Insider's Guide to Cairns & the Tropical North

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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Cairns -  think islands, beaches, wildlife, rainforests and that reef - is an essential stop on any trans-Australian itinerary. Here's how to cover the best of it in just three days. Day 1: Cuddle Koalas, Walk Through Fire Kick off ... 

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Certified reviews by travelers like you.

yumeihou

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2016

The 1st day snorkeling and 3rd day Cape Tribulaion were great. Everything was much better than expected, but 2nd day Kuranda village was not as interesting. We got 3 days to spare in Cairns, so this was perfect for us.

Doing what: Cairns Super Saver: Great Barrier Reef Cruise plus Kuranda Scenic Railway plus Cape Tribulation Day Trip

Thomas P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2016

Great day out! Activities good fun and island is beautiful.

Doing what: Fitzroy Island Day Trip from Cairns

Thomas E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2016

We had a wonderful time! The weather, the water and snorkeling, the crew and the food couldn't have been any better. Everyone was friendly and helpful and we enjoyed Tom T Bone singing and playing guitar as we cruised back in..

Doing what: Cairns Super Saver: Great Barrier Reef Cruise plus Kuranda Scenic Railway plus Cape Tribulation Day Trip

Phil F

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2016

Nice island

Doing what: Fitzroy Island Day Trip from Cairns

Zhanna K

3 star rating: Worth doing
February 2016

was good if you don't like crowds. beach was all broken coral which was difficult to sit on. services were good.

Doing what: Fitzroy Island Day Trip from Cairns

jdepinto10

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

What an amazing experience!! This was such a cool venue to host a dinner, and the staff was beyond wonderful. They claim that the food is a taste of Australia, and it is definitely that. I would very much recommend this tour just note that you take a bus up a very windy, narrow road, so if you get motion sickness, plan for that.

Doing what: Cairns Flames of the Forest Dining Experience

Sandra F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

The jet boat ride was great loved the last bit surfing the wash from another boat but a bit scary would recommend this ride well worth the money staff were very good and friendly

Doing what: Cairns Jet Boat Ride

MR. J.T.ENGLISH E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

A first class outstanding tour with a company who deserve to be commended not only for the high quality of the service they provide but for also going out of their way, at their own expense, to make the experience unforgettable for their clients. I cannot praise them enough.
The helicopter ride was breath- taking with spectacular views and the highlight of our Great Barrier Reef cruise.
We were picked up from our cruise ship by taxi, the whole trip was clearly explained and throughout the ride we were able to request closer views, ask questions etc. Wonderful!
Whilst waiting to board we asked the receptionist if she could possibly book a taxi to pick us up after the ride as we wanted to go to Kuranda Village. She suggested that it would be far better to go by cable car than road. We explained that that was what we had dearly wanted to do but were unable to due to time restrictions.
When we went back to the hanger after our helicopter ride one of the staff was given the keys to a car and told to take us straight to Freshwater stationdeparture point for cable car where we had been booked onto the 11.00 am cable car, which meant we had sufficient time to do the 'round trip'
The receptionist had gone to the trouble of sorting it all out for us. The company also refused to charge us for the 15 minute taxi ride to the cable car station . Talk about going the extra mile.
Thank you so much. It was truly appreciated

Doing what: Great Barrier Reef 30-Minute Scenic Helicopter Tour from Cairns

Gottfried B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

very cool tour the guys are just amazing,helpful friendly just great the complete trip

Doing what: Fitzroy Island Day Trip from Cairns

Shin N

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

My rating is 5 out of 5. So good!
I highly recommend it to my friends.

Doing what: Cairns Super Saver: Great Barrier Reef Cruise plus Kuranda Scenic Railway plus Cape Tribulation Day Trip

Michael C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

Even in the rain - it was stunning!

Doing what: Daintree Rainforest Zipline and Wildlife Habitat Day Trip

Megan R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

A great time with lots of access to the animals. The food is great and the drinks are free.

Doing what: Cairns Night Zoo Safari and Barbecue Dinner

Linh N

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

This whole three day trip was worth every penny. My absolute favorite part was the Great Barrier Reef day--the boat was brand new--only 3 days old! I was scared to try scuba diving but the crew was so great in convincing me that I could do it. BUY IT NOW!

Doing what: Cairns Super Saver: Great Barrier Reef Cruise plus Kuranda Scenic Railway plus Cape Tribulation Day Trip

Fuzz

4 star rating: Recommended
January 2016

all went well - no hassle

Doing what: Cairns Tropical Zoo Morning Tour including Breakfast

Glenda M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2015

This was a very friendly and well organised trip.

Doing what: Fitzroy Island Day Trip from Cairns

Alexander C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2015

Beautiful Island! Do the upgrade with lunch and activities...well worth it!

Doing what: Fitzroy Island Day Trip from Cairns

Michael S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2015

We purchased the 4-park pass and others who do so should be aware that the parks are not co-located. Rainforest Station and the Butterfly Sanctuary are close together in Kuranda while the Wildlife Habitat is about an hour north of Cairns and the wildlife dome is on top of the Reef Casino in downtown Cairns. That said, all the parks were clean and the critters appeared to be well cared for.
The aborigine exhibitions and duck boat ride at Rainforest Station were well worth the price.
At the butterfly sanctuary, the butterflies were quite beautiful, swirling around visitors in swarms and readily landing on bright clothing. There's a little café next door that serves an excellent aussie burger.
The wildlife habitat was fairly large - My wife and I spent 4 or 5 hours there.

Doing what: Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

Merrill D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2015

Excellent tour, all employees were most knowledgeable and were most conceded with the safety of ALL

Doing what: Cairns Super Saver: Great Barrier Reef Cruise plus Kuranda Scenic Railway plus Cape Tribulation Day Trip

Linda M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2015

This was an amazing 3 days for a very reasonable price. The trip to the GBR alone was worth it. The crew could not have been nice. They made sure that we had a great experience. Don't worry about your swimming abilities. They can ensure that you see it even if you are older, a poor swimmer, or not very strong. The outing to Cape Tribulation was a very long but beautiful day. Loved the beaches and lunch at the resort in the forest. We also loved Kuranda. There was lots of shopping and the Skyrail was amazing. Be sure an get off at the stops and walk the boardwalk into the forest.

Doing what: Cairns Super Saver: Great Barrier Reef Cruise plus Kuranda Scenic Railway plus Cape Tribulation Day Trip

strombofamily

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2015

This was a very well put together package. We thoroughly enjoyed all 3 days and would recommend to anyone who is visiting for a few days.

Doing what: Cairns Super Saver: Great Barrier Reef Cruise plus Kuranda Scenic Railway plus Cape Tribulation Day Trip

christinewortley

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2015

Had a wonderful day. The guys running the zip line were very entertaining and thoughtful. One of our party had MS and they planned her ride accordingly. Probably the most enjoyable of all our excursions.

Doing what: Daintree Rainforest Zipline and Wildlife Habitat Day Trip

Tong X

4 star rating: Recommended
December 2015

Staff are friendly! But could leave earlier so that we can have more time to enjoy the many activities in the island.

Doing what: Fitzroy Island Sea Kayaking

Warren C

4 star rating: Recommended
December 2015

Great way to see cairns, with knowledgeable and friendly tour guides. Great barrier reef, definitely worth it, great experience on the outer reef where water in some places only around a metre deep with heaps of fish swimming around. Young girls were really helpful and looked after you if you were not confident or hadn't snorkelled before, you were never left alone until you were confident. Only thing they ran out of water in toilets about 45 mins before we returned.
Kuranda, great markets and sky rail a great way to come back down, train ride very informative on how it was built, but a really hot 1.5 hour ride up. Caper tribulation, best part habitat wildlife park, only had an hour, could of spent more time there, really enjoyed spending the time feeding the kangaroo's, they were so friendly. Lunch at cape tribulation nice, and beautiful beach, but unable to swim due to stingers. Daintree river cruise, saw one croc.
If go back again I would go in September as late November too hot with 31 and 32 most days and water too warm which meant when we went fishing on a different trip, there was not much around and on the Daintree rive all the crocs were well in the mangroves keeping out of the hot water.
Overall great way to explore and experience Cairns, would do some of the tours again but would have a day in between and three full on days in a row maybe ok for the young ones, but took it out of us been middle aged and with the heat combined.

Doing what: Cairns Super Saver: Great Barrier Reef Cruise plus Kuranda Scenic Railway plus Cape Tribulation Day Trip

Kees v

4 star rating: Recommended
December 2015

Great barrier reed cruise was very Nice with helpfull and entertaining crew. Cape Tribulation was Nice bit trip guide was nog so good.

Doing what: Cairns Super Saver: Great Barrier Reef Cruise plus Kuranda Scenic Railway plus Cape Tribulation Day Trip

Sandra H

4 star rating: Recommended
December 2015

The snorkling at the Great Barrier reef was amazing !!
Everything as very well organized and we had always time enough to see the things we wanted to see.
We surely recommend this tour !!
All the guides we had were well informed and very nice to spend the day with.

Doing what: Cairns Super Saver: Great Barrier Reef Cruise plus Kuranda Scenic Railway plus Cape Tribulation Day Trip

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