The city of Cairns in Queensland is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia. The tropical setting and the abundance of accommodations, shops, and other attractions offer a wide range of activities for visiting families.
One of the reasons why Cairns (pronounced as "cans") is a popular tourist destination because it is very proud to have two amazing World Heritage listed sites. The Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s Tropical Rainforest are found in Cairns, thus, making it one of the most beautiful locations in all of Australia.
Not only that, Cairns also has a wonderful and interesting history and cultural charm that never fails to entice the visiting tourists, both local and international.
To start knowing what Cairns has to offer, here are a few of the many things you can see and do there.
Great Barrier Reef
Who would want to miss visiting this tropical paradise? The Great Barrier Reef can be easily accessed from Cairns through boat trips and tours available at the coast.
While visitors enjoy the wonderful sight of the outer reef, tourists can enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, submarine ride, among other exciting activities. If you think that the Great Barrier Reef can only be explored while on water, there are also aircraft and helicopters available to provide tourists with the bird’s eye view of the majestic scenery.
The Great Barrier Reef is home to more than 100 islands and supports 7000 animal and plants species. As a matter of fact, the reef is home ot some of the most endangered species such as the humpback whales and green longhead turtles. So if you are looking for the best way to spend your day in Cairns, visit the Great Barrier Reef first.
Kuranda is a very popular market town situated in the mountain range with its population of 750. It is also referred to as "The Village in the Rainforest". Kuranda has plenty of attractions and has become a very popular choice of destination for day trips.
Some of the main attractions of the town includes a spectacular aviary, butterfly sanctuary, koala park, riverboat cruises, the famous Kuranda train station, and its popular market community. At the main centre of the town are restaurants, wildlife parks, and shops that sell local and authentic aboriginal artifacts such as handmade arts and crafts, boomerangs, didgeridoos, opals, and souvenir t-shirts. Such a small wonderful town with a lot of things to offer.
Kuranda Scenic Railway
If you want to get an extraordinary railway experience, then try out the Kuranda Scenic Railway. The railway is operated by Queensland Rail from Cairns station to Kuranda though the grand Baron Gorge. The one hour and forty-five minutes travel over the mountain ranges to the rainforest village of Kuranda is a one of a kind experience you wouldn’t want to miss out.
The journey includes crossing ravines, passing by waterfalls, going through tropical rainforest, and crossing rivers. The highlight of the railway journey is climbing over 300 meters trhoguh rainforest, pass trhough 15 dark tunnels, 98 curves and 40 narrow bridges. The 100 year old Kuranda Scenic Railway, which was built way back in the 1880’s still continues to give its riders the thrills.
Jose Paronella had a dream to build a magical place where a secret garden and a castle exist. In 1929, Jose Paronella built this enchating place known as Paronella Park. Near Mena Creek, a castle stands surrounded by bamboo gardens, forest walks, a secret garden, and a tunnel of love.
An evening tour at Paronella Park gives visitors a more magical feel of the place. Guided walks are organized for visitors as well as cultural performances. Due to its magical and historical value, the Paronella Park was recognized as one of Australia’s natural treasure and in 1997 was listed by the National Trust.
If you want to have an authentic outback experience, heading to Atherton Tablelands is one of the best ways to do it.
Atherton Tablelands is a horticultural and agricultural district in the town of Atherton. A lot of tour operators offer guided and informative tours to visitors who want to visit the area. The place is a combination of wonderful attractions of the wet tropics and the charm of the dry outback.
Some of the wonderful things a guided tour can provide are informative sightseeing experience, wine tasting, food tasting including gourmet cheese and products, ice cream, tea, magoes, lychees, game meats, macadamia nuts, and a lot more. While sightseeing, you will find crater lakes, wineries, Curtain Fig Tree, and Lake Tinaroo where you can view platypus, go fishing, and view majestic waterfalls.
Daintree River and Rainforest
Daintree River and Rainforest is a Worl Heritage listed site within a 1,200 square kilometer area. Not only that this is one of the oldest surviving tropical rainforests but it is also home to the highest number of endangered animals and plant species.
This is also one of the best locations in the country if you want to see some real crocs. Other than that, over 20 percent of the countries bird species found this rainforest their home. This is one of the most protected sites as within millions of years this has been home to various species of marsupials, butterflies, and birds, that have survived countless disasters and climate changes.
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and Tjapukai
Aboriginal Cultural Park
Still another most sought after attractions from Kuranda is the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. It is a 7.5 kilometer gondola ride that will take you on a thrilling and exciting ride over the canopy of Australia’s world Heritage listed rainforest. This is one great and unique way for an adventure to experience the rainforest first-hand.
Next to the Skyrail Terminal is Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. This is where you can find the best of Australian Indigenous Aboriginal culture and history. This is also the best way to experience the culture of the Aborigines, meet and greet some of them, join their dancing, participate in their storytelling, and watch some performances.