Cairns is one of Australia’s most beautiful cities with bustling cafes, markets, and beaches.

This tropical city in Far North Queensland is close to many of Australia’s favourite getaways. With beautiful beaches, restaurants, and great one day adventures, here are our top 10 amazing things to do in Cairns.

1. Great Barrier Reef

It’d be hard not to add the Great Barrier Reef on the list of amazing things to do in Cairns. This is a magical part of Australia! Cairns is the closest city to the reef and therefore the most popular gateway to start your reef tour.

You can go snorkelling or diving on this one day reef tour and explore the underwaterworld to see the beautiful marine life and colourful corals.

2. Cairns Esplanade

The Cairns Esplanade is a great way to spend a day exploring or relaxing at the Cairns Lagoon. The lagoon consists of a large swimmingpool surrounded by a sandy beach area, an outdoor gym, volleybal courts and more. From the lagoon you overlook the pretty ocean, which gives you a beautiful view during sunset. Near the lagoon are plenty of restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a delicious dinner.

3. Cairns Botanic Gardens

Immerse yourself in a tropical paradise and see the best exhibit of tropical plants. The gardens have a variety of areas from a rainforest, the Gondwana heritage garden, and the bamboo collection.

It’s recommended to go on the Aboriginal Plant Use Garden walk. You are shown plants that were important to the Ngunnawal people for food, tools, and fire. Really impressive!

4. Cairns Aquarium

You can spend a few hours exploring the aquarium to see a range of marine life and animals. You can expect to see jellyfish, nemo fish, crocodiles, sharks, and marine life from the Great Barrier Reef.

5. Palm Cove

A 30 minute drive from Cairns will take you to a beautiful beachside suburb. Palm Cove has one of the most beautiful beaches you can find in Cairns. Along the beach you’ll find a line of palm trees, making the beach a tropical paradise. Perfect to dream away and enjoy the lovely warm weather that Queensland is known for.

6. Atherton Tablelands

Just under an hour and a half from Cairns you’ll find the Atherton Tablelands, a nature lovers’ paradise. The Tablelands has stunning waterfalls, for example the famous Millaa Millaa falls. You can find some Australian wildlife in the rainforest too.

7. Fitzroy Island

A 45 minute journey from Cairns and you’ll find yourself on the beautiful Fitzroy Island. You’ll quickly see how gorgeous the island is. The tropical rainforest, beautiful white beaches, and variety of wildlife will make you want to live there.

You can spend the day in the water snorkelling, diving and swimming. Or you can enjoy a walk through the rainforest and stroll to one of Australia’s best beaches, Nudey Beach.

8. Cape Tribulation

Experience the scenery and beautiful beaches at Cape Tribulation. You may want to spend a day in Cape Tribulation as it’s under a three hour drive from Cairns.

Cape Tribulation is unique as it is where two UNESCO World Heritage Sites meet, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.

9. Daintree Rainforest

Daintree Rainforest is the oldest rainforest in the world. Right next to Cape Tribulation, Daintree Rainforest has a lot to offer from exploring the rainforest or jumping on a river cruise. The cruise takes you down Daintree River and often you can spot crocodiles. Yes, you read it correctly, crocodiles! Isn’t that cool?!

10. Mossman Gorge

In just over an hour from Cairns you’ll find Mossman Gorge. Expect stunning vistas, windy rivers and fun walks. It’s also the getaway into Daintree Rainforest. There are swimming holes too, which are perfect to swim in and some areas are even great for a picnic.

If you want to explore Cairns, you will need about three days. But if you want to do a couple of day trips not far from the city, we recommend staying a week.

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