Things to do in Cairns

by | 25 Apr | Attractions, Beaches, Listing, Nature, Top 100 Experiences | 1 comment

Though it may be best known for its natural beauty, Cairns offers vacationers plenty of activities to keep them busy during their stay. Whether you’re looking for peace and relaxation, adventure, or something in between, Cairns and the surrounding region have more than enough to offer.

With so many things to do in Cairns, it’s really no wonder Cairns is the fourth most popular destination for tourists in Australia. When on vacation, it’s not so much finding something to do, but deciding what shouldn’t be missed.

cairns kuranda skyrail

Image Credit: Tourism Queensland

In the Air

There’s really no better way to view the region’s rainforests, waterfalls, gorges and mountains than with a bird’s eye view from more than 40 meters in the air. That’s what the Skyrail provides. It travels nearly five miles, including over the Barron Gorge National Park. The trip takes 1.5 hours and includes stops at two mid-stations. It’s very popular and advance tickets are necessary, but the Skyrail is a great way to relax while taking in some awesome scenery. If the Skyrail isn’t high enough of an adventure, Cairns offers several tandem skydiving adventures. You can get the thrill of skydiving without any experience.

cairns great barrier reef

Image Credit: Tourism Queensland

In the Water

No trip to Cairns would be complete without visiting the Great Barrier Reef. There are many sailing or yachting companies that can make this happen. The aquatic life can be viewed without getting wet by utilizing the glass-bottomed boats. Alternatively, plenty of snorkelling and scuba diving trips are available. Helicopter flights are also available for a different vantage point. Those not afraid to get wet might enjoy a white water rafting trip on one of the many challenging rivers near Cairns, or those new to the sport can opt for the more mild Barron River.

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

Image Credit: Tourism Queensland

On the Land

Aside from the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest is probably the largest draw at Cairns. Take a short hike through untouched environments and then spend some time on its beaches. The Kuranda Scenic Railway can be found right next to the Skyrail. It also travels from Cairns to Kuranda, but provides a different view of the same scenery. Visitors are able to travel one way on the train and back on the Skyrail, or vice versa. Either way, part of the trip should include exploring Kuranda for some shopping and dining. For those, like me, who love learning about the culture and history of the area they are visiting, spending at least part of the day at the Tjapukai Cultural Park is a must. The park has three theatres from which actors and holograms tell the tales of the aboriginal people. Be sure to take part in a boomerang throwing demonstration and sample some of the native food.

Tourists will have no shortage of activities to choose from when vacationing in Cairns. It has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and a variety of ways are offered to enjoy it. Whether by land, sea or air, Cairns has something for everybody.


Heading to Cairns? We Recommend…


Kuranda Scenic Railway

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway


Luxury: Seachange Beachfront Apartments

Affordable: Best Western Plus Cairns Central Apartments

Budget: Crystal Cascades Holiday Park

Backpacker: The Northern Greenhouse

Food & Drink

Mama Coco

Linga Longa