Cairns & The Great Barrier Reef is total bucket list material.
Snorkel, dive or join a liveaboard and share the water with curious minke whales and sea turtles. Watch them up close and personal as you snorkel in one of the world’s largest coral reef. The reef contains an abundance of marine life and comprises of over 3000 individual reef systems and coral cays and literally hundreds of picturesque tropical islands with some of the world’s most beautiful sun-soaked, golden beaches.
Get acquainted with city of Cairns, from its ocean-fronting esplanade featuring a swimming lagoon, restaurants and cafes, weekend markets and mind-boggling offering of adventure and nature experiences. Here are top tips on how to enjoy this Queensland tropical gem.
The Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s natural wonders, stretching more than 2,000 km, comprises some 3,400 coral reefs, 1,500 species of fish and 400 varieties of corals – offers you a multitude of ways to explore it. Apart from diving or snorkelling, try Seawalker where you don a special helmet and walk along a platform amongst the marine life. You can also ride the Scuba Doo – an underwater motorbike that comes with a bubble helmet. Or hop a glass-bottom boat or a semi-submersible to stay dry. For a truly spectacular view of the reef, go on a scenic helicopter ride.
Sign up for a full-day or half-day white water rafting trip down the Tully or Barron River depending on how adventurous you are. For adrenaline junkies, opt for the Xtreme Tully River White Water Rafting for a speedier ride and extra adventures such as jumping off cliffs into the river, swimming down the rapids and raft surfing.
Soar Sky High
If there’s anything worth dragging yourself out of bed at 4am for, it’s hot air ballooning. Romantic, scenic, loads of fun – it’s all of this and more. The view of the lush rainforest, sprawling farmlands and meandering streams is simply stunning. You may even spot a couple of hopping kangaroos. Round it off with a hearty champagne breakfast!
Kuranda Day Out
Take a day trip to Kuranda Village where there are rainforest walks, markets, cafes and wildlife sanctuaries to visit. To get there, hop on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway that spans 7.5km, giving you a bird’s eye view over of the ancient tropical rainforest. Head back to the city via the famous 100-year old Kuranda Scenic Railway that travels through lush rainforest, 15 tunnels, 98 curves and 40 bridges.
Zoom & Dome
The Cairns Wildlife Dome, located above the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, lets you interact with animals such as turtles, pythons and lizards amidst a rainforest environment of parrots, cockatoos and other birds native to the Wet Tropics region. Try the Cairns Zoom, the world’s first Challenge Ropes Course in a wildlife immersion exhibit, featuring over 50 crossings and ziplines, one of which lets you zip over a 4m saltwater crocodile!
Whether you’re a first-time jumper or a seasoned thrill seeker, bungy pioneer AJ Hackett guarantees they’ve got a jump to take you out of your comfort zone with its Jump Menu of 16 different jump styles. Now, there’s also the Minjin Jungle Swing, created to allow 1, 2 or 3 people to experience extreme speed and acceleration together.
Jungle Surfing is a unique and exhilarating way to experience the beauty of the world-renowned Daintree Rainforest. Fly through the trees on flying fox ziplines, stopping at five platforms with bird’s eye views over the treetops, down to cascading streams and out to the Great Barrier Reef.
Slow down the tempo in relaxed Port Douglas, one hour north of Cairns, a charming combination of cosmopolitan cafés, gourmet eateries, sophisticated resorts and a close-knit village community. Enjoy breakfast with the birds at Port Douglas’s Wildlife Park Rainforest Habitat. Then soak up the sun by hiring a bike to ride along the Four Mile beach or hit a round of golf on a choice of international standard courses.