Best Places to See in Cairns

Best Places to See in Cairns

If visiting Cairns isn’t on your bucket list, it should be. The Northern Australian region is home to some beautiful sites. And Cairns just so happens to be at the center of many of them.

Many natives call Cairns the Jewel of the North. If you’ve been there before, you’ll know that the statement is accurate. 

It doesn’t only provide access to one of the Seven Wonders of the World. But it also allows you to see some of the last remnants of undisturbed rainforest ecosystems anywhere in the world. Whether it’s sightseeing you want or immersing in crazy adventures, you can find it all in Cairns.

#1. Great Barrier Reef

cairns great barrier reef

The Great Barrier Reef is popularly known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It’s no wonder why it’s also the most popular attraction in Cairns. As expected, it’s something that tourists and locals visit on every occasion.

You can take the Fitzroy Island ferry to get there. On arrival, you can explore the area while on a boat or go underwater and immerse yourself in the unique marine environment. Diving and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef is a bucket-list-worthy activity.

#2. Daintree National Park

cairns daintree national park

The Daintree National Park is in one of the most memorable and pristine rainforests in the world. It spans over 745 miles and hosts some of the rarest plant and animal species. And many of the things you can see in Daintree you won’t see anywhere else in the world.

You can enjoy the rainforest as part of a tour. But there are many paths in the park where you can walk at your own leisure, too. 

Even Sir David Attenborough praised the fantastic Daintree ecosystem, so you know it’s not something you want to miss out on.

#3. Cairns Botanic Gardens

cairns botanic gardens

For even more lush vegetation, be sure to visit the Cairns Botanic Gardens. This is a perfect spot to visit when you’re not sure what to do in Cairns. And a stroll on the boardwalk lets you see a wide variety of tropical plants.

There are also many unique plants here. One example is the Amorphophallus Titanum. It can weigh up to 154 pounds, and a single leaf may grow up to 23 feet long.

#4. Kuranda Scenic Railway

cairns kuranda scenic railway

The Kuranda Scenic Railway is something you should consider experiencing for yourself when visiting Cairns. It offers an alternate view of the UNESCO World Heritage tropical forest that will leave you in awe.

The train has comfortable carriages that take you on a unique one and a half hour journey around Cairns. You can easily spot the Barron Gorge, see its waterfalls, and even stop at the famous Gold Class.

#5. Atherton Tablelands

cairns atherton tablelands

Another one of the best things to do in Cairns is taking a trip to the Atherton Tablelands. The iconic location is rich in wildlife and geological marvels. You can simply hop in your car and take a tour of the area at your own pace.

Here you can get close to the Crystal Cascades and the Millaa Millaa Falls. Then, find a good spot and enjoy a picnic while appreciating the surrounding natural beauty. You can even swim in many of the freshwater pools.

Better yet, make a day of it and explore the Atherton Tablelands on the biking trails.

#6. Walsh’s Pyramid

cairns walsh's pyramid

Not all the amazing locations in Cairns are a short car ride away. If you want to see the top of the majestic Walsh Pyramid, make sure to pack a pair of hiking boots.

The pyramid is 30 minutes outside Cairns and is one of the most amazing freestanding natural pyramids in the world. It’s also the tallest and a round trip trek takes around three hours. 

The view from the top of the pyramid is something you won’t soon forget. And any pictures you take will surely be postcard-worthy.

#7. Palm Cove beach

cairns palm cove beach

Palm Cove beach is, by far, Cairn’s most impressive beach. It’s an ideal place for swimming, relaxing, and even fishing. It’s soft sandy beaches are truly wondrous.

The picturesque backdrop and clear ocean waters border the beach and make it an unforgettable slice of heaven.

#8. Undara Lava Tubes

cairns undara lava tube

Visiting an extinct volcano is something you can do in many countries around the world. But in Cairns, the experience is even more awe-inspiring. 

You can visit the Undara lava tubes and see for yourself how extreme heat shapes the underground over millennia. Note that these are also estimated as being the longest lava tubes in the world. So you can spend quite a bit of time sightseeing.

#9. Esplanade Boardwalk and Lagoon

cairns esplanade

Cairns is very hot during the summer. Naturally, you’ll want to cool off before you do some more exploring. But what if you could do both things at the same time?

A trip to this saltwater lagoon might do the trick. 

This oasis allows guests to swim, making it perfect for cooling off on a hot day. You can also find volleyball courts and a rock climbing park between the shade of the lush forests. And you can even try your luck on a skate ramp.

But if you just want to relax, you can occupy one of the picnic areas and have a barbecue. Dig in and enjoy your favorite dishes against an iconic native backdrop.

#10. Tjapukai Aboriginal Park

cairns tjapukai aboriginal park

While it’s a manmade iconic attraction, yet it’s not one you ought to miss out on. Many call it the place where Australia begins after all.


Because it’s the place where you can learn everything about a 40,000-year-old culture. It’s a culture that dates back to long before the arrival of settlers. Here you can learn about the tribesmen through many interactive experiences and learn a few practices yourself.

Ready to Explore the Jewel of the North and All Its Wonderful Surroundings?

While these sites make the list of best things to see in Cairns, there’s a lot more to the region’s gem. There’s something amazing to see in Cairns wherever you look.

Whether you’re looking up, underwater, underground – you name it. Cairns is a tropical paradise that greets millions of tourists every year.

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Best Places to See in Cairns