Think Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef are only about the diving and marine life? We’re here to show you otherwise…
There’s no end to the many wonderful things you can do in Cairns – and we don’t just mean diving at the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef. In fact, even if you’re not into exploring the waters, there’s plenty else to see and do, and you’re certainly not going home without hundreds of Insta-worthy photos. Water sports, sunset tours and miles of sandy-white beaches? Sign us up now!
Head down to the SilkAir Roadshow at Bishan Junction 8 from 16 to 22 April 2018 for all-in Mastercard fares to Cairns. All-inclusive 4D3N Cairns packages starts from only $1,398 – limited seats are available, so don’t miss out.
Dive headfirst into the deep blue sea (of course)
No visit to Cairns is complete without a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. Comprising 2,900 coral reefs, and 1,050 islands and cays, there’s a chance you might get up close with marine wildlife such as manta rays, sharks and even whales as you navigate your way through the crystal clear waters.
Swim with elusive dwarf minke whales
Whale watching on the Great Barrier Reef’s definitely one for the bucket list. Hop onto one of the few cruises with designated permits during winter, and you might be swimming alongside some migrating dwarf minke whales. Sightings of these majestic creatures are common during the months of June and July, so book your trip early!
Marvel at the Great Barrier Reef… from the air
So you want to check out the reef without getting wet… and there’s nothing wrong with that! Here’s an idea: why not hop on an aerial tour for a panoramic view of the natural wonder? Scenic flights are available, and you can choose between planes, helicopters and even hot air balloons. It’s guaranteed to be a mind-blowing experience as you admire the sheer magnitude of the reef from above.
Hop on board a semi-submersible
Here’s another great option for those who prefer to check out the underwater world without getting wet: join a submarine tour that will take you through the coral reefs while you admire the marine biodiversity from a wide viewing window – and in total air-conditioned comfort.
Hold on for some rafting fun
There’s plenty more to do if you’re craving a change in scenery. Need some adrenaline? Grab a few pals and head to Tully River for some intense white water rafting. Located just two hours south of Cairns, it’s widely regarded as one of Australia’s best white water rafting spots. You can expect heaps of fun navigating these quick waters, with grade three to four rapids to tackle with your buds. But if you’re just looking for something fun and easy, Barron River is right up your alley with grade two to three rapids that are beginner-friendly.
Channel your inner daredevil
Take your adventure up several (hair-raising) notches as you zipline over a wildlife park at the centrally located Cairns ZOOM & Wildilfe Dome. You might even find yourselves navigating an obstacle course over saltwater crocodiles! All geared up for more? Take on the 13m Commando Rope Climb or try a free falling from a 13-metre high tower. For a bird’s eye view of the city, embark on their Dome Climb where you’ll be walking around an external platform boasting amazing views of Cairns to boot.
Self-drive from Cairns…
Need a little down time? Head for Palm Cove, a relaxing tropical paradise by the sea. With fantastic weather and centuries-old paperbark trees, it’s the picture-perfect setting you’ll need for ‘Gram. Continue towards Port Douglas, your ideal pitstop for shopping and eating with plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants serving up fresh produce. And when you’re done, hit the streets for some quirky and unique souvenirs to bring home.
… And hike your way through Cairns’ natural wonders
Nature lovers, there are plenty of islands across the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and many of them offer lots of exciting trails, parks and lush greenery. Looking for something family-friendly? Visit the award-winning Paronella Park beside the Mena Creek Falls, which boasts a stunning 7,500 varieties of flora and fauna, together with some gorgeous garden architecture. History buffs will be stoked to learn that the site contains a striking Spanish castle and visitors today can soak in the enigmatic beauty of the ruins. Take your adventure into the night at The Darkness Falls tour, where you’ll see a whole new side to the popular tourist attraction under the moonlight.
Kick back on sandy white beaches
If all you want to do is relax, head to Four Mile Beach, a glorious tropical paradise located at Port Douglas. Dip your toes into those crystalline waters or set up camp on the shores, the perfect vantage point for a jaw-dropping sunset.
How to get there:
Fly direct, non-stop to Cairns from $599 on SilkAir.
This article is sponsored by Tourism and Events Queensland.