10 ways to discover Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef


  • Asia & Oceania
  • Saturday, 02 May 2015

Cairns is a fun-filled city offering treasured and unconventional experiences that you will not forget. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

If you're looking for an excuse for a getaway, you’ve found it. Best known as the gateway city to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, located in Queensland, Australia is the ideal destination for lovers of water, nature and adventure.

From its ocean-fronting esplanade, to weekend markets and overwhelming choices of adventure, Cairns is a fun-filled city offering treasured and unconventional experiences that you will not forget.

Here are 10 of them to cross off your list:

1.Reef extravaganza

Get acquainted with the Great Barrier Reef through a variety of ways.
Get acquainted with the Great Barrier Reef through a variety of ways. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s greatest wonders, stretching more than 2,000km and comprising of some 3,400 coral reefs, 1,500 species of fish and 400 varieties of corals.

Cairns offers you a multitude of ways to explore it. Apart from diving or snorkeling, try Seawalker where you don a special helmet and walk along a platform amongst the marine life. You can also ride the Scuba Doo – an underwater motorbike that comes with a bubble helmet – or hop a glass-bottom boat or a semi-submersible to stay dry. If you prefer a truly spectacular view of the reef, go on a scenic helicopter ride.

2.Wild rush

White water rafting is a must-do in Cairns.
White water rafting is a must-do in Cairns. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

Since Raging Thunder Adventures’ first trip down the rapids of Tully River in the ‘80s, Cairns has become a white water rafting and kayaking mecca. Go on a full-day or half-day white water rafting trip down the Tully or Barron River depending on how adventurous you are. Rapids range from grade two to four. Enjoy 44 exhilarating rapids on a full day rafting experience. For an even wilder ride, opt for the Xtreme Tully River White Water Rafting where you can move much faster down the river and have extra adventures such as jumping from the cliffs into the river, swimming down the rapids with your safety gear on, and raft surfing where your boat is held in place by the power of the rushing rapids.

3.Soar sky high

Be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the sunrise by taking a hot air balloon ride.
Be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the sunrise. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

If there’s anything worth dragging yourself out of bed at 4am for, it’s hot air ballooning. The view of the lush rainforest, sprawling farmlands and meandering streams are simply stunning. You may even spot a couple of hopping kangaroos.

Enjoy the beautiful sunrise if you’re on the first flight. If you’re on the second one, you’ll have a ball “chasing” the nine-story tall balloon in your coach (the wind direction determines where the balloon lands), as well as helping to pack up the balloon after you’ve landed.

4.Jump start

Adrenaline rush seekers will be thrilled with these jump styles with the AJ Hackett bungee rides.
Adrenaline rush seekers will be thrilled with these jump styles. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

Whether you’re a first-time jumper or a seasoned thrill seeker, bungee pioneer AJ Hackett guarantees they’ve got a jump to take you out of your comfort zone with its Jump Menu of 16 different jump styles. Now, there’s also the Minjin Jungle Swing, created to allow up to three people to experience extreme speed and adrenaline rush together.

5.Kuranda day out

The famed century-old Kuranda Scenic Railway.
The famed century-old Kuranda Scenic Railway. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

Take a day trip to Kuranda Village where there are colorful markets, cafes and wildlife sanctuaries to visit. To get there, hop on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway that spans 7.5km, giving you a bird’s eye view over of the ancient tropical rainforest. Head back to the city via the famous 100-year old Kuranda Scenic Railway that travels through lush rainforest, 15 tunnels, 98 curves and 40 bridges.

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