Cairns: Best Things to Do

Cairns - Photo by Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises on Google Maps

Cairns is famous as the gateway of the wonderful Great Barrier Reef.

Visit the Cairns Aquarium in downtown to see amazing marine life!

Come and taste the authentic Rosella jam that you won't get at anywhere else.

The city is rich of Aboriginal and Torres Strait histories.

Visit Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets to get some Aboriginal souvenirs to bring home.

Scroll down to get information about other cool places to visit in Cairns!

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SIGHTSEEING

Great Adventures is the right place to explore the Great Barrier Reef. There are many facilities you can choose, like snorkeling, boating, or swimming. You can also go to Green Island located close to the Green Adventure spot. Enjoy the water, colorful corals, and fishes. This place is a must to visit when you are in Cairns!

Great Adventures

One of the most beautiful tourist spots in Cairns.

Boat is modern and their set up is brilliant with extreme accent on safety.

You can get chance to purchase precious professional pictures of underwater.

Extremely professional crew and all super helpful staff members.

Address : 1 Spence St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

DOWNTOWN

Cairns Aquarium is a popular aquarium in downtown city. See marine life consist of more than 16,000 specimens and 10 ecosystems. There are rare animals to see in this place like Jardine River painted turtles, ribboned pipefish, and scalloped hammerhead sharks. This aquarium is so interesting to visit, especially with your children. They will be so amazed when seeing the gorgeous sea animals.

Cairns Aquarium

A fascinating place to visit and this is modern aquarium with local animals as well.

Following the set route there are scores of fish in tanks, plus displays with snakes, frogs.

The lizards are very cool and the jelly fish looks amazing.

Good information available, very clean facility.

Address : 5 Florence St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

SHOPPING

Cairns Night Markets is a popular market among locals and tourists. This indoor market has many vendors to visit and buy something to remind you of Cairns. But, come in the evening when they are all open. Another place to visit for shopping is Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets. There are unique and cultural items to buy and bring home. Find some handmade Aboriginal souvenirs before you leave the city!

Cairns Night Markets

Authentic night market to shop for some souvenirs and for some Asian food and desserts.

A nice variety of local merchandise as well as the traditional run-of-the-mill souvenir stuff.

Very reasonable priced souvenirs, all store owners are extremely welcoming and friendly.

A must do for cairns locals and tourists.

Address : 54-60 Abbott St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

Kuranda Original Rainforest Markets

A cute market at the top of the mountain.

It has the most charm and bohemian atmosphere.

A large selection of small kitchey shops and lovely food stalls.

Some wildlife displays and some historical points.

Address : 13 Therwine St, Kuranda QLD 4881, Australia

FOOD & DRINK

Rosella jam is a must to try when you come to Cairns. This jam is made from rosella, a wildflower from the North Queensland. Pairing the jam with scones or puftaloons will be so perfect. You can get a jam at many stores or bakeries in the city. Lobsters and Macadamia nuts are also authentic foods from Cairns. For drinks, there are amazing gins and cocktails to offer.

CULTURE

Cairns is the gateway to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. It's a famous destination because there are incredible beaches, forests, and waterfalls in this tropical city. Also, the city is rich with Aboriginal and Torres Strait history. There are about 150.000 people live in the city. The city and the local people are friendly and welcoming. For the popular event, there is the Great Barrier Reef Masters Games you may want to join when visiting the city.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to visit the city is between April and September. It's when the weather is warm and dry. So, you can do interesting outdoor activities and enjoy the best sights of Cairns. Also, you will get cheaper accommodations.

HOTEL

Stay at Shangri-La Hotel when you travel to the city. This is a seaside hotel, offering a great view of the Cairns Marlin Marina. The hotel offers elegant and comfy bedrooms to sleep in. This cool hotel is located nearby popular attractions, like Cairns Esplanade Lagoon or Cairns Museum. Also, you can stay at Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort. This hotel has a unique tube design, offering luxurious bedrooms and facilities. You can enjoy the scenery of the Coral Sea from your window. The hotel is located 1 km from Highway 1.

Shangri-La Hotel Cairns

This hotel is in a very prominent position with sea views.

Superb breakfast and the rooms and the bathrooms are decent.

The pool is absolutely gorgeous and worth the stay alone.

The staff are fabulous, always walk past with a smile and a hello.

Address : Pier Point Rd, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia3QHJ+R6 Cairns City, Queensland, Australia

Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort

Absolute favourite place to stay in Cairns.

The hotel itself is stunning and the place of action in town.

The room is big, gorgeously decorated and spotless.

Breakfast buffet reasonably priced.

The receptionists are all very friendly and attentive.

Address : 131-141 Esplanade, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

RESTAURANT

Come to The Raw Prawn for having an unforgettable dinner. This white-blue restaurant has a big space and cozy seating to sit and eat with your family or friends. Enjoy their Japanese and Australian dishes! The barramundi fish and lobster are highly recommended to order. Also, you can go to Grill'd Cairns. This restaurant is famous for its fantastic Australian burgers. Vegetarians options are also served here. Don't forget to try its delicious Avocado Chips too!

The Raw Prawn

An excellent seafood restaurant in the heart of Cairns.

Lunchtime special is fantastic with a very good selection of dishes.

It has a special lunch time menu with a great selection which is amazing value and includes a drink.

The food is very tasty and serving sizes are generous.

Very nice presentation and quick service and the waiters are super friendly.

Address : 101 Esplanade, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

Grill'd Cairns

One of the best burger restaurants in Cairns.

Best suited for casual dining or pre and/or post event meeting place.

Pretty decent sort of a burger with some good options on the menu.

It also has tons of gluten free options.

The staff, the service and the selection of beverages is magnificent.

Address : 77 Esplanade, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

CAFE

Mi Piace Espresso Bar is a great bar to chill out with your travel buddies and having breakfast. Space and outdoor seating are so cozy. The coffee and Eggs Benny are so incredible! Also, come to Paradiso Cafe Cairns. This cafe is simple but nice to get some morning food. The bagels, sandwiches, and toasts are the favorite options to eat. Also, they serve delicious vegan foods too.

Mi Piace Espresso Bar

A hidden gem for have a the best coffe in Cairns.

Easy to find plenty of parking on the street, relaxed atmoshere with indoor.

The coffee has a really rich and deep flavour and the mugs and spoons are very stylish.

They also serve outstanding food.

Great friendly staff too make it a pleasure to dine.

Address : 1/119 Sheridan St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

Paradiso Cafe Cairns

Awesome location near the city also a great vibe in this cafe.

The vibe is so chill, lovely outdoor seating with a fan over almost every table.

It offers the great selection for breakfast/ brunch.

It also offers delicious french toast, eggs Benedict, and lattes.

Friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere.

Address : 96 Abbott St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

BAR AND NIGHTLIFE

Hang out at Rattle N Hum to enjoy the night side of Cairns. This is a bar & grill located close to the Cairns Marlin Marina. Come with your travel buddies will be so great because there are bar games to play and outdoor seating to relax! There are amazing burgers, pizza, and steak to enjoy while having a glass of wine or beer. You can also go to the Salt House. This seafront restaurant has a cool lantern-lit bar and great seating. Come here to enjoy great wines and beers with a sea vibe!

Rattle N Hum

Solid and popular pub in a great location.

It’s a place where both locals and tourist come together.

Ambience of the place is awesome.

It offer delicious pizza and drinks at reasonable prices.

The service is always good here, & it's always busy with backpackers.

Address : 67 Esplanade, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

Salt House

It is the coolest bar with a charming ambience.

Bar has comfy but stylish lounge chairs and a really chill vibe.

Seafood is superb and wine list is very good and well price.

Best dishes are the linguine with crab and lemon as well as the pasta with mushroom.

Their bartender and wiaters are friendly and welcoming.

Address : Marina Point, 6/2 Pier Point Rd, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

INTERESTING PLACE

Come to Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to experience flying above the world's oldest tropical rainforest. This gondola ride has a 7.5 km long above the Barron Gorge National Park. Enjoy the fantastic views and don't forget to take shots. Also, come to Rainforestation Nature Park. This is a wildlife park set on 100 acres in the midst of the World Heritage rainforest. This park makes you feel close to nature. Don't forget to take a walk at the tropical gardens!

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Relaxing journey over the tree tops to the top of the hill.

Really enjoyable cable car ride with some stunning scenery and all round vistas.

The scale of the magnificent rainforest can be truly appreciated from the cable car.

All Skyrail staff so friendly, professional and helpful.

Address : 6 Skyrail Dr, Smithfield QLD 4878, Australia

Rainforestation Nature Park

A real whistle-stop adventure.

Lots of interaction with kangaroos, vast collection of native animals.

Kids will enjoy the wildlife area and the Aboriginal show is both educational and culturally vibrant.

They also have the army duck tour where you can experience a ride in the trucks.

The rainforest guides are superb.

Address : 1030 Kennedy Hwy, Kuranda QLD 4881, Australia

INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOT

Barron Falls is a cool spot for taking photos with the scenic waterfall from the Baron River. They provide a photo spot you can go to get the best angle of the beautiful waterfall. Don't miss the Palm Cove Beach too! This calm beach is so nice to visit. The sands and water are so clean and soft. This place is perfect to get panoramic pictures.

Barron Falls

Gorgeous waterfalls near town of Kuranda.

There is a railway that goes through the gorge and also a hydro electric station.

Skyrail is a beautiful way to see the rainforest from a new angle.

The lookout shows an amazing view from an extremely high point.

Showing you how small you are in the world and how mesmerising the amazing waterfall is.

Address : Centenary Park, Coondoo St, Kuranda QLD 4881, Australia

Palm Cove Beach

A fantastic beach with a great pier.

This beach is the one everyone pictures for the tropical North.

Sweeping palm trees along a green grassy footpath.

Here you can go swimming on the shore, fish on the pier, or hike on the rocks close to the shore.

Plenty of shade and food/drink outlets.

Address : 111 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove QLD 4879, Australia