Cairns is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city nestled between the sea life of the Great Barrier Reef and the rolling downs of the Atherton Tablelands. As the gateway to the wet tropics, the city buzzes with a lively mix of travelers, from backpackers to luxury-seekers keen to soak up the sun. As night falls, the wide streets come alive with bars, galleries, and seafood restaurants enticing diners by the waterside.
Snorkel, dive or simply recline on a glass-bottomed boat to admire the breathtaking wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. Take a luxurious day trip to Port Douglas, an hour’s drive north, to dine on succulent seafood and shop in fashion boutiques. Walk among the towering ancient trees and lush greenery of the World Heritage Daintree Rainforest, keeping an eye out for brilliantly colored butterflies and rare tropical birds; or marvel at enormous prehistoric reptiles in one of the region’s crocodile parks.
Closer to home, take a stroll down the Esplanade to find countless dining options and interesting shops. By night the same stretch comes alive with the Night Markets, where clothes, trinkets, and Australian keepsakes are all up for grabs. Spend days simply soaking up the tropical sun on the beach, splashing about in the water when the heat gets too much.