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Tourist Places To Visit In Cairns
Cairns, located towards the east in far north Queensland, is popularly known as the Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. A city brimming with life and adventures abound, Cairns is sure to leave you spellbound. There are a number of tourist places in Cairns that you must visit on your trip here. Be sure to visit the world heritage area of the Daintree Forest and explore the Cairns Regional Gallery. A dive or maybe a submerged boat ride in the Great Barrier Reef should probably top your to-do list. Cairns has a lot of places to see, some of which we have listed below for you.
Daintree National Park
Located 3 hours north of Cairns, the Daintree National Park is accessible by ferry, road and rail. The Daintree region has a tropical climate with large broadleaf tropical rainforests and upland tropical forests. You can also find large mangroves and fan palms in the area. Among the fauna, the more prominent ones would be saltwater crocodiles which are abundant in the far north. You may also be able to spot the flightless-Cassowary as it runs through the forests. The Daintree Discovery Centre keeps a track of the sightings. While at the park, you can also indulge in the Ocean Safari or sunbathe on the white sands of the Cape Tribulation Beach.
Located in the heart of the city, Cairns Museum takes you through the Aboriginal and cultural history of the region. The museum has 5 galleries which explore all aspects of life in Cairns and far north Queensland. It has a spectacular collection of objects, photographs and archival records for the place, its people, its culture and its heritage. A visit to the Cairns Museum will surely make you appreciate the raw beauty and the lives of natives. While members get free admission into the museum, adults have to pay a fee of $10. For children and senior citizens, it is $5 and $8 respectively. There are concessions for families as well.
Cairns Botanic Garden
The Cairns Botanic Garden is located just north of the city centre. It is your oasis of calm and beauty inside the fast-paced city. A tropical paradise, it is arguably the most beautiful and diverse exhibit of tropical plants in Australia. Admission into the garden is free of cost and most of the area is open round the clock. Certain areas are open only during the day and closed for the entire day on Christmas. There are donation boxes located within the garden premises to make a donation for the maintenance and upkeep of the garden.
Cairns Regional Gallery
The Cairns Regional Gallery is an independent not for profit company which is managed by a Board of Directors. About 60% of the maintenance costs are borne by the local government while the rest is generated from commercial activities and donations. The Cairns Regional Gallery is a public art museum which will help visitors better understand the region's culture and heritage through its art. It provides a unique insight into the history of Cairns and is committed to promoting the visual art forms of North Tropical Queensland. It hosts over 30 national and international exhibitions annually. The gallery is open all year round barring 4 holidays, namely, Christmas, New Year, Boxing Day and Good Friday.
Great Barrier Reef
The world’s largest coral formation and a UNESCO World Heritage site, The Great Barrier Reef is located right off the coast of Cairns. It is home to over 600 types of hard and soft coral and has innumerable species of fish, molluscs, starfish etc. It is a once in a lifetime experience to view the beauty of the reef from up close. If you’re into water sports, Scuba Diving is a must for you. If not, most of the reef areas have a submerged glass-bottom boat or a submarine which will take you around the reef so you can view the marine life from up close.
While the city itself does not have any beaches, towards the north, on the outskirts of the city there are a number of pristine beaches which will surely leave you enamoured. The beaches can easily be reached by bus. Not always ideal for a swim, nevertheless, these beaches make for a calm and relaxing evening. You could take a walk along the shore or lie on the sand and sunbathe. The more prominent beaches in the area are the Clifton Beach, Trinity Beach and the Palm Cove.
Port Douglas is located 70 km north of the city of Cairns and makes for an ideal day trip. It was established in 1877 and grew speedily having over 27 hotels and over 12000 residents at its peak. Port Douglas experienced the tourism boom in the late 1980s and since then has been a favourite tourist spot among locals and foreigners alike. Some of the popular activities here include kite surfing, scuba diving and snorkelling. It also has numerous restaurants, cafes, golf courses and some five-star resorts.
Cairns Night Market
As the sun goes down, the Night Markets of Cairns come alive, offering almost everything you can dream of. From organic local produce to the best vintage wines, from indigenous branded clothes to native Australian souvenirs, from freshly made churros to chilled bubble teas. You name it, they have it. Established in 1991 to emulate the night markets of South East Asia, the Cairns Night Market gained quick popularity among locals and tourists alike. What initially started with 28 stalls now has over 100 stalls. An evening at the Night Market will surely entice you for another visit. It is a perfect outing with friends and family alike with something on offer for each visitor. The Night Market is open from 5pm to 11pm on all days of the week.
Palm Cove in Cairns is a little village 27 km away, that they have bestowed with the honour of ‘Australia’s spa capital.’ The tropical rainforests, coral reefs, ancient cultures that are woven around the indigenous Melaleuca trees… they all make for a great experience. You can pick a luxurious beach resort to stay in, get yourself pampered at their spa and massage centres, relax under the Australian sun lounging on the sand, shop from local boutique stores and enjoy a rejuvenating holiday.
Kuranda Koala Gardens
The Kuranda Koala Gardens in the Kuranda region of Cairns are a great way to explore the indigenous fauna and flora of the continent with a dual educational and recreational experience. Animals like crocs, quokkas, wallabies and wombats are found in abundance enjoying their natural habitat here. What’s their natural habitat? The wild thick green rainforests that are heavy and lush. And of course, there are cute koala bears hanging from their favourite branches. A safari of the park will leave you with a camera full of pictures and cuddling experiences with koalas!
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
The aboriginal culture of Australia is said to date way back, almost 40000 years. Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is a place near Cairns where you get to peep into this unique culture, all enriched with their indigenous arts, crafts, food, music and dance. If you want to visit the real Australia before it was colonised and changed completely by the Europeans, then this is it. The park celebrates their culture, showcases important historical events in song and dance, with aborigines dressed in their traditional gear. It is an enticing mix of entertainment in education.
St Monica's Cathedral
A catholic church, St Monica's Cathedral is not that well made for it to stand out. And yet, its beauty is slow, creeping up on you as you keep looking at it, exploring its interiors and history and stories. With its stained glass windows, interior design geniuses and a very unlike-cathedral vibe, the place is not only for the religious and catholics but for all. If you wish to enjoy the religious side of it, then visit on a Sunday morning. They sing beautiful choirs then, attracting even those who are not of faith.
Water babies, Esplanade is the place for you to enjoy the ocean and its glories. From swimming to surfing to luxurious barbecues, there is so much to do here. While there is the nature with its ocean, there are also swimming pools with their picnic tables. You can also visit the Skatepark, Healing Garden playground, Muddy’s Playground and Funship Playground. There is also a special area for beach volleyball with friends and family!
Green Island is like a little gateway into the Great Barrier Reef, but its own beauty is not to be taken for granted. All white sands mingling with rainforests, corals and diving locals, the island is your best chance to enjoy the Great barrier Reef’s glories without its crowd. You get to explore corals of the seas, snorkel, go swimming and boating on the water. The marine life of Green Island attracts all nature enthusiasts and animal lovers that read up on it, especially with live commentaries on your dives as you see the corals and planktons and fishes live out their life underwater.
Fitzroy Island is Cairn’s pride for many reasons, least of all its pristine beaches, resorts, and national park. This tropical heaven is located close to Cairns, and is reached by a ferry or jetty in about 45 minutes. You can enjoy sea kayaking, snorkelling, swimming, glass bottom boat tours and all the other shenanigans that come with island life. Because of its heavy tourism, the island is very well developed and hence luxurious with all possible amenities. Couples, especially, find Fitzroy very delightful.
Hammocks, golden glittering sands, palm trees and sea blowing on the wind — that’s Yourkeys Knob for you. Popular in the continent for its perfect winds that support kite surfing, Yourkeys Knob is blessed by the south easterly winds, pushing your sails into an adrenaline-induced ride. Swimming is also coveted here and safe with the stinger net tied across the tidal waves. You can enjoy the Great Barrier Reef, go hiking up into the rainforests, clubbing or even boating. There’s a wide variety of activities.
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
A ride down the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is a must when in Cairns. This rainforest is believed to be one of the wettest tropical forests of Australia, also enlisted in world heritage areas. The cableway will take you across the forest for a one and a half hour gondola ride. The views from up there are enchanting, all waterfalls and green lush landscapes that are hardly visible beneath the thick tree cover, indigenous wildlife and hills. The areas you see on this ride are Jumrum Creek Conservation Park, Barron and Kuranda among others.
The local populace of Cairns swears by Trinity Beach for clean gleaming waters and a happy relaxed vibe even with a mix of locals and tourists. Since Trinity is close to the city airport, it often sees a high tourism traffic too, with many layover passengers choosing it to pass the time. And even so, the place is vast enough and open enough to not create a chaos with loads of people.
Reef Hotel Casino
A luxury hotel known for its famous casino, Reef Hotel Casino encapsulates richness and opulence in Cairns. With its spa rooms, baths, swimming pools and a private beach entrance, the hotel is perfect to stay in. If you, however, do not wish to splurge so much, then even a visit to one of its restaurants and casino is worth the money spent. It is located on Wharf St.
Kuranda Scenic Railway
Kuranda Scenic Railway is a ride that takes you through the rainforests of Queensland, zooming through flowering species, exotic flora and rugged terrains carpeted in emerald green tree cover. There is a commentary that educates you about the regions you pass, as you sit back and enjoy the hour plus long ride. The commentary also touches on the Kuranda Railway, its regional history and other facts. For a hundred years this railway has been operational and for a lot of years of that century, been a tourism feat!