5 Things to do in Cairns (Australia)

Due to the impending start of my new job, and the “first-six-months-no-vacation-days” rule, I’ve been doing a lot of travel “window shopping”. Researching places I’d love to go once I can finally take time off, planing a couple of pre-job escapades, buying my #TBEX16 Stockholm tickets…you know, the usual.

During those long hours on the internet, I’ve come across a post by Skyscanner where they suggest your ideal destination for 2015 according to your Chinese horoscope. Even though I don’t believe in these things, I decided to take a look, and put together a post about the things I would do wherever they told me I should go. So here it is.

 Cairns, Australia || Wanderwings
My Chinese horoscope dictates a rather exotic destination for my 2015 ideal vacation: Cairns (Australia). Not a bad suggestion seeing that Australia has been on my travel bucket-list (which I’ll get around to post eventually, I promise) for ages. However, I had never really considered Cairns, so putting my travel detectiving skills to practice I set on discovering what this city has to offer, and here is what I found.

Cairns is a small city in the north of Queensland founded in 1876 and named after the at-the-time Governor of Qeensland, W. W. Cairns. What originally would serve miners in the region, soon evolved into major export port int he region. It is located at about 1700 Km north of Brisbane, has a tropical climate, and is the base point to visit the Great Barrier Reef and the North Queensland territory. And according to Jessica Peterson & Melane Waller from The Guam Guide, Cairns is “North Australia’s worst kept secret – it’s a tropical paradise!”

When in Cairns (Cans for the locals) you must go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. But we already heard that one, right? So, what else can one do there besides the Great Barrier Reef?

Here are the 5 things I would do in Carins if I had the chance to visit today.

A helicopter flight above Green Island and the Outer Reef

Seeing the Outer reef (and possibly spotting a whale or two) from the sky has to be an unforgettable experience. You can take a 30, 40, or 60 minute flight (AU$389, AU$489, or AU$689 per person incl. transfer) daily and see from high above Cairns, Green Island, the Great Barrier Reef and Rainforest including Copperloe Dam and Barron Falls with Cairns Visitors Center Scenic Flights.

(Photo: Cairns Visitor Center)

Pay a visit at the Rain Forest Station

When I travel one of the things I enjoy the most are learning and experiencing new cultures. For that reason I try to always stick around for a bit longer than your usual vacation, try to befriend first and foremost the locals, and try to learn the local language, even if it’s just the basics. So, no surprise here if i told you I’d love to stop by the Rain Forest Station to learn more about the aboriginal culture of the region and hopefully witness one of the live performance of traditional hinting techniques and a dance or two. You can find it on Kennedy Hwy, Kuranda QLD 4881 (Australia) from 9am to 4 pm.
More information on their Website.

Army Duck Rainforest Tour 

While at the Rainforest Station, I’d love to do a Rainforest Duck Tour. I did one in Boston and loved it, so in the Australian rainforest it can only be 1000000x better, don’t you think? And you save a few bucks if you buy all three tickets (also the Koala Park) as a pack. What if I get to see a giant turtle live!?

White Water Rafting

So far I’ve done white water rafting in Spain and the US, so why not make it one of my goals in life, to white water raft in all continents (where it’s actually possible to white water raft of course!). In Cairns there are two options. The easy-going Barron river, or a slightly wilder Tully river. Whichever you choose, it’ll sure be fun! From my research I’ve found out there are two main companies you can choose from Raging Thunder (best reviews) and RnR, and it’ll cost about AU$350 aprox.

Things to do in Cairns (Australia) - Raging Thunder Cairns Half Day Rafting Barron River

A trip on Kuranda Scenic Railway

It takes about 2 hours to get to Kuranda and along the way you stop to see the Barron falls. Along the way you hear about the railway’s history through a recording (currently available in English, Japanese, Mandarin and German). The tickets cost AU$74 return or, alternatively, AU$49 one way and you can take the Skyrail on the way back.
Trains and stunning views is a no brainer in my opinion. Tell me where I sign up, because I’m in. More information about Kuranda Scenic Railway here, and Skyrail here

(Photo credit ksr.com.au)

So those are the 5 things (besides the Great Barrier Reef dive) I would do if I visited Cairns today. What would you do? Have you been to Cairns? Anything you think I have to do when I finally visit Queensland? I’m all ears 🙂


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