QLD Activities

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Situated on the coast in the wonderfully tropical climate of Far North Queensland, Cairns is a brilliant base for an island or rainforest holiday.

The city itself is full of world class restaurants, relaxed cafes, pubs and bars and some great shopping spots all with the back drop of the lush green mountains and the sparkling waters of the Coral Sea.

There are also a number of wonderful places near Cairns that call for day drips. Less than 30km north of Cairns is Palm Cove, a spot so relaxing that even Captain James Cook used it for a rest stop when he first discovered Australia.

Heading south from Cairns you’ll hit the old sugar milling towns of Gordonvale and Edmonton. These towns have a unique character through the historic buildings that date as far back as the 1930s. Go east (on a boat of course) and you'll reach the Great Barrier Reef, a must-see wonder of the world.

Cairns City

There’s an endless supply of things to do in this tropical city. Whether you’re after a beach holiday with which to spend every day in the sun, sand and water, a family holiday of fun activities, romantic resort stay with cosy restaurants and beautiful sunsets or an exploration of Australian history and bushland you’ll find it all in and around Cairns.

Cairns Accommodation

There is a large range of accommodation styles to choose from when holidaying in Cairns. Stay in your own self-contained apartments, business style hotels, luxurious resorts, resorts catering to families and even some wonderful hostels for backpackers on a budget.

Cairns Esplanade

Cairns EsplanadeRight in the centre of the city is the Cairns Esplanade, the epicentre of fun in Cairns. It all starts with the Esplanade Lagoon, a 4,800 square metre saltwater swimming pool complete with sandy shores and shallow areas for kids. The Lagoon is surrounded by shady trees and barbeque facilities attracting visitors all year round.

The Harbour Walk takes you past the lagoon, the Marina and ends at Trinity Inlet. The Harbour Walk is popular for bird watchers and even has a directory of the birds you’re likely to see and a high powered telescope.

Browse the artworks that are spread throughout the Esplanade in the form of unique sculptures made by local artists. For a wonderful day of shopping visit on weekdays between 10am - 4pm and Sunday 8am - 5pm to experience the Esplanade Markets. Take a walk through the stalls of locally made art, fashion, leather work, woodwork, pottery, delectable foods and more. You can even sit down for a therapeutic massage or watch the street buskers as they entertain large crowds.

Cairns Restaurants

You cannot visit Cairns without dining out and taking advantage of a city between two amazing food producing regions. By land you have the Atherton Tablelands full of prime cattle grazing farms and tropical fruit orchids. Then the Coral Sea is the source of some of the freshest seafood in the country.

Take a tour of some of the best seafood restaurants, steak houses, Italian, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and some spectacular Yum Cha restaurants. Take a walk after dinner and enjoy a fresh coffee, fruit juice or some decedent ice cream parlours.

Cairns Shopping

There are a range of Cairns shopping spots that cater to everything from beach clothes to luxury Australian and International designer fashion. There are also several places that host markets including the Cairns Night Markets which sell a variety of interesting items from crocodile skins to pearls.

Palm Cove

Only 27km north of Cairns, Palm Cove is a stretch of sandy beaches lined with palm trees and sapphire waters lapping at the shore. There are many holiday homes in Palm Cove designed to lap up the stunning surrounds and glorious tropical weather all year round. Visitors can make the most of this laid back lifestyle with a variety of accommodation options that includes beach houses, self-serviced apartments, resorts with ocean views and even a Caravan Park on the beachfront.

A stay at Palm Cove is all about relaxation, which is why the town has become known as the spa capital of Australia. There is a huge range of spas that use botanical ingredients and are set to pampering you with treatments for the body and soul. There are even a few open air spas down by the beach.

Like Cairns, Palm Cove enjoys the proximity of thriving beef and seafood producers making the town’s dining experience one to write home about. There are some lovely restaurants that offer alfresco dining and even the opportunity to enjoy a scrumptious meal under the North Queensland stars.

Gordonvale & Edmonton

The two old sugar milling towns of Gordonvale & Edmonton are must stops for road trippers wanting to see and experience Queensland life and history. There is a great selection of traditional pub style accommodation, as well as quaint Bed & Breakfasts and Caravan Parks in the area for you to experience the best of Far North hospitality.

Only 25km out from Cairns you’ll hit Gordonvale first, a small town characterised by its sugar milling history and the old buildings from the 1930s and 40s that still stand. Visit the landmark that is Walsh’s Pyramid (also known as Pyramid Hill), for a steep walk to the summit of this free standing volcanic mountain in the shape of an Egyptian pyramid.

Another 12km on and Edmonton is a little more developed than its smaller neighbour as it has grown to become almost another suburb of Cairns. Here you will find quaint old historic buildings as well as some more upmarket accommodation.

The town’s main attraction however is Sugarworld – a leisure park of waterslides, pools and parklands offering visitors a cool respite from the tropical heat. Constructed by CSR the park also includes a botanical garden feature, a licenced bar, kiosk, a pool and 4 waterslides.


Babinda BouldersA nice, scenic 57km drive out of Cairns just off the Bruce Highway is Babinda. This beautiful little centre is named after the Aboriginal word “binda” which means falling water. This could be referring to the several cascading waterfalls in the nearby mountain range or for the fact that the town is one of the wettest places in Australia. Babinda receives over 4 metres of rainfall per year!

There are a number of cabins and lodges to stay in out here as many use this place as a base for exploring the magnificent National Parks that surround the town. There are also rainforest retreats, motels and old pubs from yesteryear.

For a true piece of Australiana stay in the Babinda State Hotel; the only hotel constructed by the Queensland State Government. The grand building was opened in 1917 under the Labor State Government’s State Enterprising Scheme until it was sold in 1930. The grand building situated in the main street of the town still operates as the town pub and offers accommodation for visitors.

Just to the west of Babinda is a place known as ‘the Boulders’, a series of large boulders sitting in the river that have been worn smooth over time by torrential rains. The water is beautiful and cool attracting many swimmers to relax in the pools and escape from the heat. Camping grounds nearby have picnic and barbeque facilities as well as a creek walking path and viewing platforms.

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