Hit some of Cairns night time hotspots, including the Woolshed
After a hard day trekking through the jungle, snorkeling reefs or jumping out of a plane, your adrenaline is sure to be flowing and Cairns is the perfect place to keep you going from day to night. After hours in this city offers everything from cocktail bars to pubs and clubs. If you’re after a true Cairns experience, your best bet is to head on over to Spencer Street where you’ll find a strip full of venues catering to every type of party goer. Steering off into the side streets after a few drinks, you’ll likely end up at the Woolshed, the ultimate party venue in Cairns. Expect to be dancing on the tables until the early hours.
Take a cruise to the Outer Barrier Reef
If there is one thing you need to do whilst in Cairns, it’s visit the Great Barrier Reef. The world’s largest coral reef is brimming with all types of vibrant corals, marine life and biodiversity, and the Outer Great Barrier Reef, which is easily accessible from Cairns, is known for being one of the most visible areas of the reef. Stretching 2,300 kilometres, this natural icon is so large it can be seen from space, and is comprised of 600 types of soft and hard corals, more than 100 species of jellyfish, 3,000 varieties of molluscs, 1,625 types of fish, 133 varieties of sharks and rays, and more than 30 species of whales and dolphins. Underwater worlds don’t come much better than this.
Go snorkelling on one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, The Great Barrier Reef
One of the 7 wonders of the natural world needs to be explored. If you’re game for getting up close and personal with all the marine life the Great Barrier Reef has to offer then Cairns snorkelling tours will be your answer. Tick off that bucket list must experience with a snorkelling trip which will take you out into the deep blue abyss of the Great Barrier Reef. Here, you’ll be provided with snorkeling gear and briefed on the marine life and ecosystem of the reef, before jumping in to explore it for yourself. Snorkeling tours are done by boat, so as well as a day of underwater fun you’ll get to grab a slice of yacht life.
Go white water rafting on the Tully River
This is a city full of adrenaline musts and white water rafting the Tully River is right up there with the best of them. The Tully meanders through Cairns, affording you rapid waves and rocky waters ideal for an adventure filled experience. After a safety briefing and a quick white water rafting 101 lesson you’ll grab your gear, buckle up and get ready for a stomach churning experience sure to have you screaming with excitement. Some of the rapids can be pretty full on, but there are also some more sedate parts where you can take in the incredible surroundings and soak in a sense of serenity, before you plummet on down the next drop.
Brave an AJ Hackett Bungy Jump…
Are you up for really pushing yourself to the limits? Located 20 minutes north of Cairns, the lush rainforest is home to the world's first purpose built bungy tower. Established in 1990, AJ Hackett offers 16 different jump styles, so whether you’re a first time jumper or an established adrenaline junkie, this place has the jump for you. Plus, let’s not forget the best part about being at the top of this 50-meter tower - the views. Expect some pretty epic sights of the Northern Beaches and Great Barrier Reef as you brace yourself for the jump of a lifetime. Tours from Cairns don’t get much better than this!
Explore Cairns by night and go souvenir shopping at the night markets
We may have mentioned that Cairns comes to life in the evenings, but if it’s not nightclubs or bars that you’re after don’t stress, this city has plenty more nighttime magic up its sleeve. The night markets here are a major draw card, made up of 70 retail outlets and food stalls galore. Here, you can expect just about everything including a whole range of cuisines, boutique shops and even massage parlours. The hustle and bustle of this place is sure to give the bars a run for their money, and are the perfect alternative option for an evening's entertainment.
Learn to dive at Pro Dive Cairns
There really is no better place to learn to dive than the Great Barrier Reef, and Pro Dive Cairns is a premium dive school which specialises in PADI scuba courses from beginners all the way through to professionals. The courses range from 2-day theory and pool to a 5 day PADI "Open Water" dive course, where you’ll spend the final 3-days on the outer reef dive sites, partaking in up to 9 dives. With a whole heap of marine life and colourful corals this is pretty much the perfect trip to tick of a massive Cairns bucket list must whilst catching some rays on a boat deck.
Spot rays, sharks and all manner of marine life as you dive on the Great Barrier Reef
If you’re snorkelling or diving on Cairns Great Barrier Reef tours expect to find some companions on your way… mainly 1,625 species of fish, 1,400 coral reef species, more than 3,000 species of molluscs (shells), 630 species of echinoderm (starfish, sea urchins), 14 breeding species of sea snakes, 215 species of birds including 22 species of seabirds and 32 species of shorebirds, six of the world's seven species of marine turtle, 30 species of whales and dolphins, 133 species of sharks and rays....and much more. And the chances are you’ll spot a fair few of these creatures down under so have your Gopro at the ready!
Soak up the tropical Queensland sunshine while relaxing on deck
With temperatures hitting up to 32 degrees throughout the year, you’ll be sure to catch some rays in Cairns, and what better place to lay back and relax then on board a boat? You can expect to find an open sundeck area on most boats that operate snorkeling and diving Great Barrier Reef trips, providing you with the opportunity to sun bake and relax enroute to the next snorkeling or diving spot. Just ensure you suncream yourself up as the Aussie sun is seriously strong.
Surf the swells at Palm Cove and Yorkeys Knob
The waves around Cairns may well be inundated with underwater species, but they also offer some pretty awesome surf breaks. For any of you surfers out there, be sure to bring along your boards as Palm Cove and Yorkeys Knob are two places which offer up some sweet surf spots. Palm Cove, north of Cairns, is a beachside suburb known for its chilled vibes, whilst Yorkeys Knob is a little closer to Cairns but an equally beautiful place to catch some waves. Make sure you check out the marina which lies within a cove of this island for some awesome insta spots.
Things To Do in Cairns
Great Barrier Reef Masters Games
Calling all sports fanatics, the Great Barrier Reef Masters consists of four days of competitions with sports for all masters ages and interests, including athletics, baseball, cricket, softball, water polo and many more. And it’s not just the sports that this festival will have instore for you; expect DJ’s, a welcome march and all types of fun-filled events.
Cairns Airport Adventure Festival
Set on one of the most scenic coastal roads in all of Australia, Cairns Airport Adventure Festival is a triathlon event which includes a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike leg and a 42.2km run (so not for the faint hearted!). The event is set between two World Heritage listed areas, the Daintree National Park and the Great Barrier Reef, offering some pretty awesome views for both spectators and competitors.
Cairns Blues Festival
All about the blues, this festival gives local artists in the far North of Queensland a platform to perform, create, and show off their talents. The annual festival is a not-for-profit event which incorporates sponsorships and volunteering, all in the aid of the music. Expect authentic, unique, and good ol’ blues talent as you sing along to undiscovered local artists.
This 10-day festival is all about the vibrant, bright, bold and visual, with performing arts, culture, family-friendly events and a whole load of music, crafts, dance, theatre, comedy and markets. This fun-filled festival set in the Far North of Queensland offers something for just about everyone.
Cairns Indigenous Art Fair
Supporting the careers of Queensland’s indigenous artists, CIAF provides a platform to expose and celebrate culture, creating opportunities for artists whilst generating income. The fair offers an ethical art market place whilst providing pathways for emerging visual and performing artists, and is also a great cultural insight for visitors.
Top Festivals in Cairns
Festivals in Cairns are a sure way to show what this city is all about. These events can have you going from sports to music festivals, vibrant visual arts to indigenous art fairs. The diverse array of festivals offer a great insight into the local cultures and traditions of the region, and are the perfect way to experience all things Aussie!
Situated right in the heart of the city, The Cairns Museum contains five art galleries which showcase the history of Cairns. Everything is covered here, from Aboriginal to sugar cane history across to WWII, tourism development, local architecture and cyclones, as well as the inside story of living in the tropics.
Australian Armour and Artillery Museum
This museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation and restoration of tanks, armoured vehicles and artillery from the Second World War and post-war periods, and boasts some pretty incredible vehicles. The current collection consists of 140 armoured vehicles and artillery pieces, so if you’re a history fanatic or into army machinery, this is a must visit.
Cairns Art Gallery
Located within a landmark heritage building, Cairns Art Gallery is an elegant fusion of contemporary and heritage pieces, boasting a permanent collection that focuses on the unique cultural heritage of Far North Queensland, with many local artist works as well as Australian and international collections displayed here.
Cairns Historical Society Museum
With around 3,100 books, 23,000 photographs, 2,250 maps and 25,000 documents on local and area history, Cairns Historical Society Museum is a hub for recording and preserving the history of North Queensland, whilst making it accessible for current and future generations to engage with all things Cairns.
Emu Ridge Gallery, Kuranda
Famous for fossils and gemstones, Emu Ridge Gallery is a museum which boasts all types of weird wonders including the ONLY life-size Allosaurus in all of Queensland. As well as this, you’ll also find an array of plant and animal remains plus a collection of sparkling precious and semi precious stones.
Top 5 Museums in Cairns
Cairns sure does have a load of outdoor adventures, but you can also find plenty to do in the many museums located around the city. With art galleries, historical preservations, fossils, photographs, gemstones and even war time vehicles, these museums will fascinate, educate and inspire you.
French toast with banana
This naughty but oh so nice treat consists of bread cooked in an egg and banana mixture until lightly toasted and then drizzled in syrup with a few banana slices on top. Head to Cafe Semra for a sure way to get your energy fix ahead of a jam packed day. A must try breakfast treat!
Best eaten at Cafe Semra, 3A/46 Lake Street, Cairns
This Vietnamese style sandwich is one mean food must. Made up of a french baguette, Banh Mi is filled with barbecued meats, peanuts, lemongrass and pickles. If you’re on the road or have a busy day full of exploring this is a great option to grab from Pho Viet to eat whilst on the go.
Best eaten at Pho Viet, Shop 5/78 Abbott Street, Cairns
French-Aussie hybrid crepe
Another French inspired Aussie dish is the legendary French-Aussie hybrid crepe. Essentially a crepe filled with all types of food (think veg, meats, cheeses, eggs), this can be found at the very cute and traditional The Petit Cafe. Just take your crepe pick.
Best eaten at The Petit Cafe, The Original Rainforest Market, Therwine St, Kuranda
Mango and coconut Gelati
The weather in Cairns can be toasty so you’ll likely be craving gelati from the get go. The tastiest solution? A mango and coconut gelati from Gelocchio, the go to ice cream parlour in Cairns for all kinds of delicious flavour options (but mango and coconut are our faves).
Best eaten at Gelocchio, 9/93 Esplanade, Cairns
We may have mentioned that Cairns sits on the Great Barrier Reef, so as you can imagine the seafood is pretty next level here. Get your prawn fix at The Raw Prawn Seafood Restaurant, situated right on the coast - you’ll be spoilt for choice with an array of prawns to choose from!
Best eaten at The Raw Prawn Seafood Restaurant, The Esplanade Centre, Esplanade, Cairns
Food in Cairns
Aussie filled adventures on the northern tip of the East Coast can take it out on you. After snorkelling, diving or rainforest escapades it’s time to refuel those energy levels with some drool worthy food. The good news is Cairns offers it all, with a fusion of French, Vietnamese and local delicacies to tantalise and inspire the taste buds.