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Cairns

Cairns

When to go

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Getting around

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Things to do

Delve deep

Dive, snorkel, helmet dive, “Scuba Doo” (personal submarine) or cruise about in a glass-bottomed boat. Whatever your preferred discovery mode, you’ll soon see and understand why the Great Barrier Reef is considered the most spectacular coral reef system and one of the seven wonders of the world. You can even take to the skies in a seaplane for aerial views of deserted sand cays. Adventure can be found at every turn – from diving with Minke whales, parasailing off remote island beaches, or spying on baby turtles making their first dash for freedom on the Coral Sea. Tour operators depart daily from Cairns, Mission Beach and Port Douglas, offering certified, introductory scuba, snorkelling and live-aboard courses, as well as glass-bottomed cruises, helmet diving and motorised underwater scooters.

Leap of faith

AJ Hackett Bungy offers 16 different jump styles including the Minjin Jungle Swing – a user-controlled contraption that allows for three people to jump and swing through the jungle, travelling 45m per 3.5 seconds at a speed of up to 120km per hour. There’s a bar and viewing deck for those who’d prefer to sit this one out.

McGregor Road, Smithfield, tel: +61 (7) 4057 7188

The sky’s the limit

Venture deep into the forest onboard the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. A world first in environmental tourism, the cable-operated gondolas will have you suspended for either a 90-minute (one way) or 2.5-hour (return trip) tour above Australia’s World Heritage-listed rainforest. Choose to begin or conclude your journey at the Caravonica or Kuranda. Better still, the Skyrail can be combined with other attractions (including the Kuranda Scenic Railway) for the ultimate half- or full-day regional tour.

Cnr of Captain Cook Highway and Cairns Western Arterial Road, Smithfield, tel: +61 (7) 4038 5555

Journey into the past

Tropical North Queensland is home to Australia’s ancient evergreen rainforests steeped in Indigenous heritage and mystery. The cascading waterfalls and giant Kauri pines are part of the surroundings known as “home” to one-quarter of the country’s frog population, one-third of mammals and freshwater fish and nearly half of the nation’s birdlife. A must-see and do on any would-be Northern Queensland traveller’s list, Mossman Gorge is an absolute highlight.

212 Gorge Rd, Mossman

It takes a village

Discover the coastal villages of Palm Cove (pictured) and Port Douglas. Palm Cove is quiet and relaxing with ancient “paperbark” (Melaleuca trees) lining its esplanade. You’ll cherish your tropical getaway in the serene yet sophisticated surrounds. Port Douglas is a tropical oasis, one hour’s drive north of Cairns, via a spectacular route encompassing forest and the Coral Sea. Despite its location, Port Douglas offers worldly comforts with a disarming friendly village atmosphere. It’s a place of transformation, where people come to refresh, restore and revitalise. Spend time in the aquamarine waters of the Coral Sea, the crystal creeks of Mossman Gorge or the palm-fringed golden sands of Four Mile Beach.

 

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