Your Guide to Cairns in Australia – The 9 Sights You Have to See
Australia is an exotic destination and full of adventure. The city of Cairns is particularly rich in culture, sports activities, and unspoiled nature.
If you’ve never been to Australia, Cairns is a great place to start.
Getting to know the spectacular continent is an adventure on its own, and you can have the time of your life in this Queensland city. Plan your trip carefully because you’ll want to have enough time to explore its sights.
Whatever you have in mind, Cairns isn’t going to leave you unsatisfied. Here’s a guide to Cairns to ensure you won’t miss any of the must-see attractions.
1. Great Barrier Reef
The world’s largest coral reef is a chief reason for people to visit Cairns. Although changes in the climate have caused damage to the corals, the reef is still colorful and attractive.
If you’re going to be in the northern part of Queensland, make sure to go snorkeling or scuba diving. It’s one of the best ways to marvel at the gorgeous reef. But if you’re not a fan of water sports, you can ride in a semi-sub and still get close enough to see the corals.
2. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
What’s the best way to see the Barron Gorge National Park? From up in the air!
This park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and there’s a cableway running above it. It’s almost 8km long and the view from above is practically indescribable.
Aside from the regular gondolas, there are also those with glass bottoms designed to elevate the whole experience. The Rainforest Interpretation Centre will make sure that you know what you’re looking at as you travel above the forest.
3. Kuranda Scenic Railway
What’s a travel guide to Cairns if it leaves out a trip to the mountain village of Kuranda? This one isn’t about to make that mistake. But, it’s not just any trip. The Kuranda Scenic Railway makes it unique and delightful.
That’s because the railway goes straight through the rainforest to give riders sights that are to die for. Filled with spectacular cascades and ravines, the whole trip lasts less than two hours.
But if that’s not to your liking, you can also opt to drive to Kuranda in a rental vehicle.
4. Butterfly Sanctuary
One of the most beautiful sights to see in Cairns is the Butterfly Sanctuary. It’s also known as the largest in the whole southern hemisphere.
And if you’re visiting Kuranda (see above), you should take your time to visit this butterfly aviary. It’s just a 10-minute walk from the Kuranda Scenic Railway Station.
More than 1500 tropical butterflies live here. If you’re in love with the idea of butterflies fluttering over you, why not put on a red, white, yellow, or pink T-shirt while you’re at it? You’ll be glad you did.
5. Dolphin and Whale Watching
In addition to the experience, dolphin and whale watching will form a heartwarming memory for every animal lover. The marine life of Cairns is abundant, especially around the Great Barrier Reef. In fact, the reef is also home to more than 30% of the world’s dolphin and whale species.
July, August, and September are particularly suitable for this. So if you’re traveling within this period, make sure to include this in your tour. It’s quite an experience to watch these spectacular mammals in their natural habitat.
6. The Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
Aboriginal culture is among the oldest on Earth. It’s why the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is one of Australia’s essential historic sites.
But even if you don’t care much for history, you’ll find this 15-minute drive from Cairns worthy and remarkable.
The park offers more than simple exhibitions of artifacts. There are dance and music performances, storytelling, and more for you to see and experience. You can also learn how to play a few instruments and attend a fire-started ceremony if you visit or stay till night.
7. St Monica’s Cathedral
Looking at St Monica’s Cathedral on the outside, you’ll never guess that this plain-looking building is a gem on the inside. For one, the breathtaking glass windows tell stories about the creation of life.
While you could compare St Monica’s Cathedral to any other in the world, it has its own charms. Take the tour if you want to hear the cathedral’s backstory. And if you’re lucky enough to visit on a Sunday, you can enjoy listening to the highly acclaimed choir.
8. Night Markets
The Night Markets are the penultimate entry to this guide to Cairns, Australia. When you’re done with relaxing and immersing yourself in nature, it’s time to experience this city’s vibrant spirit. Or, if you prefer, to blend into the hectic market atmosphere.
If you want to buy souvenirs and the artworks created by local designers and artisans, you should visit the market after 5 pm. Meanwhile, the local dishes and sweets are on display from 10 am to 11 pm all year round.
9. Fitzroy Island
Do ferry rides appeal to you? If so, how about spending a day walking barefoot on the beautiful sands of Fitzroy Island? The surrounding shades of blue can be the perfect windup for your vacation. As if to sweeten the deal, the island is just 45 minutes away from Cairns.
And if you’re interested in more than lying on your towel and getting a tan, you can kayak or snorkel to explore the corals. The Activity Pass on offer opens the door to extra sports equipment or a boat tour. For the latter, the glass-bottomed boats offer truly exceptional views!
The Australian Summer Heaven
If you’re searching for a perfect place to spend your summer vacation, you can’t go wrong with this Australian gem. We’ve made sure to include all the places that are worth your while in this guide to Cairns.
During the day, you can enjoy spectacular nature, historic sites, and sporting activities. Warm nights are perfect for exploring busy markets, cultural events, and Australian nightlife. Any or all of them can complement and lift your vacation to unforgettable levels.