13 things to do in Cairns for the holiday of a lifetime

The best activities to get stuck into on your upcoming Cairns and Tropical North Queensland holiday.

Now that you’ve got your flights and accommodation sorted, it’s time to book in some activities to keep you busy.

We've picked our favourites to share with you, as well as where to book them so you’ll get the best experience at the best price.


Top things to do

ThingstodoinCairnsBeaches

Beaches

Cairns and Tropical North Queensland are home to some of the most picturesque and beautiful beaches across Australia, making for an idyllic getaway destination.

Popular beaches in the area include Palm Cove, Ellis Beach, Clifton Beach and Machans Beach. Surfers and beachgoers from across the globe visit these beaches for the great surf and incredible weather.

For those less experienced there is a huge range of fun day tours for a more calming look at the beaches.


ThingstodoinCairnsGreatBarrier

Great Barrier Reef

Cairns and Tropical North Queensland are fortunate enough to be in close proximity to one of the world’s greatest natural wonders: the Great Barrier Reef.

The spectacular blue water and incredible marine life making snorkelling and diving one of the area's main draws.

With an almost endless selection of Great Barrier Reef tours to choose from, including ones like the Kayak Turtle Tour, there is bound to be one perfect for your holiday.


ThingstodoinCairnsNationalParks

Explore the nearby rainforests and parks

Teeming with wildlife and enchanting natural landscapes, Tropical North Queensland is home to a handful of rainforests and national parks.

The Atherton Tablelands, a world-heritage site, and the Daintree Rainforest are home to some of the most beautiful and picturesque natural landscapes and waterfalls in the world. Riding the iconic Kuranda Skyrail or train is an excellent way to see the area.

You can also explore the parks on your own as each park offers a variety of walks catered to various fitness levels and includes captivating viewpoints for those holiday snaps.


Learn about the local culture

Having lived on the lands in the Cairns and Tropical North Queensland area for about 40,000 years, no one knows the area better than the local indigenous population.

Take a day away from the beaches and reef and consider joining a local arts class, go on a coastal walk with locals or take a dip in the picturesque Mossman Gorge.

Visit Kuranda's village and rainforest

Arrive by train, cablecar or by road to this village tucked into the hills just 25km from Cairns' CBD. Surrounded by world heritage-listed rainforest, Kuranda's a relaxed town with a vibrant arts scene and offers natural attractions like the the nearby Barron Falls.

Other local attractions include the Kuranda Koala Gardens, a butterfly sanctuary, colourful markets and riverboat cruises through the rainforest.

ThingstodoinCairnsExplorePortDouglas

Get up close and personal with local wildlife

It's not too far from the pristine beaches and clear waters that you'll find damp rainforests teaming with wildlife. This area's home to plenty, including tropical birds and crocodiles.

Harley's Crocodile Adventures are one of the post popular ways to spot wild crocs in the area and even offer feeding cruises where you can watch the beasts put their giant jaws to use.


ThingstodoinCairnsWaterSports

Water sports

If you’re looking for some adventure on your trip to Cairns and Tropical North Queensland, try one of the many water sport activities.

With everything from white water rafting to sea kayaking, Cairns and Tropical North Queensland have an endless number of options.

Whether you’re after fun and adventure or prefer to kick back and relax, there is an activity out there for you.


ThingstodoinCairnsIslandHopping

Island hopping

Cairns and Tropical North Queensland boast a great location with some of Australia’s most beautiful and famous islands just a stone’s throw away.

With a huge selection of day tours to places like Magnetic Island near Townsville, Dunk Island near Mission Beachand Green Island near Cairns, you can experience the absolute very best that the Australian landscape has to offer.


5 things to do in Cairns for free

On a tight budget or looking for a few things to do between tours? Check out these ideas for three things to do while you're in Cairns.

  • Splash around in the 4,800-square-metre Cairns Lagoon at the Esplanade for worry-free swimming year round
  • Play at one of the Esplanade's playgrounds, there's three: Muddy's, Fun Ship and Healing Garden
  • Head to one of the northern beaches like Trinity Beach or Palm Beach
  • Window shop at the Cairns Night Markets
  • See some of the local plants without venturing to the rainforest and wander around the Cairns Botanic Gardens

Cairns and Tropical North Queensland deals

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Christmas sale: Up to 50% off experiences

Available for travel on select dates. Destinations include New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria, Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Topdeck Topdeck

Up to 30% off last-minute tours

Valid for travel on select dates. Destinations include Europe, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and North America. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Aunt Betty Aunt Betty

Up to 62% off getaways + return flights worldwide

Available for travel on select dates including Christmas and New Year's Eve. Destinations include Maldives, Vanuatu, Oahu Island, Bali, Brisbane, Phuket, Cairns, Fiji, South Africa and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Aunt Betty Aunt Betty

Bali flights from $232 return

Available on select travel dates from February - September 2020. Other flights available with Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia and more. Sample fare is Perth-Denpasar (Bali) with Malindo Air. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skydive Australia Skydive Australia

Christmas sale: Extra $30 off skydiving with code

Available for travel on select dates. Destinations include Melbourne, Newcastle, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Hunter Valley, Sydney, Cairns and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Otel.com Otel.com

Extra 9% off hotel bookings

Valid on select hotel stays worldwide like Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Thailand, USA, Europe and more on all dates, including over holidays like Easter, Christmas and New Year's Eve. Some restrictions apply.

Last verified

Looking4Parking Looking4Parking
Exclusive

Up to 15% off airport parking across Australia

Valid until 31 December 2019 on airport parking, airport transfers and port parking across Australia, including Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast and Adelaide. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Skydive Australia Skydive Australia

Up to $110 off skydiving

Valid on select 2019 dates. Locations include Byron Bay, Hunter Valley, Sydney, Cairns, Melbourne and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

CruiseAway CruiseAway

$1 deposit + up to $450 OBC + extra $100 OBC on P&O cruises

Available on select voyages on 2020-2021. Destinations include Australia, Pacific, New Zealand, Asia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

CruiseAway CruiseAway
FLASH SALE

Up to 40% off + US$550 OBC with Royal Caribbean

Available on select voyages departing until 21 April 2020. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Alaska, Canada and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Skiddoo Skiddoo

San Francisco flights from $803 return

Available on select travel dates from January - October 2020. Sample fare is Melbourne-San Francisco with Delta Air. Other flights with Virgin Australia, Hawaiian Airlines, Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways, Qantas and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Aunt Betty Aunt Betty

Los Angeles flights from $806 return

Available on select travel dates from January - March 2020. Other flights available with Qantas, Delta Air lines, Air New Zealand, American Airlines , Cathay Pacific and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Los Angeles with Virgin Australia. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 10% off international flights with code

Valid for travel on select dates on Getaway, Freedom and Business fares. Destinations include across Australia to Bali, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Port Moresby or Pacific Islands. Minimum of 20-day advance purchase. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 10% off international fares with code

Valid for travel on select dates. Must book 20 days in advance. Destinations include across Australia to New Zealand, Hong Kong, Bali, Port Moresby and Pacific Islands. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Aunt Betty Aunt Betty

New York flights from $1,022 return

Available on select travel dates from January - May 2020. Other flights available with Qantas, Delta Air lines, Air Canada, American Airlines, Virgin Australia and more. Sample fare is Sydney-New York with United Airlines. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 15% off flights with code

Discount applies 7% off for Getaway, Elevate and Freedom, and 15% off Business fares within Australia and to Hong Kong, New Zealand and Fiji. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Tokyo flights from $699 return

Available for travel between April - September 2020. Sample fare is Adelaide-Tokyo.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 10% off worldwide business flights with code

Valid for travel on select dates to all destinations. Includes 5% discount to Getaway, Elevate and Business Saver fares.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 15% off business flights with code

Available for travel on select dates excluding blackout dates 9-13 April 2020. Discount applies to all destinations. Includes 10% off for Getaway, Elevate and Business Saver. Minimum of 20-day advance purchase applies. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

STA Travel STA Travel

Japan flights from $589 return with Virgin Australia

Choose the $689 fare and enter the code upon checkout. Available on travel from 29 March - 30 November 2020. Sample fare is Brisbane-Haneda. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Luxury Escapes Luxury Escapes

Up to 70% off holidays

Book holidays to Thailand, Bali, Fiji, Maldives, Vietnam and across Australia at up to 70% off, plus earn 1 Qantas point per $1 spent. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Oaks Hotels & Resorts Oaks Hotels & Resorts

Up to 25% off on 2 bedrooms + extra 5% off

Available on select dates until 30 June 2020 including through Christmas. Destinations include New Zealand and Australia. Minimum 2 nights required. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Oaks Hotels & Resorts Oaks Hotels & Resorts

Up to 15% off on 1 bedroom + extra 5%-10% off

Available on select dates until 30 June 2020 including through Christmas. Destinations include New Zealand and Australia. Minimum 2 nights required. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

TFE Hotels TFE Hotels

Up to 30% off hotels in Australia

Valid for travel until December 2019. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast or Perth. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

My Queensland My Queensland

Up to $3,000 free in extras Queensland packages with flights

Valid for travel on select dates in 2019 - 2020. Includes accommodation, return flights, daily buffet breakfast, kids stay for free and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Europcar Europcar

Up to 20% off car hire

Available on select dates until 20 June 2020 in Australia and New Zealand. Rental must be for 2 days or more and booked 21 days in advance. T&Cs apply

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Up to 10% off worldwide flights with code

Valid for travel until 29 June 2020. Discount applies to Getaway, Elevate, Premium Economy, Business Saver and Business fares. Minimum of 20-day advance purchase. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

DriveMyCar DriveMyCar
Exclusive

$30 off all rentals

Valid until 5 February 2020 for any rental across Australia. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Kayak Kayak

Up to 35% off flights worldwide

Subscribe to Kayak newsletter and receive personalised private deals of up to 35% off. Destinations include Europe, Asia, America, Australia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

RedBalloon RedBalloon

2-for-1 experiences and activities

Buy one get one free on a range of experiences across Australia. Offers change regularly, but often include sightseeing cruises, abseiling, dining, hot air ballooning, quadbiking, jet boating, scenic flights, helicopter rides, flying lessons, classic car hire, driving and rally car experiences and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Europcar Europcar

$1/day one-way car hire in Australia

Valid on select dates on select car hire relocations in Australia. Destinations updated regularly.

Last verified

DriveNow DriveNow

Campervan hire from $5/day

Available on select routes, dates and locations in Australia and New Zealand.

Last verified

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 49% off cruises with Princess Cruises

Available for cruises on select 2020 and 2021 dates. Destinations include Australia, North America, South America, Asia, Pacific and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Free upgrade + up to US$1000 OBC with Silversea sailings

Available for cruises on select 2020 – 2021 dates for Vista or Veranda suites. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Pacific, India, Middle East and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

San Francisco flights from $774 return

Available on select travel dates from February - June 2020. Sample fare is Melbourne-San Francisco with Virgin Australia. Other flights with Air New Zealand, Qantas, United Airlines, Delta Airlines and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

Tokyo flights from $641 return

Available on select travel dates from April - November 2020. Sample fare is Sydney-Tokyo with Qantas. Other flights with Virgin Australia, Japan Airlines, Jetstar, Singapore Airlines and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Domestic fights from $171 return

Available on select 2020 dates. Sample fare is Sydney-Brisbane with Tiger Air. Other flights with Jetstar and Virgin Australia. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Luxury Escapes Luxury Escapes

Queensland: 3-night luxury getaways + flights from $905

Available for travel until 18 December 2020. Includes accommodation at QT Gold Coast, flights departing from Sydney, daily buffet breakfast, late checkout and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Luxury Escapes Luxury Escapes

Queensland: 5-night hotel stay + flights from $1,177

Available for travel until 30 December 2020. Includes accommodation at Oaks Port Douglas Resort in Port Douglas, flights departing from Brisbane, welcome drink, daily buffet breakfast and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

My Queensland My Queensland

Queensland holidays from $540 + get up to $2,000 free in extras

Available for travel on select 2019 and 2020 dates. Includes accommodation, return flights, daily breakfast, kids stay free and more. Extras varies on the length of stay and accommodation. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Popular Travel coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
13 Dec 2019 Up to 50% off experiences + extra 15% off sitwide FIN****
12 Dec 2019 Extra 8% off hotels worldwide CLP****
10 Dec 2019 Up to 50% off experiences + $40 off sitewide LAS****
10 Dec 2019 Up to 10% off dining with code DEC****
27 Nov 2019 Extra 10% off with code FIN****
Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site