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Cairns and Northern Beaches

With the Great Barrier Reef on your front doorstep and breathtaking tropical rainforest out the back, this laid-back city is where your adventures begin.

Take the plunge into reef-marbled waters and dense tropical rainforests from Cairns, a major city in northern Queensland and a gateway to some of the country’s most famous World Heritage wonders. Cairns pulses with the life of its natural surroundings, while its cosmopolitan hum makes it a great spot to base your tropical north Queensland adventures. Embark on a tour of the iconic Great Barrier Reef, see the rainforests of the Wet Tropics or simply kick back on sandy white beaches fringed by palms at the Northern Beaches.

Linger a while in Cairns to discover the city’s local treasures. Take a dip at the Esplanade Lagoon, check out the marina or pick up regional delights from the farmers’ market. Cairns Tropical Zoo showcases the diverse wildlife that resides in Queensland’s tropical north.

Discover postcard-perfect waters along Cairns’ Northern Beaches. Trinity Beach offers family-friendly swimming areas, while Palm Cove is the ideal romantic getaway. Enjoy the seclusion of Clifton Beach beneath the shade of a coconut palm.

When you’re ready to explore a little further, head to the Reef Fleet Terminal for a wide range of coral-cay sightseeing and diving tours, or jump on board the historic railway that takes passengers through breathtaking rainforest to the town of Kuranda. Check out Barron Gorge National Park to soar over the Wet Tropics on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Book a white-water rafting adventure on the Tully, Barron or North Johnstone rivers. Explore ancient rainforests at Cape Tribulation and the Daintree or take a four-wheel drive journey through the hinterland savannah and fertile plateau of the Atherton Tablelands.

Cairns is located on Queensland’s northern coast and is accessible via its own domestic and international airport, as well as the coast’s major arterial highway. The Northern Beaches are about a 15-minute drive from the city. Accommodation options include island resorts and rainforest lodges. Chat to the lifeguards before swimming between November and May, as stingers can make the waters extremely dangerous. Peak visitor times are between June and August, when the climate is warm and dry.

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