Things to Do in Cairns

Best Things to Do in Cairns 

Admire the Great Barrier Reef, Hop onto the Kuranda Scenic Railway, Explore the Cairns Botanic Gardens, Visit the Barron Gorge National Park, Relax at Palm Cove, Opt for chopper tour over Cairns, Hike the Daintree Rainforest, Hot balloon ride, Skydiving and many more.

Are you wondering about the activities to do in Cairns in your much-awaited holiday? Well, there is absolutely no need to worry. There are numerous things that you can do here, irrespective of your spirit. For instance, if you want to admire the unfiltered beauty of nature, you can visit the Great Barrier Reef or explore Green Island. However, if you are an adventure fanatic, you can opt for whitewater rafting in the Barron Gorge National Park. Moreover, you can also try horseback riding along the ocean or skydiving.

You can also choose Cairns as your honeymoon destination. There are several Cairns things to do for couples. You can watch in awe the butterflies at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary or go on a surprise hot balloon ride with your beloved. Do you have a limited budget? In that case, you can opt for the numerous cheap or free things that you can do in Cairns. You can swim at The Lagoon or explore the different beaches such as Kewarra Beach or Trinity Beach. If you want to explore this magnificent city at night, you will not be disappointed either. There are numerous restaurants, bars, and clubs that are open till late at night.

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Cairns Botanic Gardens

The Cairns botanical gardens officially known as Flecker botanical garden is a botanic reserve in Collins Avenue. It is named after Dr. Hugo Flecker who is known for his immense botanical contribution to this place. Commenced on the 2 of February 2007, it has since become a world heritage listed site. It is also known as Fitzalan's Botanical gardens and Edge hill nursery and it is one of the best places to visit in Cairns.

Having a special place in Cairns history this garden has its native sausage tree kigella pantana, hoop pines Araucaria cunninghamii and Cook pine Araucaria columnaris. Further down Goodwin street are the damson plum and a blue quandong. There are rainforest understory plants along the creek with paperbarks and a Leichhardt tree. Aroids and gingers are a part of the garden as well. The walking area is non slippery due to the use of exposed aggregate concrete.

Location: Collins Ave, Edge Hill QLD 4870, Australia

Highlight: The garden has its theme based on the botanical historical evolution of the new Queensland region.

Palm Cove

Palm Cove is the shy, quiet chilled-out unique village which is referred to as the Spa capital of Australia. Some who visit it call it 'the ultimate tropical serenity'. It offers the best of tropical adventure with its reef, rainforest, and indigenous culture and it is one of the best places to visit in Cairns. Relax by the ancient paper bark Melaleuca trees lining the casually styled esplanade. There are various world class beach resorts and hotels here to pamper you and further cater to your every whim and fantasy.

When you get tired of relaxing move out into the tropical sunshine and take part in Great Barrier Reef excursions and rainforest trips, go seeking thrill on a kayaking adventure or try fishing in your personal jetty. A Mecca of sophistication, Palm cove lets you pamper yourself with its various beauty salons and spas. Shop in its boutiques and take care of yourself by taking advantage of the health and fitness centers.

Location: It is located 27 km North of Cairns

Highlights: It is known as the Spa capital of Australia

Best time to visit: September to November, March to May.

Green Island

Most people come to Cairns to visit the Great Barrier Reef. There are many rainforests, white beaches, corals and abundant and diverse marine life. You can do several activities here at Green Island where the clear water invites you to dive, swim, and snorkel to your heart's content. Also very famous here is the semi-submarine ride and the glass bottom boat ride and it is one of the best tourist places in Cairns Australia.

Both of these are excellent options if you are a marine life enthusiast. Visit Green Island has live commentary, the hosts of which expound the wonders of the corals and live fish feeding. There are 3 tours departing at 9 am, 11 am and 1 pm every day. The green island national park is also worth checking out. This is a once in a lifetime tropical island experience not to be missed.

Location: It is situated 27 km offshore from Cairns, Queensland in Australia.

Highlights: Green Island is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, which is the largest living thing on the planet and is even visible from space.

St Monica's Cathedral

The St Monica's Cathedral is a Catholic Church in Cairns. This nondescript Building which most people miss is a delight in itself. A witness to the battle of Coral Sea, this unknown building is a hidden gem and a wonder of architecture and interior design. There are a number of stained glass windows of which 24 depict the creation. It is a modern Cathedral which does not require any sort of religious affiliation and it is one of the best places to visit in Cairns.

Visit this church on a sunny day to see it in its full glory. The interior of this church holds its own even in comparison with bigger churches. Here the friendly staff and the caretaker are more than happy to explain the illustrious history and architecture of the Cathedral. Do attend the church on Sundays at 10 AM to listen to the mesmerizing music of the church choir.

Location: 181 Abbott St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

Highlight: Come here for the stained glasses and the church choir.

Yorkeys Knob

Yourkeys Knob is your ideal Beach front Destination for your holiday in Cairns. You are encouraged to go and find your own piece of personal paradise on the golden treasures that lay here. The wide expanse of sand covered by a palm-fringed hammock will surely seduce you. With a large stinger net, you can swim all you want in pure unrestricted pleasure. There is just so much to do that it will be really hard to explore all of it in just one day and it is one of the amazing tourist places in Cairns Australia.

Windsurfing and sailing are big attractions at Yorkeys. With Rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef nearby, your nature dose is never too far away. To complement that there are so many city bus tours, pick-ups and you can obviously rent your own car out there. When you do get hungry, do not forget to eat at the open air Yorkeys knob boating club which offers bistro meals. While eating there you can take in the exclusive view of the marina and the ocean.

Location: It is located 13 km north of Cairns.

Highlights: It is a very popular kite surfing destination. The south east winds provide brilliant thrust to your sail.

Best time to visit: Come here between April to November for the Kite surfing.

Fitzroy Island

One of the most visited Cairns tourist attractions, Fitzroy Island is home to a massive resort, two grand restaurants, and a National Park. With several unique activities to do, including kayaking and boating. Fitzroy Island is one of the most scenic places to visit, offering beautiful views of the surroundings, along with walking trails to stroll around. 

Barron Falls

 Barron Falls is a steep cascading waterfall on the Barron River that falls from a significant height of 250 meters. Commencing from the Atherton Tablelands, the waterfall flows to the dramatically carved gorge through the Lamb Ranges named the Barron Gorge. Tourists can enjoy the sweeping views of one of these beautiful Cairns tourist attractions from the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway or Barron Falls Lookout.

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

One of the most interesting and unique places to visit in Cairns, the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park offers an insight into the oldest living cultures in the world. Witness the indigenous dance performances along with arts, and taste some locally sourced food. Combining entertainment and education, the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park offers the most authentic experience in Australia. 

Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

Known to be amongst the largest aviaries in the country, the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is one of the most unique Cairns tourist attractions to visit. View more than 1500 butterflies belonging to the tropical region including the Cairns Birdwing Butterfly and the Monarch. Visit the laboratory here, filled with over 4000 caterpillars, when on a guided tour. 

Barron Gorge National Park

Barron Gorge National Park, one of the top attractions for nature enthusiasts in Cairns, stretches from Lake Placid to Atherton Tableland in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Barron Gorge National Park charms everyone with its unspoiled natural beauty as it is surrounded by lush green mountains, flowing waterfalls, and unique fauna.


If you are looking for a getaway from the hassle of the city, then visit Esplanade to indulge in some fun and leisure time. Offering several water activities, including swimming, the Esplanade is a perfect place to experience a pool party. Get to immerse yourself in panoramic views of the Trinity Inlet. Do visit the many attractions here including the Skatepark, Muddy’s Playground, and Healing Garden Playground, among others.

Kuranda Koala Gardens

Among the most unique places to visit in Cairns, the Kuranda Koala Gardens is one of them. Located in the Kuranda rainforest village, this attraction is an ideal place to visit for all wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Home to animals including wallabies, wombats, gliders, crocodiles, and quokkas; you can indulge in the many educational tours offered here. 

Crystal Cascades

Crystal Cascades, one of Cairns' best-kept secrets among tourist attractions, is tucked away among the city's stunning rainforests and attracts visitors with its entrancing waterfalls. The secluded freshwater lake, surrounded by huge granite rocks, is the perfect place to go swimming. You can drive your own vehicle to this serene location where you can witness mountain water rushing through the trees.

Daintree Rainforest

One of the best places to visit in Cairns is the Daintree Rainforest, especially for all adventure seekers. The Daintree Rainforest, which is surrounded by a verdant landscape, allows you to get a closer look at some of the rarest plants and creatures that live here. Experience Ziplining through the forest, which is sure to get your adrenaline rushing. 

The Reef Hotel Casino

One of the top luxury places to visit in Cairns, the Reef Hotel Casino is home to 127 lavish rooms, along with a personal spa bath and a garden view overlooking the city. With several amenities including a rooftop swimming pool, a gym, a casino, a boutique, and several restaurants, the Reef is a must visit. Some other attractions to view here include the unique Wildlife Dome.

Cairns Aquarium

One of the most magnificent aquariums in Cairns, the Cairns Aquarium features species from the Wet Tropics Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef. The magnificent aquarium offers the best shark feedings every day, environment explanations, and animal displays. The Great Barrier Reef and North Queensland's marine ecosystems are represented by the rarest species in 71 displays at the aquarium.

Tinaroo Falls Dam

Situated on the Barron river, the Tinaroo Falls Dam is a great Cairns tourist attractions to visit when looking for a getaway. Some of the most famous activities to indulge in here include sailing, waterskiing, house boating, and swimming. The Tinaroo Falls Dam also offers an opportunity to trek through the pristine rainforests enclosed here. 

Cairns Night Markets

Among the best Cairns tourist attractions, is the Cairns Night Markets, which is an open night market, inspired by the markets in South East Asia and Hawaii. Shop some of the best locally made goods from over 131 stalls, selling textiles, artwork, daily items, handicrafts, and many more items. Do visit the many smaller food joints and the retail spaces offering some delicious, lip-smacking snacks.

Stony Creek Falls

You may get away from the bustle of the city, at Stoney Creek, which is located in the Barron Gorge National Park. This is one of the best sites for nature enthusiasts to visit in Cairns because it is surrounded by rainforests. The Stony Creek Falls is a pristine area to escape the bustling people and cool down from the summer heat by taking a refreshing swim.

Great Barrier Reef

Regarded amongst the most beautiful places to visit in Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the wonders of the natural world. Surrounded by nearly 3000 individual reefs and about 900 islands and coral cays, this is a retreat for snorkelers and certified divers that flock around this place. You can witness the unparalleled variety of marine life at this Great Barrier reef.

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Cairns Things To Do FAQs

What are the best things to do in Cairns?

1. Admire the Great Barrier Reef: Credited for being the world’s largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef is a vision to behold. Extending to almost 350,000 square kilometers, exploring this gorgeous tropical reef is one of the best things to do in Cairns. With a rich ecosystem, you can observe numerous fish species, marine organisms, mollusks, and mesmerizing corals. Moreover, you can opt for scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming or visit the underwater observatory.

Location: Queensland, Australia

2. Hop onto the Kuranda Scenic Railway: 
With an impressive view of The Wet Tropics, one of the oldest rainforests on Earth, the Kuranda Scenic Railway is a must-have experience while visiting Cairns. The wide array of animals and plants that you will see aboard the train will provide unforgettable memories.

Location: Kuranda QLD 4881, Australia
Price: Heritage Class: AUD 76 per adult, AUD 38 per child
Gold Class upgrade: AUD 98 per adult, AUD 98 per child
Timings: Cairns to Kuranda – 8:30 am, 9:30 am
Kuranda to Cairns – 2 pm, 3:30 pm

3. Explore the Cairns Botanic Gardens: 
Opened to the public in 1886, the Cairns Botanic Gardens is one of the most diverse places in Australia. Here, you will find thousands of plant and animal species. Moreover, informative tours and leisurely walks along the trails will offer a mesmerizing glimpse of nature.

Location: 78-96 Collins Ave, Edge Hill QLD 4870, Australia
Timings: Monday to Friday – 8:30 am – 4 pm
Saturday and Sunday – 9:30 am – 2 pm

4. Visit the Barron Gorge National Park: 
One of the best Cairns things to do is to explore the Barron Gorge National Park. It is part of the highly popular Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and offers gorgeous visuals. Apart from dense rainforests, you will also see cascading waterfalls. Moreover, you must view Barron Falls, especially in the wet months, as the vision will leave you mesmerized.

Location: Wrights Lookout Rd, Kuranda QLD 4881, Australia

5. Relax at Palm Cove: 
Known for the numerous palm trees that line the gorgeous beach, the Palm Cove offers a relaxed atmosphere. Here, you can simply sit and rejuvenate while embracing the gentle breezes. You can take a tour of the Cairns Tropical Zoo and enjoy the exciting Hartley's Crocodile Adventures. Moreover, there are numerous cafes, restaurants, and spa resorts that you can visit.

Location: Queensland 4879, Australia

6. Opt for chopper tour over Cairns: 
One of the most exciting things to do in Cairns is to opt for a chopper ride over the district. You can observe the beautiful Great Barrier Reef, the mesmerizing Baron Falls, and the majestic Daintree Rainforest. Seeing them from the bird’s view will offer you memories that you are going to cherish for a lifetime.

Location: Depends on the operator

7. Hike the Daintree Rainforest: 
If you are interested in observing unspoiled natural beauty, then you must opt for visiting the Daintree Rainforest. Moreover, if you are an adventure fanatic, you can experience hiking through the dense green covers. Apart from the gorgeous collection of flora and fauna, you will also be awed by the coasts and waterfall views.

Location: 2333 Cape Tribulation Rd, Cape Tribulation QLD 4873, Australia
Price: AUD 28 per adults, AUD 14 per child, and AUD 68 per family (of four people)
Timings: 8:20 am – 5 pm

8. Swim at Green Island
One of the most enchanting islands that boast of fringing reefs in its sandy beach is the Green Island. With unique flora and fauna in the rainforest, the island has much to offer for different tourists. You can even swim in shallow waters with the resident turtles.

Location: Queensland, Australia

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What are the romantic things to do in Cairns?

1. Opt for a hot balloon ride: One of the most romantic Things to do in Cairns is to arrange a hot balloon ride over the Atherton Tablelands. The beauty of nature as the sun rises will make the moment even more special.

2. Arrange a dinner cruise: Want to surprise your partner with an enhancing dinner cruise? You can choose the cruise that traverses the Trinity Inlet and enjoy the cozy vibe.

3. Explore the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary: What can be more romantic than watching 1500 butterflies dancing all over the sky? You can hold hands, gaze into your partner’s eyes and enjoy the fairy-tale vibe at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary.

4. Ride bikes together along the beach: Bike riding along the serene Four Mile Beach is one of the most unforgettable Cairns activities to do. You can have a cozy adventure and spend some time with your partner.

5. Stroll along the Paronella Park: The wonderful lighting at night will offer you memories of a lifetime as you explore the park hand in hand with your partner.

What are the adventurous things to do in Cairns?

1. Partake in skydiving: Experiencing skydiving is one of the most thrill-inducing Cairns things to do. You can choose between 9,000 to 15,000 feet of diving.

2. Opt for bungy jumping: Want to experience the adventure of a lifetime? You can try bungy jumping from the well-known Bungy tower at the famous Skypark Cairns and have ethereal visions of the Great Barrier Reef.

3. Participate in horseback riding in the ocean: Can you imagine being on horseback riding while navigating the ocean lines? The horse will take you through the mangrove wetlands and the bushland.

4. Take part in whitewater rafting: If you are an adventure lover, then opting for whitewater rafting within the Barron Gorge National Park is one of the most exciting Things to do in Cairns. Here, the waves are Grade two and three and will offer you an immense thrill.

5. Try ziplining: With replication of an actual rainforest, the Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome offer an adventurous zip lining activity. You can soar through the canopy and explore the glass dome.

Book Now: Melbourne To Peninsula Hot Springs

How to reach Cairns?

You can reach Cairns through air, train, boat, and road. The easiest way is to opt for flights as the Cairns Airport is well-equipped to receive both domestic and international flights. You can also opt for the Sunlander that travels from Brisbane to Cairns thrice every week. The Cairns Seaport revives more than 200 domestic and global cruise ships every year. You can also opt for the road journey from Brisbane (1700 km), Melbourne (3100 km), Darwin (2800 km), and Sydney (2700 km).

What is the best time to visit Cairns?

The best time to visit Cairns is during the winter months of June, July and August. At this time, the temperature ranges from 17-26 degrees, and the weather remains pleasant. It is the perfect time to take part in various activities.

What is Cairns known for?

Cairns is known for the diversified flora, fauna, and mesmerizing landscape. It is also close to the Great Barrier Reef, which is one of the largest coral reefs in the world. Moreover, here you will also come across ancient rainforests such as the Wet Tropics.

What to buy from Cairns?

There are numerous things that you can buy from Cairns. For instance, you can shop for ceramics, jewelry, homewares, clothing, handicrafts, bags, food products, etc.

Is Cairns worth visiting?

Yes, Cairns is definitely worth visiting. Here, you can admire the ethereal beauty of nature in a wide array of attraction sites. Apart from that, you can also indulge in different exciting activities such as ocean horseback riding, whitewater rafting, skydiving, etc.

How many days in Cairns is enough?

Three days are enough to visit the main attraction sites at Cairns. You can visit Cape Tribulation, Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, etc. However, if you want to truly explore the beauty of this enchanting city, you will need to extend your trip.

What are the things to do in Cairns in August?

1. Attend the Mareeba Multicultural Festival: One of the most exciting Things to do in Cairns is to visit Arnold Park to enjoy the Mareeba Multicultural Festival. Here, you can admire numerous multicultural performances.

2. Sea Kayak at Fitzroy Island: If you are interested in exploring an off-beat destination, Fitzroy Island is the obvious choice. You can rent a kayak and have an adrenaline-boosting experience.

3. Explore Mossman Gorge: Want to know the best Cairns things to do? Opt for a visit to the enigmatic Mossman Gorge and admire the ethereal views of the rainforest surrounding it.

4. Hop in the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: The best way to admire the ravishing beauty of the Barron Gorge National Parking is to opt for the Rainforest Skyrail. You can observe the stunning visuals of the magnificent rainforest along with the diversified ecosystem.

5. Be awed by the cultural performances at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park: Built with an aim to preserve the traditions and cultures of indigenous culture, the Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park will mesmerize you with the performances.

Also Book: Hot Air Balloon Yarra Valley

What are the things to do in Cairns at night?

1. Visit the night markets: One of the best things to do in Cairns at night is to take a tour of the night markets. Here, you will find a wide assortment of jewelry, clothes, and unique trinkets.

2. Participate in a wildlife spotting tour: You can opt for the night wildlife spotting tour to observe the nocturnal animal species. You can come across tree kangaroos, platypus, etc.

3. Go for a night dive at the Great Barrier Reef: Diving into the Great Barrier Reef in the dark is one of the most exciting activities in Cairns. You will be in awe of the mesmerizing world underwater.

4. Opt for a sunset cruise: Book a sunset cruise and admire the ethereal sunset as you traverse the Trinity Inlet National Marine Park. You can enjoy the delicious food and enjoy the scenic visuals.

5. Bar-hop across the city: Apart from the diverse ecosystem. Cairns is also known for its wild nightlife. You can visit different bars and have a great time dancing and sipping drinks.

Click Here to Book Now: Melbourne River Cruise

What are the free things to do in Cairns?

1. Tour the art galleries: If you have a passion for artistic tastes, visiting the art galleries is an excellent idea. You can check out the spectacular images and learn more about the country.

2. Swim in The Lagoon: Do you want to know the best things to do in Cairns to beat the heat? Visit The Lagoon and dip into the waters for a rejuvenating experience.

3. Relax at the swimming holes: There are numerous swimming holes in the Redlynch Valley. You can visit The Rocks or Gomorrah Park and enjoy swimming amidst nature.

4. Stroll along the Cairns Esplanade: One of the budget-friendly Cairns things to do is to walk along the 5-km Cairns Esplanade. Apart from the splendid view, you will get to admire the diversified birdlife here.

5. Rejuvenate at the beaches: There is no shortage of beaches in Cairns, and you can visit Kewarra Beach or Trinity Beach for a relaxed atmosphere.

What are the things to do in Cairns Australia in February?

1. Experience quad biking: If you are a thrill lover, then trying quad biking is one of the most adventurous things to do in Cairns. You can explore the areas while getting the much-awaited adrenaline boost.

2. Visit the Barron Falls: Watching the waters cascade from an altitude of 12 meters in the wet season is an unforgettable vision. The beauty around the area will leave you awestruck.
Explore the Rainforests: Admiring the unfiltered beauty of the ancient rainforests is truly one of the most popular things to do in Cairns. The sheer diversification in the flora and fauna will impress you.

3. Opt for snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef: The adventure lover within you will rejoice when you decide to partake in snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef. With more than 900 islands and 3000 reefs, the site is simply magnificent.

4. Opt for a day trip to Green Island: This isolated island location at a 45-minutes boat distance from cairns offers an excellent opportunity to have fun. You can snorkel at the shore and then explore the island.

Also Checkout: Things To Do In Melbourne This Weekend

Cairns Things To Do Reviews

Bharadwaj Pandey
Reviewed: 13 Feb 2020
I bought skyrail rainforest cableway ticket from thrillohphilia because i could find cheap prices on the website. The cableway was very good. I could see Red Peak and Barron Falls from the top.
Bhima Khanna
Reviewed: 13 Feb 2020
It was a great experince to fly over Australia's tropical rainforest. the views were beautiful. skyrail rainforest cableway is definitely a must have experience when you're in australia
Ashlesh Khanna
Reviewed: 13 Feb 2020
I got the tickets at a very low price. so I inquired first, the thrillophilia support team was very quick to get in touch and convinced to book the tickets. Very happy with their services
Devasree Naik
Reviewed: 13 Feb 2020
Cairns zoom & wildlife dome is a great place to have a good day with your family. the whole experience was very adventurous
Kamla Gowda
Reviewed: 13 Feb 2020
I bought the Cairns aquarium ticket from thrillophilia after checking prices at many websites. Thrillophilia price was best. I was amazed to see so many species of aquatic animals.
Meena Butt
Reviewed: 12 Feb 2020
Cairns Aquarium ticket is very cheap here. The experience was fantastic as I am an animal lover, I enjoyed a lot. Thanks thrillophilia for giving me this experience at such cheap prices

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