1. Chase waterfalls
The area’s waterfalls are among the country’s best and the warm climate means you can swim nearly all year round. Josephine Falls is popular due to its natural rock slide. Crystal Cascades is great because it’s only 25 minutes from the city. Pepina Falls and Souita Falls are some of the gems of the Tablelands.
2. Head to Tinaroo
Lake Tinaroo is a very popular weekend getaway spot with locals. The ‘lake’ is actually a dam and you’ll see people enjoying kayaking, jet-skiing, wakeboarding and fishing in these waters. With a number of camping spots, the Tablelands-based landmark is an ideal place to spend a few days, have fun in the water and explore the surrounds.
3. Enjoy the beaches
It may come as no surprise that one of the best things to do in Cairns is to explore the beaches. On the drive from Cairns city to Palm Cove, you’ll come across numerous turn-off to various beaches. Head down any one of them and you’ll be greeted by stretches of beautiful sand and clear waters. Most have little cafes and restaurants with ocean views too.
4. Spend the day on Fitzroy
Fitzroy Island is just a short ferry ride from Cairns and offers so much for visitors. Either stay for a few days and stay in the resort (or camp) or do a day trip. You can snorkel right from the beach, hire kayaks and paddleboards and enjoy a drink in the bar overlooking the Coral Sea. There are also some incredible walks, including a short walk to Nudey Beach, voted Australia’s best. Careful though, make sure you take some water-booties; the beaches are lined with broken (yet smoothed) coral, rather than sand.
5. See The Great Barrier Reef
Cairns is one of the best places to see the Great Barrier Reef, and there are a number of ways you can do this. From snorkel and dive day trips, to overnight pontoon stays, depending on your budget and personal style, you’ll be able to experience the reef in the right way for you.
6. Explore The Tablelands
The Atherton Tablelands are more than just rolling hills and pretty scenery. The Tablelands are foodie’s dream; coffee plantations, wineries, dairies and even a strawberry farm welcome visitors. CoffeeWorks, Gallo Dairyland and Mount Uncle Distillery are among the most popular. From a natural standpoint, waterfalls and waterholes abound!
7. Embrace Your Adventurous Side
Go bungee jumping at AJ Hackett, head to the Barron River for white water rafting, zoom around Cairns Inlet on Bad Fishy, or take a canyoning tour at Behana Gorge. Cairns is an adventurer’s paradise, so if you’re a thrill-seeker, you’re in luck!
8. Discover Australia’s Rich Culture
The Mossman Gorge Centre, Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel, Jarramali Rock Art Tours and Walkabout Cultural Adventures are all unbelievable ways of connecting with this ancient culture.
Want access to the best free camps, top walks, events, local secrets (and more) in the Cairns and Tablelands region? Click here to get your Big Lap Bible now.