Things to do in Cairns
Drive the Waterfall Circuit
Hire a car and drive west of Cairns for about an hour to the Atherton Tablelands, where the Waterfall Circuit awaits. There's dozens of cascading drops across the high country but three of the best are within easy reach of each other: Millaa Millaa, Zillie and Elinjaa Falls. Pack your swimmers (bathing costume) and camera and enjoy one of Cairns' prettiest road trips.
Hike to Glacier Rock
An easy hike for walkers of moderate fitness, the panoramic view of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef islands from the summit of Glacier Rock is worth the exertion. Follow the signs from Stoney Creek Road in the Cairns suburb of Kamerunga for a rainforest walk through Barron Gorge National Park and the Wet Tropics World Heritage area.
Raft the Tully River
North Queensland is known for its big wet season rains that make it perfect for white water rafting. The Tully River is rated one of Australia’s best for white-water enthusiasts, with Grade 3-4 rapids connecting placid pools shaded by rainforest. Raging Thunder offers trips (tel: +61 7 4030 7990; www.ragingthunder.com.au).
Relax at the Esplanade Lagoon
Have an Aussie BBQ at one of the free gas-fired BBQs, catch some tropical sunshine on landscaped parklands, and take a swim at the Esplanade Lagoon, the daytime hub of Cairns city (www.cairns.qld.gov.au).
Skydive the Great Barrier Reef
Skydiving over World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest is top of any self-respecting adrenaline junkie’s dream. It’s the highest tandem jump in Australia; free fall from 9,000–15,000 feet at 25-220km per hour for up to a full minute of heart racing thrills and spectacular views if you dare. Skydive Australia will sort you out (www.skydive.com.au).