It does not have to be expensive to have fun in Cairns. Do what the locals do: jump in the car, get on your bike or just point yourself in any direction and explore the area around you. Most locals get going early in the day to avoid the midday heat. From first light there are always active people doing their own thing along the Esplanade – Yoga, Pilates, Zuma, aerobics, birdwatching, playing Boule or just enjoying the view and another gorgeous sunrise. Wherever you might be staying there are interesting old houses, much loved gardens and public parks within a few minutes walk. In the evening between 5p-7pm don't miss the sight of thousands of flying foxes taking off on their nightly forage and squadrons of squabbling Lorikeets settling down for the night in the trees along the esplanade. These are a few favourite places that we like to visit:
The Cairns hinterland has a cooler climate with an altitude ranging from 450m between Julatten and Mareeba then rising to 819m at Atherton and 930m at Ravenshoe. Each of the day trips listed can take the best part of a day.
This is probably our favourite area to explore. We love the empty beaches north and south of Bramston, the gorgeous rainforest creeks coming off Queensland's largest mountains and the sheer beauty of flowering canefields against a 5000' mountain backdrop. From the air it is simply spectacular.
This is a fantastic drive through the rugged outback to Cooktown and back along the steep jungle track that links Bloomfield River with Cape Tribulation. The names along the coast tell a powerful story of the disaster that almost ended the first voyage of Lieutenant James Cook. HMB Endeavour struck the reef off Cape Tribulation and only survived because the sharp lump of coral broke off and plugged the hole. Mt Sorrow is the mountain behind Cape Tribulation with the long curving ridge line leading to the summit. Further north, the Bloomfield River empties into Weary Bay which was named by the crew who were exhausted from rowing the longboats and towing the stricken 368 tonne vessel. They realised that there was no safe harbor here and their troubles were not over. Mt Misery can also be seen from here. Eventually, they found a lee shore inside the mouth of the river which was named Endeavour after their ship. They careened their vessel on the southern bank for 7 weeks while they made repairs. Cooktown was established on the same site in the 1870s to serve the Palmer River goldrush. It was a wild town of adventure and romance in the early days of the goldrush - thousands flocked there including boatloads of indentured Chinese coolies who were given a wheelbarrow, a pick-axe and provisions for the 140km trek to the Palmer River goldfield.