Insider's Guide to Cairns & the Tropical North

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

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3 star rating: Worth doing 2 Reviews

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  • Location:Cairns, Australia
  • Duration:4 days (approx.)

4-Day Cairns and Great Barrier Reef Tour

Experience the highlights of Tropical North Queensland with this diverse 4-day tour of Cairns and surrounds. Explore the famous coral gardens and marine life of the Great Barrier Reef with a catamaran cruise, snorkeling adventure and visit to an underwater observatory. Delve into the area’s indigenous history on a tour of Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, and explore the village of Kuranda after a ride on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. All accommodation, ground transport and logistics are arranged for a smooth, hassle-free vacation.


  • 4-day Cairns experience with the Great Barrier Reef and Kuranda
  • Cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef by catamaran
  • View the coral from the underwater observatory and semi-submersible boat
  • Take the plunge and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
  • Enjoy a tour of the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park with an indigenous guide
  • Discover the Aboriginal history and culture through theatres, stage shows and demonstrations
  • Ride the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway above the canopy of Barron Gorge

What You Can Expect

4-Day Cairns and Great Barrier Reef Tour

Great Barrier Reef

Make the most of your time in Cairns with this curated 4-day tour that lets you experience highlights of the area’s remarkably diverse rain forest, reef and culture. The tour includes a balance of guided activities and free time to explore Cairns on your own. 

Experience the Great Barrier Reef from multiple angles with a catamaran cruise, snorkeling adventure and semi-submersible boat tour. Delve into the legends and history of the area’s indigenous people with a guided tour of Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and live heritage shows, and visit the tropical village of Kuranda by way of the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and Kuranda Scenic Railway. 

Choose from standard or first-class accommodation to suit your budget, and enjoy round-trip airport transfers for added convenience. Daily breakfast, one lunch, all park entrance fees and guided transport are included so you can skip the hassle of logistics and enjoy your time exploring the tropical treasures of North Queensland. 

See Itinerary below for a detailed description of each day’s activities and accommodation options.


Day 1: Cairns
After making your own flight arrangements to arrive at Cairns Airport, be picked up by airport transfer and taken to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day in Cairns at your leisure, strolling along the waterfront Esplanade or visiting the night markets.

Overnight: Rydges Esplanade (standard hotel) or the Hilton Hotel (first-class hotel), Cairns

Day 2: Cairns -- Great Barrier Reef -- Cairns (B, L)

After breakfast at your Cairns hotel, step on board a high-speed catamaran to cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef. After a reef education presentation by a marine naturalist, view the spectacular coral and tropical fish from the underwater observatory and semi-submersible craft. Take the opportunity to go snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and view this natural living wonder up-close (equipment provided). Enjoy a delicious tropical buffet lunch served on board the catamaran. Cruise back to Cairns in the early evening and have the rest of the night to spend at your leisure.

Overnight: your choice of accommodation, Cairns

Day 3: Cairns -- Tjapukai -- Skyrail -- Kuranda -- Cairns (B)

Following breakfast at your hotel, be immersed in the myths and legends of Australia’s indigenous people on a visit to the fascinating Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Follow your indigenous guide on a tour through the park and discover Australia's ancient culture through theater, stage shows and demonstrations. Watch a live performance celebrating traditional Tjapukai corroboree dances and songs, and hear the story of the Tjapukai people. Then take a ride on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to Kuranda, gliding above the trees of the Barron Gorge National Park and enjoy unbeatable views from the rainforest to the reef as you pass over the mountain range. Enjoy free time to explore Kuranda, known as the ‘village in the rainforest,’ and shop at the Heritage Markets. Return to Cairns on board the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway, traveling through the rainforest of the Barron Gorge National Park, crossing the impressive Stoney Creek Bridge and stopping for photos at Barron Gorge. Relax on the short drive back to your Cairns hotel, where you have the rest of the afternoon and evening to enjoy at your leisure.

Overnight: your choice of accommodation, Cairns

Day 4: Cairns (B)
After breakfast at your hotel, be transferred to Cairns Airport to connect with your onward flight.

Accommodation Options:

Rydges Esplanade Resort (Standard)
Rydges Esplanade Resort is in walking distance to a vast array of Cairns finest shopping and dining facilities. The resort has three swimming pools, one children's pool, two tennis courts, a complete health and fitness center and bar and restaurants.

Hilton Hotel (First-Class)
Situated 10 minutes from Cairns International Airport, the Hilton is within walking distance to the Reef Fleet terminal, shopping and restaurant precincts. Dine in one of the hotel's acclaimed restaurants, swim in the lagoon-style outdoor pool, or tone up in the gym and relax in the spa.

Customer Reviews


4 star rating: Recommended May 2015

The tour was great and definitely recommended. Particularly enjoyed blue mountain trip and harbor cruise. Great way to see Sydney in 2 days.

Laurent L

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better March 2014

Lousy communication form the organising company mars an otherwise pleasant stay. They didn't leave any notes or reminders at the hotel about pick-up times or options on the cruise. I called them and didn't even bother to inform me about the $150 options on the cruise. Carrying no cash when I go snorkeling (who does), I couldn't do them. I'm the customer, I'm the one paying, I'm the one who must be informed about EVERYTHING. It's not up to me to go phoning God knows who to collect information. Don't bother with this tour on Viator. So yeah ZERO COMMUNICATION is what this company provides. On the last day, my plane was leaving at 12.00. So I was expecting them at around 11.00 knowing the airport was like 6-7 minutes from the Hilton. They showed up at 10.15. Pffff, ended up paying for the cab myself. Apart from the disastrous communication, the excursions were good. Those suffering from motion sickness, please keep in mind the trip to the barrier is long and the sea can get rough. Very nice crew onboard, good food. The rainforest was lovely, Daniel was a great guide, excellent BBQ in the forest too.

From USD $ 476.96

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Tour code: 2230CC11


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