Cover Image Credit: wikipedia
Do you want to go someplace magical? A place that is a mix between the jungle wilderness and the majestic ocean? A land flourishing with flora and fauna beyond your wildest dreams? An experience of a lifetime. Where? Only at Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.
Cairns is a city located in the tropical Far North Queensland. There are plenty of places to visit in Cairns. There is a Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park here that tells stories of indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with music and dance. The Cairns Esplanade is lined with bars, restaurants, and a swimming lagoon. Northwest of the city, Daintree National Park spans mountainous rain forest, gorges and beaches.
10 Best Places To Visit In Cairns
Want to explore the magical world? Well, below are the 10 best places to visit in Cairns that you cannot afford to miss:
1. Cairns Aquarium
Cairns Aquarium is the famous public aquarium present in Australia. It is home to more than 16,000 marine animals and 10 different ecosystems. It is one of the very few aquariums that also exhibits endangered species. It has about 71 tanks including the largest freshwater aquarium tank in Australia, a deep sea tank and the world’s very first tidal motion tank.
See lots of amazing fish, marine creatures and undersea plant life! Never before have you seen an aquarium as huge, diverse and interactive as the Cairns Aquarium! This is a truly edutaining journey for both kids and adults.
Cost: Adult- $42, Children-$28
Best time to visit: All year (from 9 AM to 5 PM)
2. Green Island
Green Island is an island located in the region of Cairns. Green Island is a journey into a magical realm called the Great Barrier Reef. Explore the Great Barrier Reef by boarding sightseeing cruises from Green Island. Green Island is actually close to Cairns, just 1.5 hours away.
Explore the indigenous flora and fauna in the Green Island National Park. Relax on a luxury cruise ship on the Great Barrier Reef. One can also take a helicopter or seaplane tours available at Green Island to explore the Great Barrier Reef from the sky. It is one of the best places to visit in Cairns.
Best time to visit: October to December (before Summer and Monsoon starts)
3. Cairns Botanic Gardens
Unleash the inner botanist inside of you by taking a mystical trip into Cairns Botanic Gardens. Cairns Botanic Gardens is recognized as one of the largest and best exhibitions of tropical plant life in all of Australia.
Sometimes Cairns Botanic Gardens conduct special educational events, that will undoubtedly enrich your knowledge of plant life. This is an aromatic treat for botanical and horticultural enthusiasts.
Cost: Free admission
Best time to visit: All year (7.30 AM to 5.30 PM)
4. Cairns Esplanade Lagoon
Are you tired of sightseeing? Do you want to go some calm and serene? Some place that you can truly relax at? A place where you can dump all your stress out and come back rejuvenated and ready for the next bout of rounds that life is going to throw at you? That place is Cairns Esplanade Lagoon and one of the alluring places to visit in Cairns.
This shallow water lagoon is safe for swimming and is child friendly. It is a wonderful place that people of all ages will truly enjoy. The lagoon is clean and the boardwalk sells some amazing souvenirs, trinkets and food! No better place to chillax than Cairns Esplanade Lagoon. Don’t forget to take your kid to Muddy’s Playground: Australia’s favourite children water park.
Best time to visit: All year (6 AM to 9 PM, except on Wednesday- 12 to 9 PM)
Kuranda is a beautiful mountain village that is located near to Cairns. It is famously known as the ‘Village in the Rainforest’, because Kuranda is surrounded by the world’s oldest rainforest. One can take the conventional means of travelling to Kuranda or take a once in a lifetime trip through (or above) the rain forest by the Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.
Celebrate the most of Australia at this Kuranda: experience Aboriginal culture, cuddle pandas, seeing kangaroos, cruise along the Barron River in a river boat, explore the rain forest and see the amazing flora and fauna of Kuranda.
Best time to visit: June to October (mainly July)
6. Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
Are you interested in learning about different cultures? Do you want to learn more about how people used to and still continue to function (since ancient times)? Another reason why Australia attracts a lot of tourists is because it is one of the few countries that still celebrate their indigenous tribes, the Aboriginals. This one is one of the most preferred places to visit in Cairns.
Experience Aboriginal culture and learn more about them and their heritage at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Dance with them, eat tribal cuisines and enjoy Aboriginal art and craft. Why? You can even try playing with a boomerang.
Cost: (excluding activities) By day- Adult ($55.80) and Child ($37.80), By night- Adult ($110.70) and Child ($65.50)
Best time to visit: All year (9 AM to 9.30 PM)
7. Palm Cove
Do you want to hang out at a super awesome tropical beach? Then head over to Palm Cove, a small coastal village. This is the ultimate place to relax at. Stay at a world class resort, dine by the sea, go swimming in the crystal clear water, get sun tanned, breathe in the refreshing and salty air, go fishing, join a relaxing spa or try out some adrenaline pumping water activities. This is the best choice in Cairns to spend some quality family time or for a destination wedding.
Best time to visit: All year (24 hours)
Suggested Read: 10 Australia Travel Tips To Swear By For A Smooth Vacay
8. Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures
Are you a fan of Crocodiles? It was Australia that made crocodiles famous all over the world thanks to Steve Irwin’s show. See saltwater crocodiles up close as they are bred for their skin and meat. Purchase amazing souvenir.
Hug koala bears and capybaras!
Touch baby crocodiles and observe the giant cassowaries of Australia. See birds of different colored feathers and enjoy nature’s art, as it manifests in the various forest reptiles.
Cost: Adult ($41) and Child ($21.50)
Best time to visit: All year (8.30 AM to 5 PM)
9. Daintree National Park
This amazing national park is located north west of Cairns. This lush and green national park inspired the world of James Cameron’s blockbuster movie ‘Avatar’. Explore the Daintree National Park by cruising the Daintree River. Walk under the canopy of the Daintree Rainforest by walking on the boardways. The Daintree National Park is home to various endangered species such as cassowaries and saltwater crocodiles.
Cost: $199 per person
Best time to visit: May to September
10. Fitzroy Island
Fitzroy Island is just 1.5 hours away from Cairns; you need to take a ferry ride to reach there. This is an amazing location for people who want to enjoy a private or quiet holiday. It is a superb honeymoon destination. The island has a 100 room’s resort that is fully equipped to cater for all needs of its guests. Fitzroy Island is a beautiful cross between rainforest and coral reef and definitely one of the ideal places to visit in Cairns.
Cost: Check their official website to book accommodation or day tour.
Best time to visit: August
Cairns is the most ideal place for a perfect family vacation. A trip to Cairns would be the amazing as the place has got the best of everything, be it wildlife or gorgeous ocean, it has the best of both worlds. If you love nature and want to explore the raw side of Australia, there are some awesome places to visit in Cairns that should be on the top of your list.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Places to Visit in Cairns
How many days are enough for Cairns?
A trip of 5-6 days would be enough to witness the best of Cairns. To enjoy your vacation, you can go sightseeing and indulge in outdoor activities.
What is Cairns famous for?
Cairns is well known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest, two of the world’s greatest natural habitats.
Can I visit Cairns during the current Covid situation?
Yes, you can plan a visit to Cairns during the current Covid situation. However, make sure that you are completely vaccinated and always carry your vaccination certificate. Besides this, you need to follow government protocols that include wearing a mask when in public, sanitizing hands at certain intervals, and maintaining social distance.
Can one interact with Aboriginals in Cairns?
One can actually experience the culture of the Aboriginals at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Dance with Aboriginals to tribal music, taste indigenous delicacies and learn more about their heritage.
When is the best time to visit Cairns?
The best time to visit Cairns would be between April and September, because of the warm weather and less crowd. Meaning that accommodation is cheaper and more easily available.
What is special about Undara National Park?
The Undara National Park is world-renowned for being the home to the world’s largest lava tubes. These are natural caves that were formed by flowing lava.
Are Cairns beaches prone to shark attacks?
Drumlines have been installed at Cairns to prevent sharks from entering beaches. So one does not have to worry about shark attacks.
What is the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef?
The best time to visit Cairns would be between June to October when the water is clearer and diving conditions are better.