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From exploring the Great Barrier Reef to swimming in the Esplanade Lagoon or even tasting the incredible gin at Wolf Lane, here is our A-Z on how Cairns will be your trip of a lifetime!
Whether you're visiting for a couple of days, a week or even a month, Cairns will imbed itself into your fondest memories and always hold a special place in your heart. Known as the adventure capital of Australia and the gateway to The Great Barrier Reef, Cairns has something for everyone, from nature and wildlife attractions, to the areas' history and culture. Here at Pacific Hotels we want all of our guests to have the most amazing holidays possible, so here are our recommendations on the best things to do in Cairns this year, to make your journey to North Queensland the trip of a lifetime!
Cairns is home to some of the most spectacular landscapes and natural attractions in the world. With dense rainforests, powerful waterfalls, tropical islands, vibrant reefs and ranging mountains, there is enough natural beauty in this small corner of the Earth to keep you occupied for a lifetime!
I'm sure The Great Barrier Reef is already at the top of everyone's 'To Do' lists, however we thought that we would explain a bit about the reef and try to help you pick the perfect tour for your own trip! As the reef is a global attraction, there are many tours for many varieties of travellers, whether you're a young family or an experienced scuba diver, there will be a perfect option for you, but finding the information can sometimes be difficult. So here is a few options to try and make your planning a little bit easier!
Image Credit: Tourism Australia
These floating playgrounds offer activities for all ages and are the perfect choice if you have young children or you're worried about your swimming abilities. You'll be able to make the most of the reef with activities tailored to all ages and experience, with the majority of Outer Reef Pontoons offering glass bottom boat tours, snorkelling and scuba diving.
In terms of selecting the perfect Outer Reef Pontoon for you, our recommendation is REEF MAGIC. This is the newest pontoon on the block, powered using solar and wind energy, with a fully functioning scientific lab on board - this pontoon has been built for the future. Offering crowd favourite Great Barrier Reef activities like intro and certified diving, helmet diving, snorkelling experience tours, an underwater observatory and glass bottom boat tours, whilst also offering presentations from marine biologists and indigenous guides, the Reef Magic Pontoon is your first step to an unforgettable experience in Cairns.
Alternatively, there are plenty of day trip options for more experienced swimmers and divers, which will allow you to explore more of the reef. These tours will usually take you to two sites on the Great Barrier Reef, with options for snorkelling, intro diving or certified diving.
To find the Great Barrier Reef experience that is right for you, visit HERE.
Another one you probably already have on your list - exploring the surrounding rainforests is a must when travelling to Cairns. The Daintree Rainforest, Kuranda and the Tablelands Region are all incredibly beautiful in their own unique way, and really worth exploring if have the opportunity. Without a doubt, the best way for you to get the most out of the surrounding rainforests and waterfalls is through a guided day trip, as the area is so vast, having the experts guide you will be your best opportunity to see all the iconic landscapes and wildlife.
Image Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland - Christoffer Collin
The Daintree Rainforest is the largest rainforest in Australia and the oldest rainforest in the world. It is home to some incredible wildlife, such as crocodiles and cassowary's, along with incredible scenery, with Mossman Gorge, The Daintree River and Cape Tribulation. We recommend finding a tour that covers all of these locations, as the scenery is simply spectacular and will offer you the best chance to see some elusive wildlife, like the saltwater croc!
Kuranda offers a range of fun and exciting experiences. See Barron Falls from the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, take in the sights from the Karunda Scenic Railway or even explore the Rainforestation Nature Park from an army duck vehicle! The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is also a worthwhile stop whilst you're in the area, being the largest butterfly flight aviary in the Southern Hemisphere with over 1500 species of butterflies, it really is a magical spectacle.
Atherton Tablelands gives you a taste of everything the Cairns region has to offer, with a combination of rainforests, savannah habitats, desert lands, volcanic crater like lakes and much more. To see all of the awe-inspiring sights, Waterfall Wanderers is a great adventure, which will take you throughout the Tablelands. The day trip will appeal to everyone (aside from members of TLC), as you'll spend the day chasing waterfalls and will get to see almost every iconic natural landmark along the way! You'll journey to Babinda Boulders, Josephine Falls, Millaa Millaa Falls, Mount Hypipamee, The Crater, Dinner Falls, The Curtain Fig Tree (look out for Tree Kangaroos) and Lake Eacham, plus, you'll stop along the way to search for wild platypus!
Image Credit: Tourism Australia
For easy access to a range of rainforest and waterfall tours all in one place, visit HERE.
For a more relaxed experience, visiting one of the many tropical islands off the Cairns coastline is a must. Immerse yourself in paradise, with crystal clear waters, white sand, rainforests, island palm trees and spectacular reef formations. There are many island day trips to chose from, along with accommodation options if you are looking to stay a bit longer. If you are chasing a quick and relaxing trip, we recommend visiting Fitzroy Island or Green Island.
Image credit: Tourism Australia
Looking for a more chilled out day in between all of the excitement? Visiting one of the many beaches surrounding Cairns is a great way to experience more of the beautiful North Queensland area, whilst unwinding and regenerating some of that much needed travel energy. With pristine beaches like Palm Cove, Ellis Beach and Trinity Beach around a 25-minute drive North of the city, you'll always have the the option to check out one of these beauties if you want to take a little breather. For swimming it's worth keeping in mind that November through to May, 'stingers' (jellyfish) become a bit of a nuisance, however most beaches should have a netted area to keep them at bay.
Image credit: Tourism Australia
Want a break from looking at all the natural beauty? Luckily for you, Cairns is home to some of the most adrenaline filled adventures in Australia! From close encounters with crocs to white water rafting and even skydiving, the perfect action packed adventure is out there for you.
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures is widely renowned as Australia's best croc show. Your adrenaline will be pumping when you get up close and personal with the prehistoric looking reptiles.
Image credit: Tourism & Events Queensland - Lauren Bath
Tully River Rafting partake in the adventure of a lifetime, rafting down one of Australia's best rapid rivers! This adrenaline filled activity will take up a whole day, so it is worth planning ahead for this one.
Hot Air Ballooning is both exciting and peaceful, presenting one of the most ways to watch the sunrise in North Queensland. See the surrounding landscapes from a whole new perspective, in the calm and silent open air.
For even more exciting adventure tours like skydiving or bungy jumping, visit HERE.
Whilst the Cairns region is full of unbelievable natural attractions, there's also a lot on offer within the city that you may or may not have thought about. Here's how a day exploring Cairns might pan out!
Fuel up in the morning at Cruze Coffee
Start you day off right, with probably the best cup of joe you can find in Northern Queensland. Cruze Coffee are extremely passionate about coffee and when they say a fresh brew, they mean fresh. With a wide range of top quality beans and blends, we recommend preparing your taste buds for an excellent cup of coffee to get your day started!
Check out all the fresh produce at Rusty's Market
Open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Rusty's Market is a great way to spend your morning pigging out on some fresh local produce! There is something for everyone at Rusty's, with the market boasting over 180 stalls, offering exotic fruit, veg and flowers, delectable desserts, fresh bread and seafood along with international stalls and beverage stalls. Even if you aren't hungry, it's worth walking around an taking in some of the incredible produce being displayed!
Image credit: Tourism Australia
Have a dip in the Esplanade Lagoon
After you've fuelled up on coffee and fresh produce, escape the heat at the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon! Positioned right on the Trinity Inlet, you'll be able to swim and relax in the all year round safe swimming attraction. Built to mimic the beautiful beaches surrounding Cairns, there's a sandy shoreline and shallow water for kids, along with timber decks, shady trees, landscaped gardens and open spaces.
Image credit: Tourism & Events Queensland
Get a little bit boozy at Wolf Lane Distillery
Once an old 1900's horse stable, The Wolf Lane Distillery is the first of it's kind in Cairns. We highly recommend an afternoon visit, to experience one of Australia's most awarded gin distilleries hidden away in the heart of Cairns. Offering table service, you'll be able to order tasting paddles and food for a wonderfully flavourful and merry afternoon.
Explore the Cairns Aquarium by Twilight
It may seem strange because it's indoors, but booking the Cairns Aquarium by Twilight tour is a great way to visit the popular aquarium after hours. Experience how the fish behave during the night, with night-time predators like sharks and groupers on the hunt! You'll receive a two hour guided tour from an ecologist, with the option of a meal at Dundee's Restaurant afterwards!
Image credit: Tourism Australia
Catch a show at The Cairns Convention Centre
Having recently finished a $176M extension, The Cairns Convention Centre is home to some blockbuster events and shows throughout the year. Being a short 12-minute walk away from the hotels doorstep, it's very much worth looking ahead to your travel dates to see if there are any shows you might be able to catch whilst you're here! For your convenience we are constantly updating our Events At Cairns Convention Centre Page so you don't miss out on any upcoming action!
For our American guests, don't let the long flight put you off the trip of your life! Depending where you are located in the US, you'll be looking at either a 1 stop or a 2 stop flight, from a few airports on the West Coast, you'll be able to get to Cairns after a 20hour journey with a stop in Sydney Airport.
Coming from Singapore? For the most relaxing travel experience to get you into holiday mode before you arrive, we'd recommend booking the direct flight option through Singapore Airlines. There are cheaper and fairly quick options that stop through Denpasar or Cities in Australia as well.
Getting to Eastern Australia from the UK is a hefty journey, but will be worth the travel time when you are here. The most convenient journey you'll find to Cairns is the one stop option through Singapore, if you book a few months in advance the fare is similar to most of the other, longer travel time, options available, so it's worth keeping your eyes peeled!
From New Zealand
For our South Pacific Neighbours, there are a few flight options available, depending on where you're based in New Zealand. You'll be able to catch a direct flight from Auckland, if you are based in Queenstown, Christchurch and Wellington, you'll likely have a stop over in either Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.
Upon arrival in Cairns, whether you're hiring a car or taking a taxi, you'll be in the heart of Cairns within a 12-minute drive from the airport!
From exploring to natural landscapes to swimming in the Esplanade Lagoon, from all of us here at Pacific Hotels Cairns, we hope you have the trip of a lifetime!Book Now
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