14 Best Things to do in Cairns, Australia

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Discover the 14 Best Things to do in Cairns, Australia, and immerse yourself in an unforgettable adventure. From exploring the Great Barrier Reef to visiting lush rainforests, this guide covers the top attractions and activities in Cairns.


Cairns, Australia, is a breathtaking tropical paradise that offers an array of exciting and awe-inspiring experiences for both locals and tourists alike. Located in Queensland, this vibrant city is surrounded by the captivating wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, lush rainforests, and a rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re an adventurous soul seeking thrilling activities or a nature enthusiast in pursuit of tranquility, Cairns has something special for everyone. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the 14 best things to do in Cairns, Australia, so you can make the most of your visit to this enchanting destination.

Snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef

Snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef is a bucket-list experience that promises an up-close encounter with the world’s largest coral reef system. Immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters, and witness an array of vibrant marine life, including colorful corals, exotic fish, and even sea turtles. Companies like Reef Magic Cruises offer guided tours with knowledgeable marine biologists who provide insightful information about the reef’s ecological importance.

Diving into the Depths

For those seeking a more immersive experience, scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef is an absolute must. Dive beneath the surface to discover an underwater world filled with wonders. Experience the thrill of swimming alongside majestic manta rays, friendly dolphins, and the elusive reef sharks. Beginners can take advantage of introductory dives with certified instructors, while seasoned divers can explore deeper areas of the reef.

Kuranda Scenic Railway Journey

Embark on a scenic railway journey from Cairns to the charming village of Kuranda. Wind through dense rainforests, cross picturesque bridges, and pass by cascading waterfalls as you enjoy breathtaking views of the landscape. Once in Kuranda, explore the vibrant markets, indulge in local cuisine, and visit the renowned Kuranda Koala Gardens to cuddle adorable koalas.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway Adventure

The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway offers a unique perspective of the lush rainforests surrounding Cairns. Glide above the treetops in comfortable gondolas and take in panoramic views of the World Heritage-listed rainforest. Make stops at Red Peak and Barron Falls to venture on interpretive boardwalks and learn about the region’s rich biodiversity.

Cairns Esplanade Lagoon

Spend a relaxing day at the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, a massive saltwater swimming pool overlooking the Coral Sea. This popular spot is ideal for families, couples, and solo travelers alike. Bask in the sun, enjoy a refreshing swim, or have a delightful picnic on the shaded lawns.

Cairns Night Markets

As the sun sets, head to the Cairns Night Markets for a vibrant shopping experience. Stroll through the bustling market stalls offering an assortment of unique souvenirs, handicrafts, and locally-made products. Indulge in international cuisine from the diverse food stalls, creating a true feast for the senses.

Visit the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

Immerse yourself in the rich indigenous culture of Australia at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Engage in interactive performances, traditional dance shows, and learn about the Dreamtime stories of the local Tjapukai people. Gain insights into ancient practices, art, and customs, leaving with a deeper appreciation for the country’s original inhabitants.

Hot Air Ballooning over Atherton Tablelands

Embark on a thrilling hot air ballooning adventure over the picturesque Atherton Tablelands. Witness the sunrise painting the landscape with hues of orange and gold as you float gracefully over rolling hills, lush forests, and serene lakes. This breathtaking experience is perfect for couples and photographers seeking stunning aerial views.

Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas

A short drive from Cairns, the Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas offers an unforgettable encounter with Australia’s diverse wildlife. Walk through natural environments that replicate the animals’ habitats, including the rainforest, wetlands, and savannah. Hand-feed friendly kangaroos, cuddle with adorable koalas, and witness the elusive cassowary up close.

Cape Tribulation and Daintree Rainforest Tour

Embark on a thrilling Cape Tribulation and Daintree Rainforest tour to explore the oldest tropical rainforest in the world. Walk along the famous Mossman Gorge, cruise along the Daintree River spotting crocodiles, and enjoy the stunning views from Cape Tribulation Beach where the rainforest meets the reef.

Skydiving Over Cairns

For the ultimate adrenaline rush, experience skydiving over Cairns. Feel the exhilaration as you freefall from thousands of feet above, surrounded by panoramic views of the Great Barrier Reef and the lush landscape below. Tandem skydiving allows beginners to enjoy this heart-pounding adventure with a professional instructor.

Fitzroy Island Adventure

Hop on a ferry from Cairns to Fitzroy Island, a paradise that boasts stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush rainforest trails. Snorkel around the fringing reefs, hike to the Summit for panoramic views, or simply relax on the sandy shores and soak up the tropical sun.

Explore the Crystal Cascades

Escape the heat and venture into the cooling waters of the Crystal Cascades. Located just a short drive from Cairns, this hidden gem offers a series of natural freshwater pools surrounded by lush rainforest. Take a refreshing dip or go on a bushwalk to discover more secluded swimming spots.


Q: How can I get to Cairns, Australia?

A: Cairns is well-connected with domestic and international flights. The Cairns International Airport serves as the main entry point for travelers arriving by air.

Q: What is the best time to visit Cairns?

A: The best time to visit Cairns is during the dry season, which runs from April to November. This period offers pleasant weather and excellent conditions for outdoor activities.

Q: Are there any safety precautions for reef snorkeling?

A: Yes, when snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, always follow the safety guidelines provided by your tour operator, wear reef-safe sunscreen, and refrain from touching or stepping on the coral.

Q: Can I visit the Great Barrier Reef if I can’t swim?

A: Absolutely! Many tours offer reef platforms with underwater observatories and semi-submersibles, allowing non-swimmers to experience the reef’s beauty without getting wet.

Q: Is Cairns suitable for family vacations?

A: Yes, Cairns is a family-friendly destination with a wide range of activities suitable for all ages, including wildlife encounters, water parks, and rainforest explorations.

Q: Are there any guided tours for the Daintree Rainforest?

A: Yes, several tour operators offer guided tours of the Daintree Rainforest, providing insightful information about the region’s ecology and indigenous history.


Cairns, Australia, is an enchanting destination that seamlessly blends natural wonders, cultural heritage, and thrilling adventures. Whether you’re exploring the underwater marvels of the Great Barrier Reef or immersing yourself in the ancient traditions of the Tjapukai people, Cairns offers an unforgettable experience for every traveler. From the lush rainforests to the captivating beaches, this tropical paradise is sure to leave a lasting impression on your heart. So, pack your bags, embrace the spirit of adventure, and embark on a journey of a lifetime in Cairns, Australia.

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Upendra Yadav is a seasoned Data Analyst with a passion for exploring new places and immersing himself in different cultures. With a curious mind and an eye for detail, Upendra delves deep into the history, people, and cuisine of the places he visits, and brings his experiences to life through his writing.. His work has been featured in various travel blogs, where he shares his insights and recommendations for fellow explorers. Through his writing, Upendra aims to inspire others to venture beyond their comfort zones and discover the hidden gems of the world. When he's not analyzing data or traveling to new destinations, Upendra can be found indulging in his other hobbies, such as photography and trying out new recipes. He is currently working on his next travelogue, where he hopes to take his readers on a journey to even more exciting and lesser-known destinations.