Cairns is one of the most beautiful regions in Australia and this is reflected in the number of visitors it has every year. In fact, Cairns is one of the top destinations in the country among international tourists, despite its distance from other major cities like Sydney and Brisbane. From waterfalls to rainforest, our guest author offers travelers these things to do in Cairns, Australia — or a short road trip away.
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7 Things to do in Cairns, Australia
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There is a multitude of reasons why Cairns, Australia, is a must-visit for a lot of people. For instance, it is the gateway to The Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The city also offers a myriad of activities, from shopping to wine and dining, as well as its lush rainforest teeming with life. If you want to see one of the oldest rainforests in the world, this Australian city offers these 7 things to do in Cairns, Australia.
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1. Barron Falls
With its majestic waterfall against the untouched green expanse of trees, you would think getting to Barron Falls entails hours-long trek. Lucky for you, this is one of the easiest rainforest walks around Cairns. It is only a 20-minute drive from Cairns, and then a few more minutes of trekking to witness the powerful rapids of the falls.
2. Curtain Fig National Park
Just 15 minutes away from Cairns, the Curtain Fig National Park is a mesmerizing fig tree that towers the rainforest canopy and has a circumference of almost 40 meters! Its vines are plentiful and cast an other-worldly quality to this 500-year old tree. Take the quick drive and easy trek to capture an amazing photo with it. Spotting a Lumholtz tree kangaroo in the surrounding area is an added bonus!
3. Goldfield Trail
The Goldfield Trails is a unique destination, nestled in Wooroonooran National Park. Not only will you see countless picture-perfect streams and creeks, but you also get a chance to climb the two highest peaks in Queensland, namely the Bellenden Ker and Bartle Frere.
If those do not convince you to visit the trail, its historic past may. The area is owned by the Dulabed Malanbarra Yidinji aboriginal people and their culture and traditions are very present in this place. Tourists are expected to show respect for these traditions when visiting the place.
4. Red and Blue Arrow Walks
Get your hiking shoes ready for this uphill trek that starts at the bottom of Mt. Whitfield. This place is only a 10-minute drive away from Cairns and its 1.3 km- long trail can be hiked in under an hour. The Cairns Botanical Gardens is also in the area, and worth seeing. If you want to see a more elevated view, push through the Red Arrow Walk and into the Blue Arrow Walk to reach the 365-meter above sea level of the mountain. Of course, don’t miss the turkeys and other animals that inhabit the area!
Cairns undoubtedly houses one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. In fact, its rainforest is the oldest surviving rainforest in the world, surpassing the Amazon by a wide margin. No matter your level of experience in trekking and hiking, there are many options to enjoy the rainforest.
After riding a gondola, take the more tourist-friendly trek around the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Or hike a Mountain Whitfield through the Red and Blue Arrow Walks. Just remember to put on the right pair of shoes on your way over!
If you are more into the experienced side of hiking and wish to explore what the surrounding area has to offer, you can always plan to see Douglas Track and the Kuranda railway. Either way, you can never go wrong for allocating a day to see Barron Falls.
5. Fitzroy Island
Located 45 minutes away from Cairns, Fitzroy Island is home to the most amazing natural landscapes and incredible rainforest. The island is composed of about 97% National Park which is perfect for hikers due to Fitzroy Island picturesque walking trails and lush wildlife.
The island is best for short, easy walk for all fitness levels and for all ages. If you fancy hiking or bushwalking, Fitzroy Island is just right for you! After a day hike to its exuberant walking trails, reward yourself and your loved ones by swimming or lounging in the white sand beach of Nudey Beach.
6. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
If you are with children and want a more leisure way to explore the rainforest, you can always spend time at the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. It is perhaps the most popular way to immerse yourself in the prehistoric wildlife of the region as they offer different ways to experience it. Their gondolas provide a panoramic view of the tropical landscape and the sea nearby! If you are feeling more adventurous, they also have the Canopy Glider, which is an open-air gondola.
If you want to be on the ground, though, try out the Kuranda Rainforest ATV Tour that takes you an hour-long drive deep into the rainforest.
7. Daintree Rainforest
The Daintree Rainforest north of Cairns is another mesmerizing part of the tropical rainforest that surrounds the region. It is a bit of a drive from the city, around 80 kilometers, but definitely worth the visit because of the Mossman Gorge. Park your car in one of the sustained car parks in the area and be surrounded by the Gossman river and forest in no time. Take an exciting walk on the elevated boardwalk and along the riverside track and try to spot the colorful butterflies that live around the area.