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Guide to Cairns Outdoors

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The Cairns region is the tropical playground of the north of Australia. There is no shortage of outdoor activities to do, with the reef, rainforest, and outback tablelands all on your doorstep, just waiting to be explored. Here you will find something to suit everyone, no matter what your age or physical fitness.

Good for
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

13 Places

7 City Tips

Print
Map

13 Places

Behana Gorge Waterfall

Waterfalls

Cairns Harbour Cruises

Boat Tours

Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome

Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks

Chopper's Motorcycle Tours

Motorcycle Tours

Crystal Cascades

Waterfalls

Falla Reef Trips

Boat Tours, Scuba & Snorkeling

Fitzroy Island

Destinations

Food Trail Tours

Sightseeing Tours, Bus Tours, Coffee & Tea Tours, Food Tours, Wine Tours & Tastings

Kuranda Scenic Railway

Scenic Railroads

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Tramways

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

Performances, Dinner Theatres, Gift & Speciality Shops, Walking Tours, Cultural Tours

Michaelmas Cay

Islands, Nature & Wildlife Areas

RnR White Water Rafting

River Rafting & Tubing

LynnePP's City Tips

  • Saltwater crocodiles are a part of the environment. Take note of the crocodile warning signs.
  • November to May is marine stinger (jellyfish) season, so swim in the netted beach areas or wear stinger suits.
  • Bring insect repellent, sunnies, hat, walking shoes, camera, and binoculars.
  • Always carry water with you and use sunscreen.
  • All reef tour operators are licenced to sell alcohol, however try to avoid alcohol before getting into the water.
  • If you are visiting during cyclone season, listen out for evacuation announcements.
  • If prone to motion sickness, remember to bring your medication when going out on a boat trip.
  • Save
    Behana Gorge Waterfall
    Waterfalls
    See more photos
    LynnePP Says:

    Behana Gorge Waterfall is around a 30-minute drive from Cairns, and then a 45-minute walk to the falls. Along the way, you will see breathtaking views, waterholes, rapids, rainforest, and wildlife.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Nature Lover
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Bring walking shoes, bathing suit, and a towel.
    • The track is suitable for bicycles.
    • There are no facilities here so take water and snacks with you.
    • For the adventurous, climb the cliff and jump off the rocks into the icy water.
    • The track is approx 45 mins each way, and a moderate level of difficulty.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #30 of 126 things to do in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Worth the walk to rainforest falls 26/11/2017
    • SO BEAUTIFUL 03/11/2017
    • Behana Gorge Waterfall
    Address:
    Behana Gorge Rd
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 427 820 993
    Other:
  • Save
    Cairns Harbour Cruises
    Boat Tours
    See more photos
    LynnePP Says:

    Sit back and relax while you sail off to Trinity inlet on a two-hour Harbour Cruise. As you meander through the waterways you will see mangroves, wildlife, and magnificent scenery. This is the place to croc spot!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Have lunch at one of the waterfront restaurants before the cruise.
    • A sunset cruise is also available.
    • Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, hat, sunnies, camera, and binoculars.
    • Scan the muddy banks to find crocodiles sunning themselves.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #35 of 70 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Cairns
    • Cairns Harbour Sunset Cruise 25/11/2017
    • Relaxing & Informative 15/11/2017
    • Cairns Harbour Cruises
    Address:
    Spence St
    Reef Fleet Terminal 1
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4031 4007
    Other:
  • Save
    Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome
    Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks
    See more photos
    LynnePP Says:

    This dome is the place to get up close and personal with tropical birds, pythons, crocodiles, turtles, and other wildlife. The ZOOm is a challenging rope course which is both exhilarating and heart-stopping.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There is a scheduled bird feeding session late in the afternoon.
    • Take the opportunity to have your photo taken with a koala.
    • Look out for Goliath, the 4-meter-long croc.
    • Your entry ticket is valid for four days' re-entry.
    • If you are a local, upgrade your ticket to a 4 Park Pass to gain entry to an additional three parks.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #50 of 160 Tours in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Out competed by similar attractions 05/12/2017
    • Nellie the Koala! 05/12/2017
    • Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome
    Address:
    35 - 41 Wharf Street
    The Reef Hotel Casino
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4031 7250
    Hours:
    Sun - Fri
    09:00 - 18:15
    Sat
    09:00 - 20:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Chopper's Motorcycle Tours
    Motorcycle Tours
    LynnePP Says:

    Be a biker for a day and hire a Harley, or better yet, take one of the tours and experience the thrill of motorcycling around the tropical beaches and rainforests.

    Good for
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Trikes and sidecars for two people are available.
    • Jacket and helmet are provided.
    • Individual tours can be organised.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #88 of 160 Tours in Cairns
    • Anne is adorable)) 31/07/2017
    • simply the best!! 26/06/2017
    • Chopper's Motorcycle Tours
    Address:
    150 Sheridan Street, Shop 2
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 408 066 024
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    07:30 - 17:00
    Sat - Sun
    07:30 - 13:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Crystal Cascades
    Waterfalls
    See more photos
    LynnePP Says:

    This is a secluded freshwater swimming hole with over-hanging trees and a number of small waterfalls. To reach this hidden treasure, you will need to drive for 30 minutes from Cairns and then take the paved walking track for 1.5km through the rainforest. You will find five or six spots along the way with separate pools.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • There is no phone reception here.
    • There are picnic tables, BBQs, and toilet facilities available.
    • Take your mask and snorkel to get a good look at the eels and large fish that inhabit the pools.
    • You might come across a goanna (a big lizard!) or two.
    • Don't forget insect repellent, camera, hat, sunscreen, bathing suit, and towel
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Redlynch
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice waterfall and a great walking path 14/12/2017
    • Waterfall Visit 14/12/2017
    • Crystal Cascades
    Address:
    The Rocks Rd
    The end of the road
    Redlynch, Queensland
    Australia
    Phone:
    40592713
  • Save
    Falla Reef Trips
    Boat Tours, Scuba & Snorkeling
    See more photos
    LynnePP Says:

    Sail to the Great Barrier Reef on an old authentic wooden pearl lugger. Swim, snorkel, or dive in the coral gardens. With a maximum of 20 passengers on board, you are guaranteed personal attention.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Boarding is at 8.30am, returning at 5.30pm.
    • Don't forget your sunscreen, hat, sunnies, camera, bathing suit.
    • All snorkelling equipment is provided, including prescription masks.
    • Complimentary morning and afternoon tea is provided, plus a tropical smorgasbord lunch.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 70 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lovely day on the reef! 15/12/2017
    • Daytrip with the Old Lady Falla 15/12/2017
    • Falla Reef Trips
    Address:
    D-Finger Marlin marina
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 400 195 264
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 23:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Fitzroy Island
    Destinations
    See more photos
    LynnePP Says:

    Only 45 minutes from Cairns by fast cat is the tropical island of Fitzroy. With swimming, snorkelling, glass bottom boat, kayaking, and lovely walking tracks, this island deserves an over-night stay.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The operators cater for both day trippers and over-nighters.
    • There is a general store on the island.
    • Take the turtle rehabilitation tour.
    • Great Barrier Reef submarines operate out of Welcome Bay.
    • Don't forget your hat, sunscreen, sunnies, insect repellent, camera, bathing suit, towel, and snorkelling gear (you may also hire snorkelling gear if you wish).
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    • Fitzroy Island
  • Save
    Food Trail Tours
    Sightseeing Tours, Bus Tours, Coffee & Tea Tours, Food Tours, Wine Tours & Tastings
    See more photos
    LynnePP Says:

    Food, fabulous food. This full day tour is a must for all foodies and wine lovers. Travel through the Atherton tablelands, wetlands, and tropical rainforests to discover the delights that the small family-run farms have on offer. Nuts, cheese, coffee, chocolate, and wine are just a few of the delicacies you will be sampling.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    • Foodie
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The tour includes morning and afternoon tea, as well as a seafood lunch.
    • Look out for the 500-year-old fig tree.
    • If you are lucky, you may get to see the pair of ancient 1,000-year-old Kauri Pine trees.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 7 Food & Drink in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Food trail 09/12/2017
    • Amazing Tour 20/11/2017
    • Food Trail Tours
    Address:
    Little Pease Street
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4041 1522
    Price range:
    US$114 - US$114
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    07:00 - 20:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Kuranda Scenic Railway
    Scenic Railroads
    See more photos
    LynnePP Says:

    Discover the tropical rainforest of the north on board the Kuranda Scenic Railway. On this 1 hour 45-minute journey, you will see magnificent waterfalls, steep ravines, and tropical rainforests. Once in the village of Kuranda, there are many opportunities for shopping, arts, crafts, and photos with wildlife, as well as visits to a venom zoo, and fossil and gemstone museums.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • All optional tours can be booked at the same time as the scenic railway.
    • There are luggage restrictions on the train.
    • Check the website for maintenance closure dates.
    • Take the opportunity to visit the butterfly sanctuary while you are here.
    • Don't forget your camera, hat, sunnies, sunscreen, walking shoes and insect repellent.
    • There is wheelchair access to the train at Cairns, Freshwater, and Kuranda stations.
    • Opt for the Skyrail package for an amazing view on your return!
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 126 things to do in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Such a beautiful day out 14/12/2017
    • Enjoyable train ride through the hills and forest. 13/12/2017
    • Kuranda Scenic Railway
    Address:
    Bunda Street
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4036 9333
    Other:
  • Save
    Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
    Tramways
    See more photos
    LynnePP Says:

    The Skyrail to Kuranda is a 1 hour 30-minute journey above the treetops of the rainforest, with two station stops along the way. Visit the Rainforest Interpretation Centre and take a guided boardwalk tour with a ranger. Kuranda is a village in the rainforest with restaurants, souvenir shops, and markets, plus many other attractions and activities for visitors.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Check the closure dates for maintenance on the website.
    • Allow for 20 minutes at each station.
    • Upgrade to the Diamond View Gondola.
    • The Skyrail is next to the Tjapukai Cultural Centre.
    • As with the Scenic Railway, you will also find combination Railway and Skyrail packages here.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 7 things to do in Smithfield
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Enjoyable, easy way to view rainforest 12/12/2017
    • Skyrail and scenic train 12/12/2017
    • Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
    Address:
    6 Skyrail Drive
    Smithfield, Queensland 4878
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4038 5555
    Price range:
    US$30 - US$30
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 17:15
    Other:
  • Save
    Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
    Performances, Dinner Theatres, Gift & Speciality Shops, Walking Tours, Cultural Tours
    See more photos
    LynnePP Says:

    Tjapukai is a must for anyone wanting a deeper understanding of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander's heritage and culture. Learn to throw a boomerang, play a didgeridoo, sample bush tucker, learn about medicinal plants, take a class in weaving or painting, or enter the dreamtime if you visit at night.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The park is wheelchair friendly.
    • This is a great educational and interactive experience.
    • Have a buffet lunch at the licensed restaurant, or a lighter meal from those available at the café.
    • Tajukai is close to the Skyrail to Kuranda.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Caravonica
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fantastically orchestrated experience 23/11/2017
    • MUST DO... 21/11/2017
    • Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
    Address:
    Cairns Western Arterial Road
    Caravonica, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4042 9999
    Price range:
    US$35 - US$35
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Michaelmas Cay
    Islands, Nature & Wildlife Areas
    See more photos
    LynnePP Says:

    This small sand cay is a vegetated National Park and a sanctuary for over 23 species of seabirds. The reef surrounding the cay is abundant in tropical fish, green sea turtles, and giant clams. The calm, protected waters make it ideal for snorkelling off of the beach.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Visiting hours to the restricted areas are 9.30am-3pm.
    • Keep your eyes open for black tip reef sharks.
    • The snorkelling here is suitable for children and beginners.
    • Don't forget your camera, hat, sunnies, sunscreen, bathing suit, towel, and snorkelling gear.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 126 things to do in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful! 07/12/2017
    • middle of nowhere... 23/11/2017
    • Michaelmas Cay
    Address:
    Great Barrier Reef
    Queensland
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
  • Save
    RnR White Water Rafting
    River Rafting & Tubing
    See more photos
    LynnePP Says:

    White water rafting certainly gets the adrenaline pumping, and rafting on the Tully River is no exception. Rated moderate to challenging, an average level of fitness is required for this daring activity. If a full day is too much, or you want a less challenging experience, then chose the half day Barron River tour.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • You must obey the rafting and safety rules.
    • Minimum age is 13 years.
    • Life jacket and helmet are provided.
    • Bring your swim suit, towel, dry clothes, lace up runners, and sunscreen (not to be used on the back of your legs).
    • If you wear glasses make sure you have a strap to keep them on.
    • Only take a waterproof camera, and better yet, a disposable one in case you lose it overboard.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #37 of 70 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Was great fun 17/10/2017
    • Great Experience 23/09/2017
    • RnR White Water Rafting
    Address:
    52 Fearnley St
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4030 7944
    Other:
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