By far the most important tourism attraction in Cairns is its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef. It is at this point that the reef itself is closest to the mainland making access for charter boats easier. Cairns has a huge recreational scuba diving industry with several large diving schools and hundreds of charter boats. The industry caters for everyone. You may be a total novice or a highly trained professional, but you can be sure, you will find someone who runs a charter that caters to your requirements. Day trips on fast, ocean going catamarans are the most popular and these carry hundreds of tourists on each trip. This type of operation usually runs to a permanent pontoon anchored on the Great Barrier Reef, from which tourists can snorkel and dive with professional staff looking after the safety of their guests. Other services include day sailing trips to the reef and extended diving expeditions to remote reef to cater for the more adventurous certified divers.
Read our blog about things to do in Cairns.
The city of Cairns
lies in the tropical regions of far north Queensland. For many decades it has been at the forefront of Australia’s tourism industry as it provides access for several of the country’s world heritage listed natural attractions. In the early days, Cairns became famous as a big game fishing destination and internationally known sports fishermen like Zane Grey and Bob Dyer made an annual pilgrimage to Cairns in an attempt to catch a world record black marlin. In those early days, local radio stations made live crosses to the game fishing fleet whenever an angler was hooked up to a “Grander” ( a marlin over 1000kg ). Large fish were brought back to the Cairns marlin jetty for weighing and half the town would turn out to watch.
Over the years the focus of tourism in the region has turned to eco tourism and the Great Barrier Reef and the local rainforests are now the centre of attention. Where the Cairns marlin jetty once stood is now occupied by a modern marina full of charter boats of all descriptions and overlooked by a number of modern luxury hotels. In the early days, Cairns was the major shipping port for far north Queensland and its wide streets are a relic of the days when cargo was dragged to the docks on bullock drays. The width of the streets was determined by the area needed to turn a bullock dray around. These wide streets now serve the city well as they provide excellent access for lots of traffic, tourism vehicles, plenty of parking and wide footpaths.
Cairns is surrounded by rainforest. To the west Of Cairns is the Atherton Tablelands and to the north is the Daintree Rainforest. You can visit all of these regions either on a day trip or by spending a few days in eco accommodation located deep in the rainforest itself. The Daintree is the most popular of these and most tours include a visit to the Cape Tribulation area and a cruise on the Daintree River to see the local crocodiles. There are several wildlife parks in the Cairns region where it is possible to see all of the local wildlife in controlled conditions. Cairns also has many other attractions and activities that are popular with tourists. The Tjapukai Aboriginal culture centre is a great place to visit and learn about the local Aboriginal people’s history and culture. The Skyrail departure point is next door and this cable car will take tourists up the range to Kuranda on the Atherton Tableland. The gondolas travel at tree top level giving patrons the opportunity to experience the rainforest at canopy level. The return journey to Cairns can be on the conventional train which provides spectacular views of the Barron River and its massive waterfalls.
Cairns provides all the necessary infrastructure to make sure your holiday is superb. There are great hotels, resorts and apartments, corporate lodgings and relaxing accommodation, a massive ocean front swimming pool and water park complex as well as dozens of great restaurants, cafes and alfresco pubs and eateries. There are golf courses and fishing expeditions as well as fantastic shopping facilities. Cairns has an international airport and there are regular services to both Australian and international destinations. No visit to Australia is complete without some of your holiday time being spent in Cairns.