Things to do in Cairns
There really are an incredible number of other reasons to take the trip North during winter. Green Island Nats is all about fun, and having one of the best winter sailing locations in the world at one of the funnest destinations in Australia is about as good as it gets.
You’ve come a long way, don’t go home without sampling some of the action and highlights! Home to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns and Far North Queensland is one of Australia’s most exciting places to visit with a wide variety of tours, activities, and attractions.
The best piece of advice to truly experience our tropical paradise is.. plan ahead and stay a little longer! There is so much to see and do, you won’t want to miss out on anything.
To help you find what’s of the most interest to you, take a little time to cruise some of the masses of online information. Some great general links to get you started – plus the insiders action “must do’s” for those with more hi action in mind. You can choose from a huge selection of tours, day trips and activities and book directly with one of the many tour booking specialists.
Lots of Touristy and family things to do around Cairns.
(PS : scroll down if you want the real action must-do’s…)
For families, there are few funner places to escape winter than Cairn’s famous Esplanade boardwalk, enormous Lagoon swimming pool and kids waterpark beachfront at Muddy’s Playground. The simple pleasures become daily routine and the kids just don’t want to play anywhere else! Directly located beachside, this is the heart of Cairns and best of all, it’s all for free. Even if you don’t plan on spending your afternoon waterfighting with the kids, check out the Esplanade for an insight into how good Cairns revitalised waterfront scene really is. This place really is da bomb! www.cairnsesplanade.com.au
Need some extra leverage to get up North ? Probably the last thing you would go to Cairns for is shopping, but if your lady needs a holiday in the sun and some retail therapy when she gets there to distract her from the fact you’ve abandoned her to go play on the reef ? Cairns Central offers a great range of suburban style mall shopping in classical tropical surroundings with some neat boutiques, even a classy Myer store. All in easy strolling distance from everything important in town. www.cairnscentral.com.au
There are tours and activities for all destinations and of course the highlights of our region, the World Heritage Daintree Rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, the Outback and (of course, ummm) the beaches and islands.
These days you don’t need us to tell you what a good source of activities information the internet can be… But in case you’re short on starting inspiration, here’s
Our “A-list” of the best or more exciting based things to do around Cairns. Not all family safe. And Covid safe may vary…
Carve it up ! Everyone knows their skatepark is bigger or better. Well, bury the bragging rites, boys. Cairns boasts the largest skatepark in Australia; a seriously modern, hi tech and public affair right on the beachfront and just a few hundred metres from the centre of town. Conveniently located directly over the road from the Emergency rooms at Cairns Base Hospital. If you shred, you will never forgive yourself if you miss some bowltime here. Good local scene and always some visiting stars. Be warned. The place goes off most evenings under lights. www.skateparkhunter.com/australia/cairns-skatepark
Bungee ! Winner of the 2011 and 2012 Best Activity in Queensland award might be a bit contentious but it’s a legitimate claim for AJ Hackett’s spectacular hillside Rainforest Bungee located (in a rainforest, strangely) a few minutes drive up the road in Smithfield on Cairns outskirts. Whether you take the drop or not, the incredible climb and view from the top of the jungle tower platform (free access) is sure worth the climb. http://cairns.ajhackett.com
Take a dive ! Bungee might not be everyone’s dive, but sure as hell if you’ve come all this way to play on the reef, you better stick your head underwater someplace and see what’s destroyed your fin. Dive Green Island – or take any of the endless selection of boat trips outta Cairns. Huge range and variety, all options and budgets catered for. As an exclusive offer for Green Island Nats competitors, we’ve got some great deals if you’d like to take the plunge. Get a 20% discount for yourself and travelling companion for intro or certified diving with Great Adventures www.greatadventures.com.au at either Green Island or the Outer Reef, or with dive and snorkel adventure boat, Silverswift. Offer valid for direct bookings only, free call 1800 079 080 or visit the websites and let them know you’re a Green Island Nats’ competitor. www.silverseries.com.au
Get wired ! Back above the water, Cairns is home to one of only 5 Cableski parks in Australia ( something the Severne WA crew know very well)! Waterskiing, wakeboarding and kneeboarding are all on offer at this first class facility, together with the equipment you’ll need to rip as required. BBQ area, sunlounge. BYO boardies. Located beside the Skyrail terminal in Smithfield just a few minutes drive North of Cairns and it’s literally on the way to just about every other action activity! www.cableskicairns.com.au
Smoke your rubber ! Forget the toy track conveniently close on the edge of town, the real action is an interesting 1 hr drive inland in the middle of nowhere beyond Mareeba at the 6 star rated MakoTrac International Racetrack. While most won’t get to run the full GP track (check it !), the hire karts and track are fast and fun, and the circuit is run in a very enthusiastic manner not so readily seen in some other nanny States. Minigolf in the hire package if you need a break from the g forces. Have been known to license kids as young as 4y/o for Group 1 karts, but only in careful tuition! No open shoes or thongs and no kidding ! www.makotrac.com
Get totally high ! If Hackett’s bungee was a bit fast for you to check the local wildlife, the World famous Kuranda SkyRail might seem a bit lame speedwise but certainly makes up in height & distance what it lacks in outright velocity. Soar silently over the canopy of a wilderness rainforest and the mighty Barron River gorge en route to lunch at laidback Kuranda. Mix and match the experience with a roller coaster scenic ride on the Kuranda railway (up one way, back the other. No drive versions all available ex Cairns station for the train and convenient coach transfer for Skyrail) www.skyrail.com.au
Yield to Port & do the Daintree ! Skip the boat and take the spectacular winding coastal road an hour or so northwards to find ritzy Port Douglas, home of the trendy Macrossan St set and the renowned Daintree Rainforest region. Great coastal drive for much of the 68km. Not quite Hana Hwy but some neat curves. Tourist traffic and lo-grip rental car tires usually limit the fun. Sit back and enjoy the view, take a side trip via Palm Cove (checkout Rockford Esplanade if you want to see how good it gets.) Port Douglas’s 4 Mile beach extends along the South East on the way into town and is one of the better local kite and water access points along the mainland in the area. Daintree’s a bit further up the road but well worth it if you find the time. www.visitportdouglasdaintree.com.au
Go ahead, Make your day! With a little careful planning, a selection of many of these great bucket list activities can be enjoyed in a single day. 2 days, you could hit them all. Doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be left wanting for more. Or next time. Sure, you might have to rush it a bit, but better than missing out! Car rentals are readily available at quite good daily rates and all the majors have rental shops right in the heart of Cairns.
Should we be unlucky enough to have a lightwind day during the Nats, the only problem is going to be deciding what NOT to do.