A Week in Cairns, Australia: How to Make the Most of Your Time

International tourists have long known that Cairns is one of the best holiday destinations in Australia. With its access to lush rainforests, the Great Barrier Reef and a range of other natural attractions, it is the beating heart of Far North Queensland.

While the town itself may be smaller than the likes of Sydney and Melbourne, the experiences you can soak in cannot be found anywhere else in the world. This guide will help you plan your trip to Cairns and FNQ so you can make the most of one of the best tourist destinations you will ever visit.

Plan Your Stay At Hilton Cairns

First things first, you are going to need a place to call your base of operations and there is no better luxury accommodation than the Hilton Cairns. You can always expect the highest standards in Hilton Hotels and the Cairns option is no different.

Positioned right on the waterfront, you will have sweeping views of the crystal blue ocean and have access to all of the amenities including a pool that snakes around the complex that is ideal for your R&R time.

If the Hilton is not to your liking there are plenty of other Cairns hotels that are perfect for people from all walks of life, for all budgets and with access to all of the great FNQ attractions, including:

Paronella Park

The romantic dream of an early settler is today a must-explore masterpiece nestled in the rainforest flanking Cairns. It is a love story for the ages. Spaniard José Paronella wanted to build a castle for his sweetheart and spent 11 years toiling in the canefields in the early 1900s to earn enough money to buy the land. He then married his darling Margarita and they returned to Australia where they purchased 13 acres of virgin scrub.

Finally, they built the castle they always wanted – surrounded by waterfalls, water features and over 7000 lush tropical plants that is a full-fledged forest today. It included a theatre, a hall for dances and Great Gatsby-style parties and a museum of North Queensland curiosities.

To this day it remains an essential attraction and you will love wandering the storied gardens, the remains of the castle and soaking up the rich history and love that emanates from this unique tourist attraction.

Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef

Just north of Cairns is Port Douglas, a popular destination for celebrity spotting, cocktails by the beach and – most importantly – trips to the Great Barrier Reef.

No trip to Cairns and Far North Queensland would be complete without at least a day trip to one of the many reefs, where you will find pontoons, snorkelling opportunities and rich coral reef and marine life.

Beaches Where The Ocean Meets The Rainforest

Cairns is nestled beside the Daintree Rainforest, one of the riched ecosystems in the world and a uniquely North Queensland experience.

There are plenty of places to explore the rainforest in all of its majesty, but places like Mission Beach where the ocean meets the centuries-old trees is an experience that cannot be missed.

Take The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway To The Atherton Tablelands
Another unique experience is this 7.5-kilometre cableway that will transport you to Kuranda (another must-visit destination) in the Atherton Tablelands.

Along the way, you will view the tropical wetlands, Barron Gorge National Park (including the roaring waterfall that is the gorge itself) and a unique aerial view of Australia’s oldest rainforest.

Take the time to stay awhile in the Tablelands because there is so much to explore, including riverboat tours, the Kuranda Koala Gardens, Bird World, a butterfly sanctuary, a scenic railway tour, heritage markets and so much more.

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