luxury Bederra Island.
What to Do
Both north and south of Cairns the all important reef trips will be a lot less crowded and therefore more enjoyable. The Daintree and Mossman Gorges are not to be missed. The indigenous tours and activities are also well worth it.
Adventure junkies can’t take themselves away from the white water rafting around Tully. The Kuranda Scenic Railway is a little touristy but a worthwhile day trip out of Cairns. It’s also worthwhile to adventure further out to Lava Tubes at Undara.
There are clearly defined seasons in the tropical north, Wet and Dry. I’s always warm to hot. Peak season and the best time to travel is July to September, but the shoudler season of May and June can be the best of the weather and value.
The wet is not always out of the question, it doesn’t rain every day and it does stop, you just need to be able to handle humidity. The real downer in the wet can be the tropical cyclones.
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...
Anna Warwick on the winter appeal of Cairns Cairns is often seen as a transit city, but I think this rural gem of far north Queensland is much more than that. From a window seat to the right of your plane as you’re coming in to land, you may glimpse the quays and islands of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef and rollicking gypsy whales. The neat, low-rising harbour city is splashed with luminous colours, reflecting the coral gardens at its doorstep. Lush fig trees and ample gardens are sprinkled with fairylights, while the Casino has a massive tropical atrium...
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,...
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 Image by Tourism Tropical North Queensland...
Australia's Great Barrier Reef has been listed in the top ten nominations for the New 7 Wonders of Nature. By Victoria Dalzell One of Australia’s most iconic natural landmarks, The Great Barrier Reef, is currently in the running for being included in the New7Wonders of Nature campaign. As the only country with two nominations for the prestigious claim, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef was named one of the top ten finalists, while Uluru made it to the top 28. The project is being run by The New7Wonders Foundation, established in 2001 by Swiss-born Canadian film maker, author and adventurer, Bernard Weber,...
Queensland's Affordable Accommodation - Holiday Rental Where is it? Just north of Cairns, Tropical North Queensland. Amaroo overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is a two-minute walk from Trinity Beach. The area is naturally striking as the rainforests surrounding the Atherton Tablelands meet the beaches of the Coral Sea. Popular nearby attractions include Palm Cove Beach and Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. What’s it like? The Amaroo complex has 38 self-contained apartments, which have been given a four-star AAA rating. Guests can expect a fresh and modern apartment with queen-sized bed, ensuite bathroom, kitchenette (including two hotplates, microwave, refrigerator and freezer), open...
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...
AT's guide to the best cheap accommodation for summer and Christmas holidays Mission Beach Why do we rate it? To get to know the real Tropical North Queensland, go to Mission Beach. Remarkably untouched by major development (considering its proximity to Cairns), this is a tropical holiday without the fuss. Where is it? 140km south of Cairns – a 2hr 15min drive via the two wettest towns in Australia (Tully and Innisfail). If it’s bucketing, as it does this time of year, take it slow. Where to stay Options in Mission Beach range from camping and holiday parks to...
Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes Only five klicks offshore from Mission Beach in northern Qld, and just a long stone’s throw south of Dunk Island, the Bedarra Beach House sits alone, wrapped in wooden decks and verandahs, overlooking crescent-shaped Coomool and Melaleuca Bays. A coastal walk west will fetch you up at Gull Rocks, while any excursions east will take you past the Three Sisters offshore, and around to Big Rocks. You’re miles from the Bedarra Hideaway, even further from Bedarra Island Resort, and this, your tropical home, is truly your own. There’s no TV, no mobile...
Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes A cash-flasher’s dream come true, just a single night at Trinity Beach Palace will likely cost ten times your plane fare to get there. And while most self-proclaimed “palaces” in the tourism industry turn out to be a flagrant exaggeration, this one’s worthy of the name. Sprawling behind its regal gated entrance is a lavish oasis that wouldn’t look out of place in a billionaire rapper’s music video, all leopard skin bathrobes and beautiful semi-naked women sinking Cristal and frolicking by the pool. The “house” sleeps 12 and features six private couples’...
Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes If you’re after that picture perfect beachside town – complete with 14kms of bleached white sand, an immense rainforest backdrop and more than enough sophisticated eateries, boutique shops and art galleries to entertain you for an idle week or two – look no further than northern Qld’s Mission Beach. It’s no surprise that several fancy holiday homes have sprung up in the area as well, but Sejala Beach House could well be, like Cinderella, the fairest of them all. The old timber house sleeps six and is set under shady coconut palms...
ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE GBR: MAINLAND TOWNS OF TOWNSVILLE, CARDWELL, MISSION BEACH, CAIRNS, PALM COVE, PORT DOUGLAS & COOKTOWN
The gateway to Magnetic Island and the Palm Group, Townsville’s most enticing feature is its waterfront Strand precinct. Tropical gardens amid children’s playgrounds and water fountains are linked with wide pathways leading to the swimming lagoon. Just ten minutes from the airport, the strip is lined with restaurants, bars and cafes overlooking Cleveland Bay. Breakwater Marina is the departure point for Yongala Wreck dives, as well as the base for a small bareboat fleet, while car and passenger ferries for Magnetic and Palm Islands depart from Ross Creek (www.townsvilleholidays.info). Visitors travelling to Hinchinbrook Island will more than likely board their...
A journey into my stupidity I have never ever felt more useless than for the first two hours of today. Don't get me wrong, I really didn't mind. The Kuku Yalanji Guided Ranforest Walk probably doesn't cover more than 1km in the 1.5hr round trip and it's not strenuous (Magda Szubanski has done it for heaven's sake). It's the knowledge imparted along the way that is the most humbling. Wawabuja, or Harold Tayley to me and you, isn't just our guide through the rainforest but a shaman for his local people with incredible healing powers -- as well as a...
Snakes, bats and a dark cave. Not your typical combination of holiday attractions, right? Chris Cipollone begs to differ. It all takes place in the famous Undara Lava Tubes in north Queensland from December to March each year. Taking visitors through, Undara Experience tour guide Marcus regularly gets to witness and share with others “a wild animal hunting for it’s prey, totally oblivious to you.” The snakes will leave you alone as well. They only have eyes for the bats, and there are plenty of them to go around. The wild animal he’s talking about is the brown tree snake,...
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