Although widely known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics region, Cairns is a destination in itself, with a permanent holiday atmosphere and an abundance of excellent local attractions and activities. Tropical island clichés are in abundance as palm trees sway gently in the breeze by the Esplanade Lagoon and the sky explodes with colour as the sun sets over the Coral Sea.
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest Wet Tropics are of course the star attractions, but those in the know will make time for the glamorous northern beaches, the leisurely Atherton Tablelands food and wine trails and the quaint village experience of Kuranda and its scenic railway.
The town is the ideal host to its famous natural attractions and Cairns locals remain friendly and welcoming as more than two million tourists descend upon them from across the globe every year. Surrounded by reef and rainforest, Cairns has no shortage of things to see and do and there are literally hundreds of tours and day trips on offer. In between those, there is excellent shopping and plenty of spots to just stroll and admire the surrounds. Of course, everybody needs to eat and all tastes are catered for – from Aussie steakhouses to sushi trains, classic pizza joints, and Greek taverns, and fresh local seafood is always just a few steps away.
Cairns is the perfect blend of relaxed beach village and cosmopolitan city. European backpackers wander past five-star hotels and sandy tanned surfers mingle in bars with the glamorous elite, fresh off their yachts from a day sailing the nearby islands. Cairns is all you would expect and nothing you anticipated, all at once – but the perfect weather, great food and resort style vibe will sweep you away regardless.