With two of the world's greatest natural wonders - the Great Barrier Reef and the oldest rainforest on earth - just a stone’s throw away, Cairns puts the “jungle” in “urban jungle”. Here, you can bar-hop, rock-hop or island-hop on the same day; scale great heights from mountains to rooftop bars; or dive into the deep blue and finish your day with a golden brew. Oh, and children are invited too.
Great Barrier Reef and Ocean
Ready to take the plunge for a bucket-list adventure like no other? You and your family could spend weeks exploring this amazing, World Heritage-listed underwater universe, with its colourful coral gardens and bommies, and its abundant marine life - from tropical fish to turtles, rays and even whales.
There are plenty of snorkelling and scuba-diving excursions to choose from, for adults and children alike. Even non-swimmers can get in on the fun with glass-bottomed boats that give you a window into the reef; while thrillseekers must have a go at helmet diving.
Prefer staying above water? Set sail for a day or go on a kayaking expedition between Mission Beach and Dunk Island. Take to the skies in a heli or fixed wing aircraft for an unforgettable bird’s-eye view of all this unmatched beauty.
Connect with indigenous cultures
Explorers of all ages will have a blast spending a day immersed in learning the traditional hunting and gathering techniques of the coastal and rainforest Kuku Yalanji people. Venture into the mangroves in search of mud crabs and collect shellfish in tidal pools at Cooya Beach north of Port Douglas. If your hunt proves fruitful, your catch will be cooked fresh for you to enjoy; hopefully with the addition of a succulent mud crab.
Continue your journey to the Daintree Rainforest and Mossman Gorge to sample bush tucker and learn about the bush medicines that have been used by the local Aboriginal people for thousands of years. Don’t forget your swimwear so you can cool off in the pristine waters of Mossman Gorge at a private swimming hole.
With its diverse wilderness and abundant national parks, Tropical North Queensland is home to many beautiful hiking trails, waterfalls and swimming holes.
If green is more your scene, you'll have a splashing good time in the cool oasis of Mossman Gorge. Slide off a smooth granite boulder and into the emerald green, rainforest pools.
Located an hour's drive from Cairns is Babinda Boulders, named after the large smooth boulders that dot the cool-water swimming hole. Further afield, the Atherton Tablelands overflows with swimming spots, from the crystalline waters of volcanic Lake Eacham in Crater Lakes National Park to awe-inspiring waterfalls such as Zillie and Mungalli Falls - find your perfect spot under the glistening cascades and let nature pummel your cares away.