Things to do in Cairns
Welcome to Cairns
Cairns is the vibrant heart of the Tropical North Queensland region. It’s a multi-faceted, stylish town that is the gateway to the incredible biodiversity of the oldest tropical rainforest on earth and the dive and discovery wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. There are many unique experiences to be tried in the town and its rich hinterland areas along the coastal strip. Things To Do in Cairns, around Cairns and from Cairns are unlimited.
Top 10 Attractions
Discover Cairns through our range of the very best Things To Do and see for visitors and locals. From its strong selection of art and performance venues to lively local markets, sophisticated sports arenas, variety of shopping centres, duty-free stores, and a plethora of fine dining and casual eateries, there is something for everyone. And beyond the city, there is much in between on the way to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest.
This is your ultimate Cairns checklist.
As Cairns moves into Autumn and Winter peak seasons, there is a host of new things to do in the city when the weather is at its clement best. Try for a leisurely stroll through Munro Martin Park to see the latest blooms, or head to the Cairns Botanical Gardens to amble among the rare plant and tree species. Stay active with a power walk along the Cairns Esplanade or try the walking tracks, Red, Yellow, Blue or Green, in the Mt Whitfield Conservation Park.
We are totally spoilt for Things To Do In Cairns and here are the Top 10 Attractions in and around the city and beyond.
- Great Barrier Reef: Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this wonder of the world, whether by snorkelling, diving, staying overnight, or doing a day tour to the many islands. Swim with unique fish between colourful coral reef outcrops in this fantastic marine aquarium. Cairns is the best and most convenient place to launch your reef experience. Check out day tours and overnight stays!
- Daintree Rainforest: The Daintree is the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest on the mainland and, coupled with the Great Barrier Reef, is easily accessible from Cairns. Take the chance to walk between towering trees, swim under waterfalls, check wildlife with expert indigenous guides, or take a river cruise among the crocs and mangroves.
- Tropical Islands: Cairns is the ideal starting point for visits to the nearby islands for a day tour or to relax and stay overnight. Among the most popular are Green Island and Fitzroy Island, both of which are short boat trips from Cairns Reef Terminal and offer day-return activities or more extended stays. Snorkelling, diving and underwater reef viewing are available.
- Amazing Walking & Hiking Tracks: The four Arrow Circuit tracks through Mt. Whitfield Conservation Park offer stunning views and are home to rainforest, eucalyptus and grasslands. They range in degree of difficulty and length from 1.5km to 6km and are differentiated in name as Red, Green, Blue and Yellow Arrow. The Park is behind Cairns Botanic Gardens which is a full-day walking and exploring tour in its own right. For a challenging hike, head to Walsh’s Pyramid. For a more relaxing walk, opt for one of the heritage trails in the Cairns CBD.
- White Water Rafting: This popular activity for thrill-seekers is a unique experience to test your endurance and nerve in rapidly flowing waters as part of a team. Riding an inflatable raft down a raging river is exhilarating and fun and can be done on the Barron River, Tully River and at Behana Gorge.
- Hot Air Balloons: Dependable weather and stunning scenery over Atherton Tableland mountain ranges and agricultural lowlands make ballooning an unforgettable experience in areas around Cairns. The activity is suitable almost every day of the year and an early morning start is perfect to witness the sunrise and glorious break-of-day colour hues.
- Fishing: Whether you are an amateur angler or a dedicated fisher, there is fishing of all sorts available for every visitor to Cairns. It can be done off the beaches and headlands, beside the highway, or from purpose-built reef fishing boats. And the headline activity loved by movie stars and the rich and famous is Big Game fishing on the outer reef.
- Rusty’s Market: The beating heart of all that is fresh and wholesome about Cairns is at this unique market which runs Friday to Sunday. It is a must for locals and visitors looking for fresh fruit and produces, newly baked bread and cakes, locally made cheeses, and garden pots and flowers. The atmosphere is family-friendly, and bargains abound.
- Kuranda: This village in the rainforest provides a welcome break from the warmer coast and is a segue to a wonderland of native animals and birdlife. Its markets offer a wide range of local products, indigenous street music performers add to the atmosphere, and the bird and butterfly sanctuaries are amazing. Access is via road, rail or cable car.
- Atherton Tableland: This rural plateau about 1 hour from Cairns is a Garden of Eden whose arable lands yield exotic fruits and vegetables for export around the world. Its towns are full of character and local and military history. Check out the Chinese influence in Atherton and don’t miss the vast waterways of Tinaroo Falls Dam and the Barron River.