28 Jan 6 Things To Do In Cairns
6 Things To Do In Cairns
The city of Cairns is usually the starting or finishing point for backpackers travelling the East Coast of Australia. It is perfectly located in the tropical climate of North Queensland, making it an ideal place to visit all year round. Access not one, but two Australian World Heritage listed sites, The Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, side by side. With heaps of awesome must-do activities in the area, we have a feeling Cairns might make the top of your travel bucket list in Australia.
1. Bungy Cairns
Experience the one and only bungy jump in all of Australia, with AJ Hackett. At 140m above sea level, catch a glimpse of the Great Barrier Reef as you jump through the rainforest, and maybe even dip your head in the lake below. There’s over 16 different jump styles, from BMX to blindfolded, or even a tandem jump for you and a mate. If you can’t pick one style, grab the unlimited bungy pass and try to do them all in one day.
While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the AJ Hackett ‘Minjin Swing’. Fly solo or grab two of your mates for the ultimate thrill. You’ll drop from 45m, to 1m off the ground in 3.5 seconds at speeds of up to 120 km/h (you might want to pack a spare pair of undies for this one).
2. Fitzroy Island
For an introduction to the Great Barrier Reef, we highly recommend a day trip out to Fitzroy Island with Raging Thunder. Relax, soak up the sun and take in the ocean views from their top deck, during a 45-minute ferry ride from Cairns to the island.
Start your experience off right, with a scenic walk through the lush National Park rainforest, where you can hike up to the summit, or take the coastal walk around to the lighthouse. After enjoying the rainforest scenery from the top, head down to the water and take a refreshing swim and snorkel on Nudey Beach. Recognised as one of the best beaches in Australia, don’t be fooled by the name… you won’t find any nudists here!
Raging Thunder offers activity passes for the ultimate water play day, including sea kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and a water trampoline at the beach. What are you waiting for?!
Fitzroy Island Ferry
Fitzroy Island Beach
Cape Tribulation, Daintree Rainforest
Cape Tribulation Beach
Cassowary Sign, en route to Cape Tribulation
Crab Artwork, Cape Tribulation
3. Daintree Rainforest
Most of you will have a favourite family member, but you haven’t met Uncle Brian yet. His small family business has grown over the last 23 years, into one of the most popular tour companies for travellers in Cairns. Join a busload of backpackers heading North to the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation, or South-West to the Atherton Tablelands, for an unforgettable day of fun, sun and amazing sights. Grab your mates and let Uncle Brian’s lead the way!
The Daintree Rainforest is the oldest living rainforest, and home to a range of unique plants and animals found only here. Take a guided rainforest walk through this well-preserved ecosystem for an experience like no other. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a cassowary. Cassowaries are only found in two places: North Eastern Australia and Papua New Guinea. Indulge in handmade ice cream made from locally sourced ingredients, or a refreshing glass of iced Daintree Tea before embarking on a crocodile cruise along the Daintree River.
Alternatively, the Atherton Tablelands is a lush highland region, ranging from 600m to 1100m above sea level. It’s home to some of the most impressive waterfalls and lakes in Queensland, which is one of the main reasons people visit this section of the rainforest.
Head on over to Josephine Falls for an afternoon of rock sliding and guided rainforest walks, followed by a swim at Millaa Millaa Falls. This breathtaking 18m waterfall is famous for the Herbal Essence ‘hair flip’ and used as a filming location in Peter Andre’s ‘Mysterious Girl’ music video. Once you’ve perfected your own hair flip, take a quick drive across to Lake Eacham, a volcanic crater filled with crystal clear fresh water and its own crocodile!
Uncle Brian’s promises a fun-filled afternoon, with games, songs and lots of snacks. Whether you are travelling solo or in a group, you’ll get to know everyone on your tour and enjoy your day in the rainforest together!
4. Great Barrier Reef
At the top of your bucket list for Cairns, will be the Great Barrier Reef. This World Heritage listed site is found in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, and is the world’s largest structure made by living organisms. It’s so enormous, that you can even see it from Space! Cairns is known as the gateway to the reef, as you’re only a short boat ride from the vibrant coral and marine species that call it home.
Hop on board ReefQuest for a luxury day out to some of the best spots on the outer reef. This Divers Den boat offers snorkel and scuba dive trips for those at all skill levels. Even if you aren’t dive-certified, you can try an introductory dive in a small group with an instructor, and participate in up to three separate dives. Keep an eye out for Turtles, Clownfish, Reef Sharks, Stingray and Octopus, all of which are frequently spotted by visitors.
If you’re interested in getting your PADI certification, enquire now for an exclusive discount with Down Under Dive on Evolution.
Diving at the Great Barrier Reef
Free Fall, Skydive Mission Beach
Skydive above Mission Beach
Skydive Mission Beach
Skydive Mission Beach
Imagine this: You’re up in the clouds, roughly 15,000 feet high, and you glance out the window for the most incredible view of the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. The air is cold and moving fast, but you don’t feel it because the adrenaline is kicking in… you’re about to jump out of a plane for your first ever tandem skydive. The instructor opens the door and now your feet dangle out the side of the plane. All the nerves you felt suddenly disappear, and it’s as though your flying, rather than falling, as you experience up to 60 seconds of exhilarating freefall back to earth.
These skydives are like no other in Australia, as they offer a unique view of two World Heritage sites, and you can choose between two breathtaking locations in Queensland:
Stay local and skydive in Cairns, with free return transfers from your hostel. Catch sunrise over the reef and rainforest with an early morning skydive, before landing in a lush green field below. This option leaves your afternoon free for other activities in Cairns when you return, and a chance to show off your skydive video to your roommates over breakfast.
Alternatively, Mission Beach is one of the few skydive locations in Australia with a guaranteed beach landing. This day trip offers free return transfer from Cairns to Mission Beach, free breakfast or lunch at a local restaurant, and free bike hire while you wait for your skydive video to be edited. Once you have your video, use Skydive Australia’s free wifi to upload it and share with your family and friends!
Why not try both locations? After your feet touch the ground from that first jump, you’ll be eager to get your next one booked in.
If you’re looking for the ultimate team day out, the Tully River in Mission Beach await. Grab you bathers, a lifejacket and a helmet, and get ready for the ride of your life. Paddle down the Tully River in grade 3-4 rapids, and prepare to get soaked, as you steer under waterfalls, and hold on for dear life as you drop off the edge of one. Raging Thunder‘s experienced staff will guide you through World Heritage listed rainforest, for an adventurous day on the water. Raging Thunder offers free return transfer from your hostel in Cairns to Mission Beach, and they’ll even throw in lunch! White water rafting is an activity that can be done all year round, with no experience necessary, so grab your travel squad and ride the rapids.
Rafting, Tully River
Rafting Tully River
Experience the beauty and wonders of the tropical north, in every way possible. There are plenty of activities you can do in and around Cairns, so make sure to stop by soon. You’d be MAD to miss out, so which one will you do first?
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OTHER RELATED BLOG POSTS
No trip to Cairns would be complete without a visit to Fitzroy Island. Originally called Koba/Gabar by Indigenous people who used the lands for fishing and hunting, this magnificent island was renamed by Lieutenant James Cook himself, after the Prime Minister of England, Augustus Fitzroy. Over the years, the island has attracted many tourists and locals alike, and continues to play an important role in Australian history today.
You’ve arrived in Cairns, and at the top of your bucket list: The Great Barrier Reef. You may have a rough idea of what to expect, and what you hope to see once you’re in the water, but there are heaps of different tour options available, and it can be a little overwhelming. Whether you’re after a relaxing day out on a luxurious vessel, or looking for more of a budget option that still ticks most of the boxes, there’s always something for everyone.
We’d like to formally introduce you to Uncle Brian’s, one of the best backpacker tour companies in all of Cairns. Uncle Brian’s has been locally owned and operated since 1995. They know Cairns and the surrounding areas better than anyone, and offer only two tours: ‘Cape Tribbbin’ ventures north to the Daintree National Park, and ‘Fun, Falls and Forest’ to the waterfalls at the Atherton Tablelands, south-west of Cairns.