The Best Day Trips From Cairns
If you are looking for a destination with a warm climate, lush rainforest, and unbeatable beaches, Cairns is the perfect base for your travels in Northern Australia.
This small town has become known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, but there is so much more to explore within a few hours' drive of the city.
Keep in mind that Cairns is in the tropics and that the flooding that accompanies the rainy season (November to May) can disrupt your travel plans.
Australia's public transport network is sparse in regional areas too, so you'll likely need to book a tour or rent a car for these day trips.
We hope you enjoy watching this video about The Best Cairns Day Trips
Source: Four Around The World
Find out where to go, what to do, and how to get to Cairns's best destinations!
Great Barrier Reef: Snorkeling and Diving
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world and one of Australia's top attractions. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1981 and receives thousands of visitors each year.
The shallow water means that you can see many of the colorful corals, fish, and turtles while snorkeling, although divers can experience a wider underwater world. Glass-bottom boat tours and semi-submersibles, as well as scenic flights, are also offered.
How to get there: The Great Barrier Reef stretches 1,400 miles along the east coast of Australia. Many popular snorkeling and diving spots can be reached on day trips from Cairns, including Michaelmas Cay, Moore Reef, Agincourt Reef, Hastings Reef, and Green Island.
Travel Tip: If your budget allows it, spending a few days on the reef is an incredible experience. Luxury resorts are found throughout the Whitsundays and other islands.
The Humid Tropics Area, a World Heritage Site, protects the oldest rainforest in the world: the Daintree. The Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aborigines are the traditional landowners in this part of far north Queensland.
Daintree National Park is divided into two sections, Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation, filled with hiking trails and unique wildlife like the endangered (and dangerous!) Southern Cassowary. Mossman Gorge is centered on a spectacular river, while Cape Tribulation is where the rainforest meets the sea.
How to get there: Depending on the part of the rainforest you plan to visit, the Daintree is about a two-hour drive north of Cairns.
We recommend taking a tour of Cairns if you are unfamiliar with driving in tropical conditions, as the roads are often closed during the rainy season.
Travel Tip: This is a true desert, with crocodiles, biting trees, and little to no cell reception. Check the park's website for alerts or visit the Mossman Gorge Visitor Center and Daintree Discovery Center for more information.
Kuranda: shopping and tourism
Kuranda is a charming village located in the jungle north of Cairns. Local markets are open daily, with hippie-inspired clothing, artisan jewelry, souvenirs, and snacks.
There are also many cafes in the city, as well as walking trails and some excellent wildlife sanctuaries nearby.
How to get there: Kuranda can be easily reached by car or local bus in about half an hour from Cairns.
The popular scenic route takes about an hour and a half, via the Skyrail cable car or the Kuranda railway through the rainforest (many visitors combine the two, taking the Skyrail to Kuranda and the train back or vice versa).
Travel Tip: Although Kuranda is part of the Atherton Tablelands region, we recommend spending a day here and then another day in other cities further away from Cairns.
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