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 your time ... 

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5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2014

Small group tour so easy to hear the guide. Paul was very knowledgable and explained things well. We were the only group out at night so had the place to ourselves which made it very different and special. We learned so much that we continued to benefit from during the rest of our holiday.
Thank you Paul. Tim and Marion

Doing what: Atherton Tablelands Rainforest Wildlife Tour by Night

4 star rating: Recommended
September 2014

I spent 3 days snorkeling, at 3 different locations. It was incredible. Here are my thoughts on each.

1) GREEN ISLAND: Day 1 (from Cairns)
The island was really pretty, and it was nice to relax on the beach between snorkeling. The highlight of my day was when I encountered a group of sea turtles. They were very friendly an allowed me to follow them around and touch them. Overall I found the reefs and marine life to be underwhelming at this location. The coral was not as expansive or colorful as it was at the Outer Barrier Reef.

2) OUTER GREAT BARRIER REEF: Day 2 (from Cairns)
The outer reef offers deeper water and larger coral structures. There is more marine life to explore here, as compared to Green Island.

3) OUTER GREAT BARRIER REEF: Day 3 (from Cairns)
Despite getting sea sick, this was my favorite day of snorkeling. What made the experience was the company I was with: Silver Swift. The crew was incredibly friendly, and very informative about the best spots to explore. They also took their time to brief the group with printed pictures of things that we might see underwater. The photographer told us that we might encounter a fish named Nigel, who has been seen at the same location for several years. We did in fact encounter Nigel, who was a labrador sized, purple wrasse. Nigel was trained like a dog and would allow the photographer to position him for some photos that were unclose and personal. Awesome day!

Doing what: Ultimate 3-Day Great Barrier Reef Cruise Pass

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2014

This tour was amazing!

Doing what: Fitzroy Island Day Trip from Cairns

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2014

It was such a great time and the staff was so friendly.

Doing what: Cairns Night Zoo Safari and Barbecue Dinner

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2014

It was a great experience, definitely recommend doing it! They pick you up early in the morning (too early?) and take you to the site of the hot air balloon. It's on a farm, so beware of manure. We got to watch them blow up the balloon too. I'm very much afraid of heights, but didn't even notice we were up so high. The only thing I was afraid of was dropping my phone while taking as many photos as I could. There isn't much room to move around in the balloon as they tend to pack it with as many people as possible. We got to see several wild kangaroos. Beware that the flames are HOT and sometimes the pilot has to keep the burner on for a while, so I recommend bringing something to cover your neck or head from the heat of the flames. The 30 minutes goes by fast. Once we were back on the ground, they had us help deflate and pack up the balloon, which was fun. Just be careful where you step, since, as I said before, it's on a farm. With that said, wear appropriate shoes too.

Doing what: Hot Air Ballooning Tour from Cairns

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2014

The highlight of this tour was watching a platypus come to the surface and then dive again. Waiting for ripples in the water and then his reappearance was amazing. I'm still raving about the experience weeks later.

Doing what: Atherton Tablelands Rainforest Wildlife Tour by Night

4 star rating: Recommended
August 2014

This tour was amazing!

Doing what: Fitzroy Island Day Trip from Cairns

Roxane
Belgium

4 star rating: Recommended
August 2014

What a great day!
The weather was pretty and everything went good from boarding to way back.
The island is just paradise! Beautiful beaches, some walks, amazing underwater life, ... everything you could ask for!

The staff is really nice and the guy at the beach hire hut is just awesome! He's working as a biologist on the island as well, so he knows where to go snorkel at each time of the day and can really help you with that, just ask and you might be lucky enough to see a turtle or a clown fish around.
There are also walks on the island, I only did the shortest one to Nudey beach which definitely worths it. But I heard from locals that the ones to the lighthouse and the summit are really awesome too.
All together, I think that to really enjoy all the island has to offer (beaches, walks in the rainforest, snorkeling,...), the best thing would be to stay longer on the island (probably even just one or two nights, resort and campground possible).

I haven't rated it five stars because I just had a little "less". The only thing I would recommend is to take the activity pass 1 (not activity pass 2) and just choose between glass bottom boat and snorkel gear, according to how much you love water. I think doing both wasn't really useful and I would have loved to spend more time snorkeling as it was really pretty underwater or even have the chance to do a walk despite the glass bottom boat.

Anyway, all together it was a day in paradise and I really loved it! I would definitely recommend it to anyone who's around Cairns :)

Doing what: Fitzroy Island Day Trip from Cairns

3 star rating: Worth doing
August 2014

Absolutely loved the island but gave a couple of words to organises. Your snorkelling equipment is very old, rusty and leaking; next time I'll bring mine. Next time it would be much appreciated if you advise snorkelling spots before and font assume that everyone knows everything about the island.

Doing what: Fitzroy Island Day Trip from Cairns

3 star rating: Worth doing
August 2014

Absolutely loved the island but gave a couple of words to organises. Your snorkelling equipment is very old, rusty and leaking; next time I'll bring mine. Next time it would be much appreciated if you advise snorkelling spots before and font assume that everyone knows everything about the island.

Doing what: Fitzroy Island Day Trip from Cairns

3 star rating: Worth doing
August 2014

Good tour!

Doing what: Cairns Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2014

It was the most beautiful feeling floating along...serene ..spectacular...you must do it!!! This was mine and my daughter's "Welcome to Cairns " treat...the start of a stunning week in Cairns!!....The tour operator's were the best ...sooo fun and professional!....Tony was the best!!...thankyou so much !!!

Doing what: Hot Air Ballooning Tour from Cairns

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2014

One of the great experiences and highlights of our trip. The zoo was terrific and the dinner was wonderful. This is a must do adventure!

Doing what: Cairns Night Zoo Safari and Barbecue Dinner

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