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14 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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Cairns Great Barrier Reef tours

Green Island Trip with Cairns City Tour...
Michaelmas Cay Catamaran and Snorkel Trip
Fitzroy Island Day Trip from Cairns

Cairns rainforest and nature tours

Kuranda Scenic Railway & Skyrail...
Cape Tribulation and Cooktown 4WD Adventure...
Outback Tour & Chillagoe Caves...

Cairns cultural tours

Full Day at Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park...
2-Day Cooktown Explorer and Rainbow Serpent Tour...
Daintree Dreaming...

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

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Hong Kong flights from $496 return

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Valid for travel on select dates with Qantas or Virgin Australia. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Hong Kong. Also departs from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

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$30 off any international flight

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Simply use the code and get $30 off any international flight departing Australia. Conditions Apply

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Show code SP****

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$5/day campervan hires Offers and validity dates updated daily. Available on select routes in Australia and New Zealand.

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Up to 25% off stays + extra 10% with code

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Valid on stays before 31 March 2018 at hotels across Australia. Code applicable for MyOaks members, membership is free.

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Up to 20% off hotels + $1 breakfasts

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Valid for stays until 31 March 2018 at select Australia hotels. Get breakfast for only $1 when you book in advance .T&C's apply.

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Up to 60% off tours worldwide

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Valid on selected dates to Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Australia, North America and more. Tours on sale include Intrepid, G Adventures, Trafalgar, Insight, Contiki, On The Go, Busabout and more. Conditions Apply

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Virgin Australia - Deals Virgin Australia - Deals
Australia flights from $79 including bags

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Valid on select dates from October 2017 - July 2018. Dates vary by route. Sample fare is for Melbourne-Launceston.

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15% off hires of five days or more

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Valid on rentals until 15 December in Australia and New Zealand. Blackout dates apply. See site for details.

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Up to 40% off helicopter tours and rides

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Valid on select dates and locations across Australia. T&C's apply.

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Up to 37% off skydiving experiences

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Valid on select dates and locations across Australia. T&C's apply.

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