Waterfalls, Rainforests and Gardens
Venture beyond the Esplanade and you’ll discover the heart of Far North Queensland. The Cairns Botanic Gardens is a great introduction to the beauty of the tropics. Just 20 kilometres west of town lies Crystal Cascades, a series of inviting freshwater swimming holes and waterfalls. Rather admire the Cairns rainforest from above the canopy? The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway will immerse you among gorgeous palms and giant ferns, then jump on the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway back to Cairns to traverse through dense rainforest, rugged mountains, and the stunning Barron Gorge. Interested in going further afield? The World-Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest is home to a range of native flora and fauna, including the tree-dwelling kangaroo and the cassowary.
One of the best ways to see the Cairns and its surroundings is by water. Thrill seekers are for the ride of their lives as they race through the beautiful Trinity Inlet. Local’s best-kept secret, Fitzroy Island is a haven for water sports, including sea kayaking, ocean trampolining, snorkelling and diving. Feel the need for speed? Get your fix and white water raft down the rapids of the Tully River and through World-Heritage Rainforest.
Great Barrier Reef
No trip to Cairns is complete without a visit to the world’s largest coral system. Day tours will take you out to snorkel or dive the Reef, guiding you through the technicolour dream of coral and marine life. And non-swimmers needn’t miss out. The Seawalker will descend you into the Great Barrier Reef to walk the ocean floor and see what all the fuss is about.
Markets and Cultural Attractions
Cairns’ markets are a mandatory stop for travellers who want a taste of the local culture. The mountain village of Kuranda is best known for its galleries and markets, the latter which specialise in leather goods, wood and jewellery. Prefer to shop in town? Every Saturday, the Cairns Esplanade Market is where local artisans proudly share their work, stocking everything from one-of-a-kind ceramics to natural skincare products. For night owls, the Cairns Night Markets comes alive every evening at 5pm, with 131 regularly rotating stalls to ensure sifting for treasure never gets boring. Want an insight into indigenous culture? Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park brings the world’s living culture to life through powerful displays of art and dance.