The trip to North Queensland where we went this Christmas was amazing. We did a lot of activities, the ocean rafting tour and the cruise to see the outer great barrier reef from Port douglous were the main highlights of the tour. The view of the great Barrier reef and green island was amazing from the scenic flight in Cairns. We enjoyed the drive from Airlie beach to Port Douglous with amazing views and orchards. The trip was awesome. One advise pls do take tropical strength mosquito replant when you go to cairns and port douglous as there are mosquitoes everywhere due to the rainforest areas.
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(Not to be confused with Cannes where the famous film festival takes place)Australia has always been one of my favourite countries. Maybe because of its similarity to India or maybe because of all the amazing chefs we get to see on MasterChef Australia. It is not only a land of beaches, but, it is also the land of deserts. So for travel lovers it is practically a paradise. From deep sea diving to crazy road trips, from watersports to rock climbing, Australia puts forward so much variety that it is sometimes difficult to choose the perfect thing to do on a holiday there. So, today I will be putting up a list of top things to do in one of the most tourist friendly places in Australia, Cairns (pronounced as Cans). Cairns is a small regional town in North Queensland and is known as the Getaway to the Great Barrier Reef. Let's look into the top things to do in Cairns:
Kuranda Scenic Railway
4. Go around in the Kuranda Scenic Railway The historic Kuranda Scenic Railway, put on display a spectacular and exciting two-hour journey through Barron Gorge National Park’s rugged mountains, past beautiful teeming waterfalls, over 40 bridges spanning sheer drops and through 15 tunnels. Jump on the Skyrail, at Kuranda for amazing views over the lush rainforest.
If only two words could summarise Green Island, those two words would be; Incredibly Beautiful. Green Island is a coral cay on the Great Barrier Reef, not far off the coast of Cairns. Although there are quite a few tourists and people, that does not disturb the overall beauty, calmness and paradise feel of the place. There are plenty of attractions to fill your half day or full day visit, including snorkelling, paragliding, relaxing on the pristine beach and having a trip in the glass bottom boat or the semi-submarine, both offering unforgettable views of the spectacular and awe-inspiring coral reefs fringing the little island. Green island also features a few shops and eateries as well as a small resort and walking trail that circumnavigates the island, all hidden within island rainforest behind the white beach surrounding the island. We did the half day tour with the tour operator Big Cat Green Island Reef Tours, which allows you 2 hours to explore the island. We got to and from the island from Cairns on the 45 minute high speed catamaran journey and we did a 30 minute Glass Bottom Boat cruise which was truly special and memorising. Green Island is a must do when in Cairns!
Occupying two heritage buildings – the Treasury Building and Lands Administration Building, the Treasury Casino combines the old world charm and premier modern convenience, as well as boasts a hotel, premier restaurants, lively bars, and a vibrant nightclub. Prepare yourself for stepping into the glamorous and shiny gaming world featuring three floors of excitement and joy. With over 1.500 electronic gaming machines and more than 80 table games, you do not have to worry about anything – your only dilemma is deciding where to go next! VIP gaming and poker tournaments are also at your disposal.
Be sure to do a 4WD tour of Fraser Island. Spend three days and two nights driving along the beach, through the water and over obstacles with a group of seven others in your vehicle. The tour companies provide you with menus, food, tents and every other necessity. Definitely one of the highlights of my trip.
Rainforest Interpretation Center
In another fifteen minutes of hovering over this incredible site of millions of trees and plants, we arrived at the Barron Falls Station where again we were able to walk around a boardwalk to see and read about various plants and trees. At this station is the Rainforest Interpretation Center where there are a number of displays on the rainforest and its inhabitants both animal and vegetative. We learned that Australia's rainforests are the oldest continually surviving rainforests one earth, dating back 120 million years. This rainforest occupies 900,000 hectares. Australia's rainforests have 2,800 plant species, of which 380 are considered threatened. Seven hundred of them are not found anywhere else in the world. Also calling the rainforest home is the Southern Carrowary, the largest flightless bird of Australia, two types of tree kangaroos, the primitive Musky Rat kangaroo, the largest butterfly of the continent, the Cairns Birdwing. There are three lookouts that provide a great view of Barron Gorge and Falls. We spent a good deal of time wandering here, before boarding another gondola for the balance of the journey.
7. Get engaged in an adventure sport Of the best white-water rafting rapids in Australia on the Barron River and Tully River will make your adventure spirit to ignite. Bungy jump at AJ Hackett’s or ride their Minjin Jungle Swing. Other activities in the area include quad biking, horse-riding and hang-gliding as well.
Jupiters Hotel & Casino
Nestled on the picturesque Broadbeach Island, Jupiters Casino is the world-class casino and the gateway to magic gaming world, providing spectacular views of mountains and the Gold Coast. Once you step in, you will be amazed to discover numerous table games, over 1.500 shiny slot machines, luxurious VIP gaming rooms, and a range of spectacular restaurants, fancy bars, as well as many nightlife options such as dancing and theatre shows just steps away. Jupiters Hotel and Casino is a place that has everything you need under one roof.
Bruce Belcher’s Daintree River Cruises
Located north of Mossman a few minutes past the turnoff to go to Cape Tribulation and destinations beyond, is Bruce Belcher's Daintree River Cruises. The sign markings are clear and display the next crocodile river cruise times as you turn off the road. The 1 hour cruise along the lonely and peaceful Daintree River is memorising and we managed to spot three crocodiles and numerous bird species on the journey. Even if no crocodiles are out when you go on the cruise, the cruise itself is still very relaxing and offers breathtaking views of the scenic Daintree river and the flora residing along the banks. The staff are also very friendly too!
Mossman Gorge Centre
The Mossman Gorge is a beautiful gorge located in the southern part of the Daintree Rainforest just outside of the little cane farming town of Mossman about a fifteen minute drive north of Port Douglas. The gorge and the surrounding rainforest and nearby mountain peaks are truly spectacular and a must do if in Far North Queensland. From the Mossman Gorge Information Centre, it is a quick bus shuttle to the start of the walking trail that traverses its way through ancient rainforest to the Gorge and beyond. The Mossman Gorge is also part of the traditional land of the local Kuku Yalanji people and you can take part in tours run by the locals that showcases the rainforest and their culture. We did not do any tours or did the full walk around the area, as we were short on time and wanted to do many things on our 1 day in the area north of Port Douglas.
Captain Cook Highway
The Captain Cook Highway is a 75 km (46.6 mile) stretch of road from Cairns to Mossman that is the main road connecting Cairns with the communities of Port Douglas, Mossman as well as other locations further afield once the Captain Cook Highway end and forms into other roads. It is a stunning drive, wedged between pristine mountains and the vast open coral sea. At many stages of the 75 km (46 mile) journey, the road travels directly parallel to the crystal clear coral sea which is barely a stones throw away outside your window! You must visit the Rex lookout while driving on the highway, which is just located on the ocean side of the road, offering great views of the flat sea in front of you and surrounding mountains. If you are driving north and stop at the lookout, you have to cross the road itself to get from the parking area to the lookout, so be aware of traffic! The sealed road can be dangerous in wet weather and consists of many bends and turns, so drive carefully. This is the road we drove on to get to and from Cairns/Port Douglas on our holiday.
Whitehaven Beach is a beach unlike any you’ve ever seen before. A cruise through the islands will take you there and possibly elsewhere, depending on the vessel. You can dive or snorkel along the way, creating a fulfilling experience. I’d recommend a smaller boat with fewer people–larger boats become more commercialized and a bit less personal.
Fitzroy Island Dive Centre
9. Visit the Fitzroy Island National Park The Fitzroy Island, 29 kilometres south-east of Cairns can be reached with a ferry. Hike or kayak to discover one of the most unspoiled islands on the Great Barrier Reef, teeming with wildlife in mangroves, woodland, pristine rainforest and coral beaches.10. Enjoy the food and nightlife Places like the Red Beret, Salt House and Caffiend provide the exotic delicacies of Australia. Happy Journey!
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is a 7.5 kilometre (4.6 mile) cable car journey venturing above the canopy of the lush, hilly and sensational Barron Gorge National park, connecting Cairns with the historic and idyllic village of Kuranda. There are two stops along the way, Red Peak Station and Barron Falls Station. At Red Peak Station, you will stop there for around twenty to thirty minutes and will be able to explore some spectacular rainforest scenery on the boardwalk including some very large and ancient trees. There was a guided tour when we were there, which was very informative. The next stop, Barron Falls station, allows you a similar amount of time to savour in the environment there, which includes lush rainforest, historic displays and the views of the awe inspiring Barron Falls, which drops way down into the Barron Gorge. The trip up to Kuranda (including the two stops) is 1.5 hours while the trip back down to Cairns is 2-2.5 hours. A MUST DO while in Far North Queensland.
(http://www.oceanrafting.com.au/) A definite recommendation for anyone who wants a short tour of the Whitsunday Islands without spending 400+ $$$ for an entire day. It includes snorkeling, the tour, climb to Hill Inlet, your lunch, and hilarious tour guides who won't allow a second of boredom. (take my advice and sit on the side of the boat for this one, especially if you're around for the whale migrating season - such a good view!)
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
At the end, we disembarked in the village of Kuranda. Very touristy, it is souvenir shops and restaurants galore. We had train tickets for the railroad going back down at 3:30, the last train of the day. There are only two of them and the earlier one is at 2:00. We went to the butterfly sanctuary to spend some time. We hesitated at the $16.00 entry fee per person, but once in, realized it was well worth the money. There are over 2,000 butterflies of various species at any given time. After ten minutes in we were offered a free guided tour. Our guide explained the details of half a dozen different breeds of butterflies, their life stages, their sex life, colorations, and so on. The amount of information was incredible, but the beauty of the Ulysses butterfly with its vibrant blue wings outshone anything she had to say. Two of them landed on her chest. She was wearing a white t-shirt with a Ulysses butterfly on it. There is also a large green species that I cannot recall the name of that was an incredible emerald green. At the end of the tour in the butterfly area, she took us into the museum to show us butterflies of the world. Mother nature is quite the artist. Some had wings that when opened looked like snake heads to thwart their enemies.
Rainforest Skyrail Mid-Station
Another day, another tour. Today we set out for the Rainforest Skyrail Cableway and Kuranda Railway. Once again, Andrew drove us to the resort to catch our shuttle, but then ran back home to transport all of the others to the airport. We will be the only guests for the rest of our stay. After boarding it took about fifteen minutes to reach the Red Peak station, the highest point on the cableway at 545 meters or 1,788 feet high, where you get out and explore the rainforest at this point along boardwalks. Umbrellas are provided for those who did not think to bring one. A guide met us and offered us a free walking tour as he pointed out a number of trees and facts about them and this area of the rainforest in general. He was quite impressive with his knowledge. After he completed his tour, we were free to roam the area before boarding another gondola to the next section.
Dundee's Restaurant on the Waterfront
Dundee's Restaurant on the waterfront is a bustling and modern restaurant along the Cairns marina serving up a large menu of high quality meals, including plenty of local seafood and great Aussie meals. The prices are a little on the high side, but the great food, service, atmosphere and energy more than make up for it. If you are adventurous, why not try their popular Seafood platter (2 or more people) or their bush tucker options, including the Kangaroo satay and the Crocodile Satay. We went there on our last night in Cairns for dinner (A Monday Night) before going home, and managed to walk straight in.
Base Airlie Beach Resort
a very good place and suits your wallet, especially for students. The staff is quite chilled and very helpful regarding the how's and what's and where's for the place ... Airlie Beach is a tiny beach town and the backpacker hostels are all located on one street. If you do not own a car (like me), no worries.. it's one airport shuttle away that will normally drop you off at your required holiday home/hostel (AUD $18).