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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).

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

Book Accommodation

Featured Hotels


Tropic Days Backpackers Hostel

This is simply the best backpackers hostel in town, offering a choice of singles, doubles and small dorms in a beautifully restored Queenslander. There is also a swimming pool surrounded by hammocks for lazy days. One of the best cheap hotels in Cairns for those on a budget.

Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort and Spa

Despite its mouthful of a name, Sea Temple is an elegant apartment-style hotel with direct access to Palm Cove’s palm tree-lined beach. For the ultimate indulgence, book a room with private plunge pool or rooftop spa.

Cairns Queenslander Hotel and Apartments

Just one block from the Cairns Esplanade Memorial Walk and beach, the Cairns Queenslander offers a range of accommodation including spacious private balcony rooms, standard rooms, and self-catering 2 bedroom apartments. For those travelling on business, the hotel is located close to Cairns Central Business District.

Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort

Located just minutes from Cairns city centre, this 5-star family-friendly resort is set on 28 acres of grounds that include swimming pools and a playground for the children, award winning tropical gardens and rainforest areas. The resort offers a range of accommodation, from luxury condos that sleep up to eight people, to spa villas, and tropical ensuite cabins. Tour companies collect at the front of the resort.

The Reef House

The Reef House is influenced by colonial style beach houses, with plantation shutters, latticework and lush greenery. It offers a relaxed tropical vibe and sits in the heart of Palm Cove’s beachfront boulevard.

Floriana Guesthouse

Occupying an enviable location on the Cairns Esplanade, Floriana Guest House is a heritage-listed former private mansion from the 1930s. Styled with period furnishings, it offers traditional hospitality along with an insight into Cairns history.