If you are planning a trip to Australia be sure to include Cairns. Here are some tips when visiting Cairns…
Best time to go: If you ask people in Cairns they will tell you that August is the best month to visit due to the low humidity and lower temperatures. However, we feel any time you want a tropical getaway Cairns is your place. The lowest rainfall is between July and November and the highest between January and April. We were just there in January and it did get very hot and humid.
Why Cairns: The biggest reason to visit Cairns hands down is the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkeling the reef is a must for any Bucket-Lister. It is definitely worth the money, you won’t regret it. Throughout our travels, snorkeling the reef remains one of our all time top five favorite things we have done. We recommend Reef Magic Cruises, they are the last locally owned reef cruise company left.
Things to do:
- Take a day cruise and snorkel or dive the Great Barrier Reef. Be sure to take a towel and underwater camera. Reef Magic Cruises will provide a wet suit, snorkel gear, and a lunch buffet.
- Spend the day sunning and relaxing at the Cairns Esplanade Swimming Lagoon. The lagoon is close to restaurants, bars, and the local casino. Spend your day at the lagoon, take a nap, get ready and have a nice dinner, then head to the casino to finish your evening.
- If you are feeling really adventurous then skydive the reef.
- If you are feeling a little less adventurous and want to see some wildlife then try the Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation and Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary Day Tour or the Kuranda Scenic Railway Day Trip from Cairns.
- We do not recommend white water rafting in Cairns if you have rafted any major river. You will be sadly disappointed. But if you just want a fun day on the water – go for it.
Whatever you decide we think you will love Cairns. Click here for more great ideas.
Car Hire: Car hire is pretty straight forward in Cairns. The roads are good and rental is affordable. They drive on the left hand side of the road so remember the mantra – STAY LEFT & LOOK RIGHT.
There are a couple of great day trips from Cairns. Take a drive up the coastline to Port Douglas . It is an hour long ridiculously scenic Great Barrier Reef Drive. Be sure to stop at Rex Lookout for a photo op and spectacular views of the mountains and Coral Sea. Kuranda is probably one of the most popular day trips from Cairns. There is so much to see and do including Kurana Koala Gardens where you can see some of Australia’s wildlife up close.
If you decide not to hire a car – Uber is a great alternative.
Where to stay: We recommend 2 areas in Cairns depending on your interests. If you want to hang out at the Lagoon and see great views of the Ocean then somewhere along the Esplanade is ideal. Vision Cairns . If you want to be close to shopping, bars, and restaurants then the Abbot or Grafton and Spence Street area is ideal. Abbot Cairns
Cairns is small enough that many attractions are within walking distance or just an Uber ride away. Cairns locals are like all the other people we have met in Australia, extremely friendly and happy to give you advise on the local restaurants and attractions.
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