Things to do in Cairns
Australia is a huge country. There are almost unlimited attractions and activities for the visitor. But for those looking for fun and adventure there is nowhere better to be. Backpackers have many decisions when planning their travels around the continent. Beach, mountain, wineries, desert, rainforest? Regardless of your interests, Queensland is an absolute must on your trip down under.
Welcome to Cairns
As the gateway to both the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest, Cairns is your one stop shop for Tropical North Queensland attractions. With daily flights to and from all major Australian cities and multiple international destinations, as well as long distance buses, starting your adventure is straightforward.
Once you arrive you will need somewhere to stay in Cairns. Cairns hostels are some of the best in the country, with full service travel assistance, tours, excellent facilities including an on-site gym, and plenty of friendly faces to make your stay memorable. Gilligan’s has all of that and more. With incredible entertainment as well, those looking for Cairns nightlife don’t even need to leave property to experience the best of the city! Spend your nights enjoying live music, DJs, the lounge bar, nightclub, and check out the Wet Club at the pools for some fun in the sun.
Of course you want to venture out to explore the Australia of lore, of crocodiles, jungle, World Heritage diving and snorkelling sites, and of course adrenaline-pumping feats of daring. Well, you are in the right place.
Let’s start with Experience Co. Just the name sounds exciting. Start your day with champagne in a hot air balloon, go white water rafting, canyoning or skydiving, take a helicopter flight over both reef and rainforest, explore the Daintree rainforest, or head out to the Great Barrier Reef. This website features multiple local companies doing what they do best, and is an excellent starting point for all-inclusive tours of the area. Multiple discounts are available.
See the Reef
Many travellers come to Cairns to learn to dive in one of the most famous sites in the world, the Great Barrier Reef. You will want to call Down Under Dive for all of your diving needs. Offering PADI certification courses from beginner to advanced as well as adventure diver, they also have snorkelling options for those who want to bring non-divers on the boat. Speaking of boats, the Evolution is a modern, high-speed reef touring boat. It’s a three level catamaran with space and comfort for all. It’s excellent value packages will have you enjoying up to three dives daily at the company’s exclusive outer reef locations. Includes BBQ lunch, live music, afternoon wine and cheese hour and all equipment.
Another high-performance catamaran option for your water explorations is Passions of Paradise. With rave reviews from previous travellers, they offer diving and snorkelling to multiple sites on the full day tour and also welcome non-swimmers.
Lots of options
Want more options? Check out Tusa Dive, another long-standing local company (over 30 years in business) with excellent ratings. Day trips, whole boat charters, and 3 to 7 day liveaboard experiences are some of the highlights offered. The liveaboard trips are ideal for those wanting to spend more time on the reef. You can bring your own equipment or rent anything you need for your trip. They choose the best dive sites based on the day’s weather. Note that they do not always go to the outer reef.
Looking for something a little more remote and focused on divers? Try Poseidon Dive and Snorkel operating out of Port Douglas. They uniquely offer only snorkelling and certified diving, which is great for more experienced divers looking to escape the chaos of first-time divers. This gives more dive time to certified divers as well as three full dives in a day in a more remote location.
Try Some Adventure
After you’re done with underwater exploration, it’s time to head above ground for some more heart-racing activities. First stop: AJ Hackett. The name in adrenaline activities, AJ’s claim to fame began with an illegal bungy jump off the Eiffel Tower in 1987. Since then, his company has grown to the largest commercial Bungy operator in the world. The only bungy in Australia is located 15 minutes from Cairns. But why stop there? Book an adventure package. Among the options are skydiving, unlimited bungy jumps, jungle swing, the world’s only BMX bungy, ATV tours and more.
Put wildlife on your list
The locally owned CaPTA group (Cairns and Port Trips and Attractions) offers great local attraction packages. Options include the ZOOM and Wildlife Dome, a ropes course in the wildlife park. Zipline over a crocodile, do a Dome Climb, try slack-lining or see some local wildlife. This company offers many options for animal lovers. Visit the Butterfly Sanctuary, the Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas, go on a jungle trek, or visit the RainForeStation Nature Park in Kuranda to learn all about Aboriginal culture, feed a kangaroo or wallaby, cuddle a koala and visit the only Tasmanian Devil in this part of the country.
Something for everyone…
Maybe you’re a horse lover, well never fear. Simply call Blazing Saddles Adventures. The ranch is located just north of the city and hand selects horses based on each rider’s experience level. These half day tours included pick up and drop off at your accommodation as well as an hour and a half horse ride through bushland and rainforest. Enjoy the time in nature and the knowledge of your local guide. Want to make a day of it? Add on ATV riding. ATV tours include safety training and an intro lesson before being let loose on the trails!
If you still need another adventure and want to explore the rainforest in more detail, check out Uncle Brian’s. Swim through crystal clear waterfalls, explore the Atherton Tablelands or Cape Tribulation, and have a chance to spot crocodiles and other animals in their element. Cliff jumping, rope swings, kayaking, boat tours, and learning all about the rainforest are highlights of these highly rated tours. Fun filled and action-packed tours for the young or young at heart!
After all of this fun in the sun, you will be thrilled to relax back at Gilligan’s. Or maybe keep the party going at the nightclub? Whatever you decide you are in the perfect place to make this the trip of a lifetime.
Visit Gilligan’s on Facebook for Upcoming Events.