The 8 must-do things to do in Cairns

Visit Cairns: what are the best things to do and see in this North Queensland city?


  • 1. Dive the Great Barrier Reef
  • 2. Explore the lush rainforest
  • 3. Go for a day of rafting
  • 4. Dive into a pool above a waterfall
  • 5. Relax and swim in Cairns Lagoon
  • 6. Go out to the best bars and clubs in Cairns
  • 7. Take a ride on the Kuranda Scenic Train
  • 8. Escape to Cape Tribulation or Port Douglas

Australia is a land of adventures, everyone knows it now. But if there is one destination to choose to ensure the best thrills, it is Cairns ! This city with a subtropical climate located in the extreme northeast of the country-continent is not the largest of Australian cities but has a very rich natural environment that you can enjoy to the fullest. You will notice as you read, there is no shortage of activities in Cairns …

Here are the best things to do in Cairns:

1. Dive the Great Barrier Reef

The 8 must-do things to do in Cairns
Wikimedia – Janderk

A dream for some, a tick box for others, scuba diving at the most beautiful dive site on the planet (and the only living organism visible from the moon) is an exceptional experience! If the Great Barrier Reef stretches for 2,600 kilometers along the Queensland coast, it is in Cairns that you will have the best spots to dive. From Cairns, you will find a wide choice of excursions to spend a day on board a boat and take one or more “dive(s)”. Nothing commits you to diving if you are scared or not confident. You can just snorkeland observe the reefs and fish (and even harmless sharks). This will cost you around AUD$100 a day (meal, dive, and day on the boat included), and $150 with a second jump. It is therefore very accessible. For those who want to pass their PADI diploma , you will find all the information on site or on the site.

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2. Explore the lush rainforest

You will notice that Cairns is in the hollow of many jungle-covered mountains. There are a multitude of national parks in which you can go for a walk alone or with a guide. The ideal is to take a guide because it will take you directly to the most beautiful points. During the discovery, you will walk through the jungle or on the canopy (above the jungle). Rivers, fauna and flora are on the menu. During your day, you can take the opportunity to visit a crocodile farm, for example. You have the choice of the surrounding parks Daintree National Park , Wooroonooran National Park , or more ready Kuranda State Forest .

3. Go for a day of rafting

Two important and ideal rivers for rafting are found in the vicinity of Cairns: the Tully River and the Barron River . Local companies organize rafting days for around AUD$200 with meals and transport included. Depending on the season of the year, there are more or fewer rapids, but rafting is still accessible to everyone. Good times guaranteed in the white waters of North Queensland!

4. Dive into a pool above a waterfall

CAUTION: GOOD PLAN . This place is not known to many because its access is very limited. For thrill seekers, you have the opportunity to jump from rocks (5 to 15m high) above the Barron Falls ! However, be careful, it’s at your own risk… How to get there?

On this map you can see that you have to get to Kuranda by car. Once there, find Weir Rd (dam street). Then look for the railroad. Leave your car and walk along the railway line, which is theoretically forbidden… Be careful, a train passes by from time to time. After 3 or 400m of walking, go down to the left before the red sign ”  Block limit  ” and you will find rocks with a water point to dive. A pool is at the edge of the falls (it’s quite high), you have to be careful. If you don’t want to try, go to the Falls Viewpoint instead, accessible from Kuranda. 

barron falls cairns

5. Relax and swim in Cairns Lagoon

Cairns, although it is placed at the edge of the water, does not have beaches directly accessible from the city center. For that, you have to take the car and drive a few kilometers to finally find a beautiful beach. It is still necessary that the jellyfish (jellyfish) have not invaded the waters… In any case, you can come and swim in the lagoon found on the Esplanade . This is where locals and vacationers meet, preferably when the sun is not too strong. Ideal for relaxing and sunbathing.

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6. Go out to the best bars and clubs in Cairns

Not very big (165,000 inhabitants), Cairns nevertheless has a very lively nightlife . With pubs/clubs like Gilligan’s or Woolshed, you can go out and meet people. We will return to where to go out in Cairns in a new topic.

7. Take a ride on the Kuranda Scenic Train

This train departs from Cairns and arrives at Kuranda. During the journey, the train will therefore cross the tropical forest, tunnels, bridges, and superb landscapes. It’s another way to discover the Cairns region.

train cairns
Flickr – robdownunder

8. Escape to Cape Tribulation or Port Douglas

North of Cairns, here are two destinations to be in the heart of nature and calm. Leave at least 2 days to discover one of the oldest forests in the world, the Daintree , which is located just north of the small town of Port Douglas .

9. Skydive or bungee jump

Many people come to Cairns to skydive or bungee jump . So if you still have a solid budget, do not hesitate to book your parachute jump in Cairns, because during your fall, you will have a superb view of the Great Barrier Reef. As for bungee jumping, the spot is at the entrance to the forest. Both are very impressive!

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Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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