Cairns has a way of whisking you off to distant places, carried on the cooling Coral Sea breeze.
The azure waters and coral beaches of Fitzroy and Green Islands could well be those of Fiji or French Polynesia, while the rainforest-clad peaks of the encircling Gillies Range are reminiscent of Maui or Phuket. Exploring the rainforest village of Kuranda brings sudden flashbacks of Ubud or Chiang Mai, and the sights, sounds and smells of the Cairns Night Markets are a non-stop magic carpet ride to the steamy back-streets of Bangkok or Singers. It’s actually quite hard to shake the feeling of being somewhere else, even though this is our own patch of paradise and no passport is needed to get here!
The gateway to Tropical North Queensland has long reigned as an Australian holiday hotspot, but if it’s your first visit, forget any preconceptions you may have about Cairns. Because this is a destination packed to the palm-tree-tops with surprises.
Here are ten of the best things to do in Cairns on a first visit.