Things to do around Cairns
Favorite thing: Hi I am a long time Cairns local & not ashamed to give our area a good old fashioned plug.
If I were you I would look at renting an apartment or try the Discovery Resort Cairns 183 Lake Street Cairns --this is within an easy walking distance to the Esplanade and city centre. www.discoveryresort.com.au or you could try Park Regis Cairns City Quays 6 Lake Street Cairns or visit www.parkregishotels.com
you may get an early bird special rate. This hotel has a rooftop pool & a tour desk,broadband internet & secure parking.
Apart from exploring Cairns eateries & shopping and the famous mudflats on the Esplanade where you can see many different species of birdlife and of course the mudcrabs--you could take a trip to Green Island or Fitzroy Island spend some time there before heading out to the outer reef to experience the reef in all its glory. Some day trips could be a tour North to Cape Tribulation stopping for lunch at Port Douglas & visiting Mossman Gorge--if you have time visit Silky Oaks Lodge for a quite drink or for lunch it is a beautiful place and not far from Mossman township.Along the way it is worth stopping in at Palm Cove one of Cairns Northern beach suburbs.You could have a day at Mission Beach & take either the ferry across or a water taxi to Dunk Island & if you are adventureuos a white water raft trip down the Tully river.
The Great Green Way Tropical Drive South from Cairns to Townville (457 km)or part of this trip takes in some great places such as Eubenagee Wetlands North of Innisfail--it contains a number of rare plant species and assists in the conservation of the regions wildlife particularly birds,butterflies,turtles and crocodiles.From there you could visit Mena Creek Paronella Park which is a major tourist attraction based on the remains of a Spanish grandious home and construction undertaken by a Spanish canecutter early in the centry.The park offers the Dream continues tour--a botanical walk through the rainforest gardens and swimming areas. Hinchinbrook Island is Australias largest island national park and is worth a visit to some of the most pristine and beautiful environment areas.Cardwell is the main town near this area and I love this place as it is situated right on the beach--lots of places to eat but in my opinion they bake the best meat pies in QLD you can puchase these from the pie van or from the bakery in the main street.This is the half way point between Cairns & Townville so if you choose to continue on you can visit lots of great places like Lucinda,Tyto Wetlands where there are lots of wallabies and crocodiles that you can view from platforms. Ingham cemetary is a tourist attraction & well worth looking at.Townville is a beaut city and boasts the Strand and Magnetic Island.
West you can do a day trip to the Atherton Tableland South of Cairns to the Kennedy Highway just before you reach Innisfail and follow the waterfall trail to Malanda or up the Kuranda range North of Cairns to Mareeba & then to Atherton or up the Gillies range South of Cairns turn off at Gordonvale and visit Lake Barrine & Lake Eacham & Lake Tinaroo--Yungaburra is a lovely heritage town with some very nice places to eat,Nicks restaurant is great.Take a look around & see some of the old wood churches. Then onto Atherton & you can do a loop going over the top of the range to Mareeba & down to Kuranda via the range & back to Cairns, You can do a guided tour of these places or you could rent a people mover. No matter what you decide Cairns has a lot to offer,One of my favourite places to go for breakfast is the restaurant at Fleckers Botanical Gardens in Collins Avenue Edge Hill ( a suburb of Cairns) To have one of the waffles with decadent ice cream & chocolate is a wonderful start to the day.
The Pier boardwalk overlooking Trinity inlet & marina with False Cape in the foreground is an ambient place to have lunch or dinner.Tides Hotel serves a good buffet.Mondos part of the Hilton Hotel is a nice outside restaurant & has some special recipes which are a bit different.If you want any more information you can log onto www.cairnseye.com.au
August is a wonderful time to visit --wishing you all the most wonderful trip.
Fondest memory: This is my home and love coming back after a holiday
- Road Trip
- Food and Dining
The Cairns mudflats
Favorite thing: The mudflats along the Cairns esplanade is a haven for many species of birdlife,mud crabs and other creatures.It has a wonderful boardwalk with viewing stations and is a great place to have a picnic/bbq--especially at dusk.
The childrens playground called "muddies" is a great place for families with water features to cool off--most children like to watch the mudcrabs when the tide is out.The "Nard" is also used for exercise--joggers,bike riders etc and have exercise stations placed along the 2 1/2 klms stretch.
It is such a tropical paradise.
Fondest memory: The tropical climate and surrounding mountains and the laid back atmosphere.
- Family Travel
Views from the suburbs
Favorite thing: I often come up to the slopes of Cairns to get a birds eye view of Cairns and the suburbs in what we the locals call the horseshoe.
The views look down onto new housing estates/suburbs that used to be cane fields.
It also looks beyond to the growing city of Cairns and the hills over east Trinity.
I usually come up to some of these places to watch the fireworks when they are on.
One popular place is on Lake Morris Road on the way to Copperlode Dam,but I like going to the suburbs around where I live in Whitfield/Edge Hill.
Fondest memory: Fantastic views in non-crowded places.
I love looking out toward the city and down to the suburbs of Cairns--day and night.
You can hike up to these places or just drive around the suburbs of Cairns heading for the higher suburbs of Whitfield,Bayview,Edge Hill.
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Secrets of the Reef
Favorite thing: You have to visit the Great Barrier Reef and here are the 6 best kept secrets of visiting the reef:
1. Get out of Cairns.
2. The more north you go, the better the reef is.
3. Port Douglas is just north of Cairns and has much smaller, freindlier, personalised boats that go to the outer reef. Its also a pretty little town and is right next to the Daintree World Heritage area.
4. Quicksilver is the worst outer reef product NOT the best - its the most well known but fails by taking 400 tourists to a single trashed site and giving them 2 hours to squeeze what they can out of it and charging $40 more than anyone else to pay for the fancy lunch and the massive fuel bill.
5. You do NOT have to scuba dive to see coral reef. Reefs are driven by sunlight so all the life is in the first few metres, not much beyond 10 metres. You can see 90% of stuff by floating on the surface ! Dive companies push scuba because it makes them rich.
6. My best tip is to go to with the best kept secret of the Great Barrier Reef... a small unassuming company called "Wavelength" (www.wavelength.com.au) which is the only snorkel specialist boat I know of. And they are in Port Douglas ! This is the boat I do all my underwater photography on.
Hope this helps.
Fondest memory: My best memory of Cairns is realising I couldnt hear the "doof doof" music from the nightclubs as I drove away from the city as fast as I could !
- Diving and Snorkeling
Changes over the years.
Favorite thing: I am uploading some pics taken in 1981 and 1995/6 along the Esplanade of Cairns.
I have been astounded at the transformation that has taken place in the last 10 years,and I have witnessed all the changes along the Cairns Esplanade.
The real estate and housing have grown so much that the cane fields have all but disappeared to give way to views of house roofs and shopping centres.
The pics are pretty old but hopefully you will appreciate the changes.
Hope you come and visit this area soon.
Fondest memory: I love living in Cairns and when I am away I miss the casual tropical atmosphere with palm trees,rainforest and reef.
- Historical Travel
Sun setting over the ranges.
Favorite thing: One of the things I love doing is watching the sun setting over the Cairns slopes and ranges.
You can watch this from nearly anywhere in Cairns and the suburbs because the hills surround this area.So if you are outside in the evening approx 5.30pm most nights then you can watch the sun sink behind the ranges.
I took my pics from my back yard.
Fondest memory: I always miss the Cairns slopes/ranges when I am away.
The sun rises and sunsets from my backyard and balcony are such a joy to witness.
Tips for Selecting a Reef Expedition
Favorite thing: An expedition to the reef is a fairly standard commodity and, though they charge in different ways, you will generally pay the same amount no matter what company you choose. What you want to use to guide your choice of a reef excursion are other considerations.
1. What part of the reef is the boat going to visit.? You might want to revisit the site of a previous dive, or you might want to see something new, but they go to the same spots every day, weather dependent.
2. How fast is the boat? Obviously, slower boats stay closer to shore, and you spend more time getting from point A to point B and less time in the water doing what you paid for.
3. How big is the boat. This is important for those of you who get seasick. A bigger boat is more stable, has a higher resistance to rough seas and is generally more comfortable.
4. Where does the boat leave from? Does it leave from the docks in Cairns, or do you need to take a long trip up to Pt. Douglas in the wee hours of the morning? Boats that go to the northern part of the reef, known for its clear water, generally do leave from Pt. Douglas.
6. Number of dives and the number of times they move the boat.
7. How many snorkelers will be there? Snorkelers generally take up a lot of space in the water and can crowd your dive ladders. The fewer there are, the better.
8. The ratio of divers to divemasters. The lower the better.
Fondest memory: Clearing my mask and suddenly seeing the exotic fish in all their color. It just kind of dawns on you that everything everyone told you about the wondrous sights is true, but that there really aren't words to describe it. About the best comparison I can make is being in someone's carefully maintained fish tank, filled with brightly colored fish you've never seen before.
Where in the World is Cairns?
Favorite thing: So you have come here to learn a little bit about Cairns did you?
Do you know where this place is located?
Cairns is located in Tropical North Queensland, which is on the upper right hand corner of Australia. The interesting fact about this is that it is as far away from Brisbane (which is the capital of Queensland) as Brisbane is away from Melbourne. That means that people from Queensland even have to get in a plane to go visit Cairns.
Having said that, Cairns is located 15000 kilometers from New York!
Low Tide in Cairns
Favorite thing: Sitting in the park on the edge of the water in Cairns is a great time to watch nature at its finest. Here are I sat reading a book about the reasons that tides come and go, right in front of me one of the world's great feats was occurring. Here, situated next to one of the greatest wonders in the world, the Great Barrier Reef, there was another natural phenomenon right before my eyes.
It was amazing to me how far out this tide stretched, it seemed like I could walk 100's of meters before I actually hit water again.
Take a moment or two to watch the beautiful moments!
Unusual tropical plants
Favorite thing: If you are in Cairns then I suggest you head to the Flecker Botanical Gardens and check out the array of tropical plants,it does not matter about seasons because there is always something for you to see.
Take your time and explore this place...you will be amazed what you will find.
If you are interested in plants and flowers then it's a photographers paradise,and the bird life is really special.
Fondest memory: I live here and often walk around these gardens...I am so lucky because I see so many different species..I have no idea what most of them are called..I appreciate them.
Favorite thing: Cairns itself has no beach, although when we were last there the council was saying it would build an artificial one. If a true ocean beach is what you're looking for, head for the northern beach villages. They are about 20 minutes drive from the city. Local buses serve them all.
The two best villages are Palm Cove and the one shown in the photo, Trinity Beach.
Both villages have plenty of accommodation, especially self-catering apartments, and they also have several cafes and restaurants opposite the beach, plus a few shops.
Favorite thing: A northern beach village that should be on your list to visit, or even to have as your accommodation base, is Palm Cove. It has a good beach, plenty of accommodation from 5 star resorts to a caravan park, shops, cafes, restaurants. The Novotel Resort also is a Country Club, with tennis courts and a resort golf course.
The very attractive main street along the beach is lined by huge Melaleuca trees, which locals say are hundreds of years old.
Favorite thing: If you're based in Cairns, a visit to Part Douglas is a 'must'. About an hour's drive north, the drive itself is interesting with some beautiful scenery. Port was a sleepy little village only a few years ago, now it's a thriving tourist destination in its own right.
There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, entertainment, shops, accommodation, a beautiful marina, excellent beach, weekend markets...plenty to see and do.
Favorite thing: Australian currency is in dollars ($AUD). There are 100 cents to a dollar. We have 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent pieces (coins), which are silver, 1 and 2 dollar coins, which are gold.
We also have 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar notes. Each note is a distinctively different colour and they each have a 'clear window' in the notes. "Australia was the first country in the world to have a complete system of bank notes based on plastic (polymer). These notes provide much greater security against counterfeiting. They also last four times as long as conventional paper (fibrous) notes." (taken from: www.dfat.gov.au/facts/currency.html)
For more information - like who are the people on the notes see the website above.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: Reef to Rainforest
Before going to Australia I wanted to find specific information on Cairns and further north since I have already backpacked around australia. It was easy finding information on Queensland but not specifically the part I wanted to go to. So I have decided to create a travelogue specifically about Cairns to Cape Trib.
I didn't go to the Tjapukai aboriginal centre during the day but I went for a conference dinner. They put on a great show creating fire from rubbing twigs together and singing in their dance theatre.
The admission price is $28 and its near the Kuranda skyrail
Fondest memory: Atherton tablelands going outback!
one of my favourite places was granite gorge ($2 entry well worth it). Its the home a many rock wallabies and lovely place for walks.
Picture-a waterfall from the waterfall circuit (see below). Rock wallabies and me in Granite Gorge
- Hiking and Walking