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The Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef

Home to empty shorelines, ancient rainforests and Australia’s wildest fauna, Cairns and the Far North is a special slice of paradise. Just under 3 million tourists flock to the laid-back city from all around the world each year, luring in family holidayers, honeymooners and backpackers galore. As the gateway to adventure and the Great Barrier Reef, the region is renowned for its ability to soothe the soul. It’s been a rough year for all - so here’s why you should #holidayherethisyear!

Explore the Great Barrier Reef

great barrier reef, cairns

The ancient and beloved Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef on the planet. Dubbed a UNESCO world heritage site, your first port of call in Cairns should definitely include a peek at the reef.  The 2,300 kilometre long reef is home to an incredible array of unique and colorful marine life: with over 1,500 fish species alone, you’re bound to make friends with sea turtles, giant clams, sharks and the illusive dugong. A large selection of tours are available, catering to those who want to swim, snorkel, dive, fish or even sail the seventh natural wonder of the world. 

Chow down on delicious tropical produce

rustys market, cairnsPhoto by Rusty Markets.

If tropical fruit and produce is your jam, Cairns is going to blow your mind. There’s no better place to sample juicy mangosteens or rich jackfruit than Rusty’s Markets. As a classic tourist icon within Cairns, the market is well-known internationally for its bustling energy, carnival atmosphere and vibrant sellers. 

With over 180 stalls, the markets sell an incredible range of goods, from tropical fruit and vegetables to coffee, chocolate, bread, local dairy and freshly caught seafood. You’ll also find a range of souvenirs, unique bric-a-brac and local treasures including jewellery, clothing and antiques. The market runs from Friday to Sunday and is located in Cairns CBD.

Learn about Indigenous culture

Tjapukai Cultural ParkPhoto by Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

Diving deep into the local Indigenous culture in the Cairns region is a worthwhile and important experience - and there’s no better place to start than Tjapukai Cultural Park. The award-winning attraction is run solely by First Nations people, and offers an abundance of learning opportunities, including performances, immersive bush tucker experiences, fireside corroborees and other events.

Take in the rainforest sights in style

Kuranda Scenic Rainway

There’s nothing like exploring the rainforest from the inside, but the view from above is pretty special too. 

Take a trip on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, which runs from Cairns to the town of Kuranda, a hippie dwelling nestled deep in World-heritage listed rainforest. If you’re looking for a birds-eye-view, there’s no better way to do it than the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. 

For more things to do in Kuranda, check out this article here!

Head to the rolling mountains

Atherton Tablelands Waterfall

You’ll find the rolling mountain plateaus of the Atherton Tablelands just a hop, skip and a jump from the rainforests. Home to exquisite clear swimming holes and waterfalls, scrumptious local dairies, coffee roasteries and tea houses, there’s also crystal grottos and gold mines to explore.

Dotted with tiny towns, the Tablelands is not heavily touristed, making it the perfect place to unwind and enjoy some peace and quiet. 

Peek at Australia’s wildest animals

Photo by Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

From ancient dinosaurs to the most colourful birds on the planet, Cairns and  the surrounding region boasts incredible wildlife. Head to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures for a glimpse of the infamous crocodile, and take a swim at Etty Bay and wait for the resident cassowary to come and say hello. You never know who you might run into!

Roadtrip to your heart’s content

road trip cairns

Hiring a car in Cairns can be your ticket to uncovering the region at its best. The jaw-dropping scenery makes for stunning road trips and allows you to soak the views up at your own pace. Make your way up to Port Douglas along the Captain Cook Highway, or head rural to the Kirrama Range Road - renowned for dirt roads, peace and the hum of the rainforest.

Get lost on deserted islands and cays

great barrier reef, cairns

If you’ve been dreaming of the deserted island life, look no further than off the shores of Cairns. There’s over 900 islands in the Great Barrier Reef, and most of those are uninhabited. Head down to Mission Beach and enjoy the serenity of Coombe Island, or book in a full day of deserted island goodness on Vlasoff Cay - complete with a lift in a private helicopter, a packed lunch and snorkelling equipment.

So what are you waiting for? Contact us to find out how we can help you save on your perfect Cairns and FNQ holiday.

Support Australian tourism and #holidayherethisyear in Cairns! 

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