20 Fun Things to Do in Cairns, Australia

Things to do in Cairns
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What to do or things to do in Cairns in recent days? Cairns, the gateway to the great barrier reef in Australia, is one of the most wonderful locations for adventure lovers. The largest coral reef and one of the oldest rainforests are the two biggest tags of this place.

Cairns is a perfect destination for travelers who want an adventure. It offers various activities, from exploring the rainforest to snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns is an adventure hub for Australians and international travelers alike. It’s a perfect destination for those looking for an active holiday, with many outdoor activities available such as hiking, diving, and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.

Cairns has a lot to offer visitors looking for more than just sunbathing on the beach. From exploring the rainforest to snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, plenty of outdoor activities will suit all tastes and ages.

Since many tourist attractions are floating around, everyone must draw an ideal tour plan before arriving here. There are thousands of natural species you can see in Cairns. Underwater traveling will cherish you while discovering nature and wildlife here.

This city of North Queensland’s capital is too long that it seems impossible to explore in just two/three days. We have outlined a to-do list that you should not miss out on.

What to do in Cairns and the Surroundings, Australia?  

Discover Nature & Exceptional Wildlife

The ecosystem is thousand years older and still surviving with bigger wildlife in Cairns. Kangaroos, dingoes, wallabies, wombats, emus, kookaburras, cassowaries, echidnas, platypuses, and an array of reptiles (turtles, lizards, and crocodiles) are a few names of attraction in this extreme wildlife diversity.  

Coral Spawning Beauty 

Coral spawning is an eruption that lasts for twenty minutes to thirty minutes, where the world’s largest orgasm happens.

The entire great barrier reef has sex with coral polyps to release eggs. It takes months growing for external fertilization into the ocean. It is one of the most soothing scenarios where you can experience snorkeling or diving.  

Staying on Everyday Luxury 

Friendly people, charming weather, and 5-star hotels & resorts will make your holiday luxurious. You can’t get such welcoming vibes anywhere else.

On one side, the reef is knocking at your doorstep and the rainforest is calling you from the other side. Snorkeling or diving into the deep sea to experience refreshing views is another luxury moment for travelers. 

Explore & Experience Iconic Landscapes

The finest landscapes await you to give you breathtaking views where the reef meets rainforests. After the sightseeing, you would naturally say, “I do not want to go anywhere else.” But Tropical North Queensland has much more to discover. There are more than 20 amazing waterfalls near Cairns. 

New to Cairns? Something is waiting for you and your partner. It’s time to explore the best things you can with our guidelines.

There are several places to visit in Australia, each with its uniqueness. A great barrier reef in the front and wet tropics rainforest in the backyard would be one of the most exciting destinations ever.

20 Amazing Things to do in Cairns, Australia

It’s time to explore the best things you can with our guidelines. There are several places to visit, and each one has its uniqueness.

The great barrier reef in the front and the wet tropics rainforest in the backyard would be one of the most exciting destinations ever.

You can read also: 20 Fun Things to Do in Gold Coast

1. View the Beauty of Cairns by Chopper

View the Beauty of Cairns by Chopper
View the Sight of Cairns by Chopper

It is fantastic to see the beautiful natural places of Crains from the birds-eye view. Many people love it very much. To your satisfaction, you will get the option to see the sky view of Cairns as there is a chopper that will take you and your family for the ride. It will be possible with Nautilus Aviation.

The journey will take 45 minutes to show you the most amazing places in Cairns. It will start at the Great Barrier Reef and finish at Daintree Rainforest. You may see the rainbow at the reef and the rainforest canopy. The Barron Falls beauty will not be missed too. But you should visit the sand cay, which will be one of the best memory of your whole life.  

2. The Kuranda Scenic Railway

The Kuranda Scenic Railway
The Kuranda Scenic Railway

The Kuranda Scenic Railway was built more than 120 years ago. First, it was a commuter railway. Currently, it is used as a tourist railway. It will be a one-way trip of 2 hours. A railway journey and sightseeing in the beautiful Crains will not be a bad idea. What do you say? Many prefer train journeys more than any other journey.

If you are one of them, you will love this. It is not a problem if you don’t like train journeys. But if you once journey by train in Cairns, there will be some unforgettable memories in your life. The picturesque views will blow your mind, sure. Among the sceneries, you can see the World Heritage-listed forest. 

3. The Village Palm Cove

The Village Palm Cove
The Village Palm Cove

You should see once the beauty of the seaside village of Palm Cove. It is the best beach in Cairns. There are lined palm trees in the Esplanade. That is why the name of the charming village is Palm Cove. You can see here the sunset, white sand and sea surf.

In addition, there is also seen snorkeling, kayaking, and scuba. You will get a 9-hole golf course if you like to play golf. It is just a distance of 1kilometer from the beach. So you can enjoy nature, see people doing fun and playing golfs in the same place. 

4. Spend Active Time On The Esplanade

Spend Active Time On The Esplanade
Spend Active Time On The Esplanade

There are unique outside places for the morning joggers, except for the hotel gymnasium. Come out from the four walls of your hotel. Walking or running outdoors, you will not need any sports watch as there is marked after every 500m.

It will help you to understand how much area you have run or walked. Besides, you may contact the fitness guide of Cairns.

5. Playgrounds For Your Kids

Playgrounds For Your Kids
Playgrounds For Your Kids

The adults will have all the fun, and the kids will have no options. It will not happen in Cairns. If you have kids with you and come to visit Cairns, your kids will get a chance to see and enjoy the playgrounds of this city. The playgrounds have attractive designs for the kids to enjoy. The Muddy’s Playground has the shade of Fig Trees.

It is also in Cairns Esplanade. Again, there is the flying fox, rope bridge, and slides. As your kids play there, you can sit and have a coffee at the cafes like Muddy’s Café. So none of your kids and you will get bored here. 

6. Ride On The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Ride On The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Ride On The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Isn’t it a great experience to enjoy the beauty of the rainforest riding on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway? Yes, you will get this exciting opportunity in the verdant rainforest of the Barron Gorge National Park.

Another excellent piece of information about this place is its UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. When you ride on the Skyrail, you will see the complete view of the rainforest luxuriously. You are above the place, and it is under your feet. What an excellent thing to feel!

7. Closely Observe The Undara Lava Tubes

Closely Observe The Undara Lava Tubes
Closely Observe The Undara Lava Tubes

Although you are thinking about your safety after hearing this, we suggest you visit lava. Trust me; it is safe. You can see the extinct volcano at the Undara Volcanic National Park. Your tour guide will accompany you on this lava-seeing part.

The Undara Lava Tubes will make you speechless with their beauty. Only 23 Countries of the world have lava tubes. The longest one is the Undara. Besides seeing the lava tubes, you can also stay at the village tent or a pioneer hut. You will also get a chance to see the wildlife and sunset here.  

8. Explore Seafood Varieties

Explore Seafood Varieties 1

Explore Seafood Varieties

If you are a seafood lover, look for the best nearby seafood restaurants in Cairns. There will be multiple suggestions appearing in front of you. Choose one of them and have a seafood feast with your friends and family. You can head towards the marina to a Prawn Star, where you can make your dinner with a grand vision of fresh seafood and chilled beers.

The place has beautiful decorations with festoon lights. It will add a festive atmosphere when you will dine here. You have come to Crains and will return without tasting the seafood varieties here; it is almost impossible. Take the test of fresh seafood here and make the local foods proud to serve you.  

9. Visit The Outer Great Barrier Reef | One-Day Trip

Visit The Outer Great Barrier Reef
Visit The Outer Great Barrier Reef

Have you stepped into Cairns for the first time? Your priority should be the Great barrier reef, a top-listed UNESCO world heritage sitting on your doorstep. The largest coral reef is situated here too. The beauty of the coral can make you astonished. Whether you want o swim, go for a scuba dive, or snorkel, it is the perfect place for you. 

If you are not in the mood to swim, you can still enjoy the reef by staying dry. There is a semi-sub and underwater observatory for you. Again, meet sharks in the dark, get a bird’s view from the sky, or witness the giant orgy in the world through coral spawning. Another day begins to dive, eat, sleep, and repeat the cycle. What more can you desire for a thrilling adventure? 

10. Hunt The Waterfalls Of The Atherton Tablelands

Hunt The Waterfalls Of The Atherton Tablelands 1
Hunt The Waterfalls Of The Atherton Tablelands

Are you a waterfall enthusiast? Oh gosh, why not since you have come here? If you have not visited Atherton tablelands, you have been missing one of the best waterfalls in the world. Make your day full of adventure with this breathtaking place. It is a highland region. The altitude of this area is typically higher than the Cairns. 

As a result, this area has a higher temperature than Cairns. 

Again, the humidity is less here too. During the summer days, it is a comfortable place to visit. But the wintertime is almost the same as in Cairns. The tourists do not visit this place much. So, you alone can enjoy the beauty of the area. Besides, you can calm your mind here too. Atherton Tablelands is a picturesque area. Some remarkable places of Tableland are:

  • Hou Wang Miau Chinese Temple
  • The Gallo Dairyland dairy farm
  • The Coffee Works boutique roastery
  • The Lake Barrine tea house,
  • The fascinating Tyrconnell Historic Goldmine.

11. Go Underwater Through Cairns Aquarium

Go Underwater Through Cairns Aquarium
Go Underwater Through Cairns Aquarium

Want to see 16000 species with ten different ecosystems and 71 exhibits? See all these without even getting wet. Wondering how? Here is the only aquarium in the world that allows you to experience such views from underwater. In addition, there is one aquarium, where you will see various wildlife from two Heritage-listed areas. After seeing the aquarium, you could feel being with the animals in it. It is very much possible. 

You can enter the aquarium, and there will not need any experience for that. So, the new swimmers can complete their adventure with the animals too. Besides, it will take so much time to see the different types of ecosystems. So, keep a long schedule if you want to enjoy all of them. There is also a turtle hospital nearby. You can go and look at it. 

12. Explore The City From New Heights

Explore The City From New Heights
Explore The City From New Heights

Cairns offers its visitors a wonderful afternoon city tour in an air-conditioned bus to see the highlights. Sightseeing the city adds more pleasure to your travel experience. It will be best if you don’t have enough time to see the city. Again, you may have kids with you. For your comfortable sightseeing planning, you can go for it. 

You can see the city from peak heights and admire the beauty from your heart by visiting Cairns zoom and wildlife dome. Surprisingly, it is situated on the rooftop of The Reef Hotel Casino. There is a combined rope with the wildlife park. So, you can have fun hanging in the rope and enjoy the sky view of the place. This place is situated right at the heart of Cairns. Here are the half-day and full-day visiting facilities for you. 

13. Botanic Gardens Visit

Botanic Gardens Visit 1
Botanic Gardens Visit

Rare plants and green lovers will love to visit the Botanical Garden of Cairns. It is within 5 minutes distance from Cairns CBD. You will experience some of the oldest and rare views in tropical botanic gardens, Cairns. It was established in 1886; the flowering tree can grow up to 70 kg, and leaves can become 7 meters long. You can explore many more rare things in the gardens during the sightseeing. 

The botanical garden is the best place to see tropical plants. All of them have varieties and almost no similarities with winter-based areas. In addition, you will see many native animals like birds on the grounds. You will also get a chance to learn a lot about them. The 38-hectare area of this botanical garden will not disappoint you at all. 

14. Swim In The Rainforest 

Swim In The Rainforest
Swim In The Rainforest 

If you want a picturesque view of a rainforest, Daintree Rainforest will be the best match for you. There is plenty of flora and fauna and a beautiful natural view. A more significant amount of butterfly and bat species of Australia are the inhabitants of this area. So, you can bring your kids here too. They will feel very joyous seeing so colorful butterflies in one place. 

Cairns is the perfect place for those who prefer to swim in the waterfalls. You don’t have to confine into one waterfall as there are 20! Yes, you heard it right. Some of them are Crystal Cascades or Fairy Falls, Stoney Creek, etc.

You only have to waste 25 minutes to reach them from Cairns CBD. You cannot stop yourself from falling in love with these different waterfalls. Just take a short drive and bless yourself with such gifts of God. The tropical weather will give you a very comfortable feeling. So, it is a perfect place for swimmers. 

15. Discover Rusty’s Markets

Discover Rustys Markets
Discover Rusty Markets

You may want to see the local market and dairies in Crain’s. Yes, you will get them in Cairns too. Visiting the shops and the famous Rusty’s market will give you pleasure in Cairns dairy. Collect fresh local produce and feed your stomach and soul from Rusty’s market. You can also move around nearby shops to see different items during a random walk. 

If you miss the flavor of city life, this local market tour will give you the feel of your urban life again. Maybe you are worried about the timing. But don’t worry. The market is not closed for a single day. Different types of shops open at 5 pm and close at 11 pm. For the food courts, the time is from 10 am to 11 pm. 

16. Adventure To Green Island

Adventure To Green Island
Adventure To Green Island

What to do in Cairns? You don’t need to think too much when there is Green Island here. Among many tourist attractions, Green Island is one particular place. The reason behind it is the coral cay of 27km offshore in Cairns. Green Island is 650 meters long and 300 meters wide. Tropical Green Island, a part of the great barrier reef, gives the tourists a paradise feel in Cairns. Snorkel into this stunning coral cay for a one-day trip and explore many things.  

The combined beauty of the Verdant rainforest and the white sand of pristine beaches. If you want to soothe your mind, you can come here to see the relaxing crystal blue waters. It will give you the pleasure of mind. You will get here the true beauty of Australian beach.

Again, you can stay here at night in the Green Island Resort. This resort is popular as it is the best eco-sensitive resort globally. Many cruises will help you tackle a tour of the island. If you don’t want to miss the island’s beauty, you may take a tour here with your entire family.  

17. Road Trip To Port Douglas

Road Trip To Port Douglas
Road Trip To Port Douglas

The seaside town Port Douglas is situated on the north side of Cairns. This town’s weather is cozy and will not let you face any weather problems. Take a 1-hour drive from the city and feel the most captivating journey in Australia. You can bless your eyes by seeing ancient rainforests from one side and unique white sand from another side of the window. 

However, the restaurants and boutique shops are expensive here. But they have excellent services and exclusive products that will surely catch your eye. You can visit the Daintree Rainforest in a short time than in Cairns. The other areas, like Four Mile Beach and Flagstaff Hills, are closer to Port Douglas Lighthouse. 

18. Don’t Miss Out On The Aboriginal Culture 

The Aboriginal Culture
The Aboriginal Culture

If you are in Cairns, you should have some ideas about the aboriginal cultures of this city. The Kuranda Rainforestation will give you this chance easily. Here you will see the traditional culture of the Pamagirri Aboriginals. They will show the 40,000 years old native customs. The remedies with bush, skill tests in boomerang or spear throwing, and the ancient rituals will surely attract your attention. 

You can also dine at Daintree and get a chance to discover the very old rock art galleries. Again, you can visit another award-winning aboriginal cultural park named Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park in Cairns. The natives of the land operate the parks entirely. The actors there will let you know about their traditions and norms. In addition, you will get the option to participate in the fireside corroboree and ride a canoe. 

19. See An Art Exhibition And Museum 

Art Exhibition And Museum
Art Exhibition And Museum

For art and history lovers, Cairns has got something too. There are some art galleries where the art of a few artists is exhibited. You can go to the Court House Gallery or Cairns Art Gallery. Both of them are very close. So you don’t have to waste extra time visiting two different art galleries. Moreover, there is an Indigenous art gallery named Bulmba-Ja. The gallery explicitly shows the stories of Aboriginals and the people of Torres Strait Island.

Now come to the museum you are waiting to know about. You must visit the Cairns Museum to Lake St in Cairns’ CBD. In this museum, you will get the comprehensive history of Tropical North Queensland. From the beginning til the end of the area is seen in this museum. There is not only the rainforest or reef, but also you will find here the toad plagues, the result and outcome of the hippie movement of 1970 too. 

20. Enjoying A Drink In Bars Or Clubs

Drink Bars and Clubs

While sightseeing and enjoying a drink, you will need a drink to quench your thirst. Don’t worry, pal; there are bars and clubs in Cairns too. You can take a little rest during your tour. There are many bars in the city; you can go to anyone you like. You will get the rooftop bars and tiki houses in one line. One of the best bars is Hemingway’s Brewery. Three Wolves is also a good bar for its tourists. 

Now come about the nightclubs. Every year many young tourists come to Cairns. There are established some thinking about the popularity of nightclubs. The clubs are near essential venues. So you will not need to waste much time finding them. The “Liquid” is the top-ranked nightclub you will have in Cairns. The decoration and the spirited tourists from many corners of the world will be seen here.

Things to do in Cairns in Summer

From December to February, Cairns has a wet season with increasing rainfall.

  • Get a city sightseeing tour
  • Fly over the great barrier reef and sparkling beaches on a helicopter tour
  • Explore the wet tropics rainforests
  • Visit the Atherton Tablelands
  • Chase underwater visit without getting wet through Cairns aquarium.  

Things to do in Cairns in Winter

The typical weather and low humidity stay from June to August with little rainfall. 

  • Take advantage of the late sunrise for a hot air balloon ride over tropical northern Queensland.
  • Discover marine life with a snorkeling cruise into a great barrier reef.
  • Relax on the beaches and feel the temperature in winter.
  • Get a low-humidity rainforest walk with a guide
  • Visit Birdworld and Kuranda Koala Gardens to meet unique wildlife

Things to do in Cairns with Kids

  • Go for a full-day boat cruise to the great barrier reef, or adore the helicopter views.
  • Visit Cairns museum or aquarium with kids for safe enjoyment. 
  • Spot Australia’s animals like kangaroos, crocodiles, and cassowaries 
  • Visit Birdworld and the Butterfly Sanctuary.

Romantic Cairns Sightseeing in the Tropical North

Planning a romantic proposal, couple getaway, or spending quality time with loved ones, the tropical north Queensland provides the most outstanding ideas to its visitors. 

  • Book a private tour 
  • Call for VIP dinner arrangements
  • Spend the night at the sea site
  • Enjoy the sunrise from the sky

Get a Fascinating Helicopter Tour

A helicopter tour is one of the best packages to have romantic sightseeing in Cairns. Visit the most exclusive locations on full-day or half-day helicopter packages, including BBQ meals.


How many days are enough for a Cairns trip? 

Some appear for a 2-day trip or some come for 5 days. Honestly, a lifetime is not even enough to explore and experience all the natural beauties of Cairns. The Great Barrier Reef is the main attraction for why maximum tourists come over here.

However, traveling for a lifetime is not an easy thing to do for everyone. If you are looking for a 3 or 5 days holiday trip in Cairns, we have already mentioned the must-do activities for a pacific tour.    

Is Cairns worth going to?

Cairns is one of the underrated tourist attractions due to becoming the unofficial hub of Tropical North Queensland. Travelers love it since the wet tropics rainforests and the world’s largest orgy of coral reefs amaze them.

The underwater experience is unforgettable at this place. Therefore, it is clear that Cairns is extremely worth visiting. 

What month is best to visit Cairns?

April/May or September/October is the best for a budget-friendly tour in Cairns. The wet season (November to March) is also a good visiting time.

Final Words 

Cairns is for all adventure lovers. Many travelers regret not staying in Cairns for a few more days. No matter how many days you stay here, your heart won’t let you leave willingly. However, we all have to work for a living, making us leave the beautiful natural wonders in the world.

Those who seek adventures in their life will come again and again to explore the coral reef and rainforests. Every adventure seeker will love to live the soothing moment in Cairns repeatedly. It is just a time to visit again within a few months or years.        

Hi, I'm Md Abid Hasan. The owner & content editor of Travellye.com. Travellye.com is a travel blog that covers road trips, day trips, and destinations guide.

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