Best Things To Do in Cairns, Australia

Are you looking for what to do in Cairns?


  • The Great Barrier Reef :  A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cairns is one of the best places from where you can marvel at the world’s richest ecosystem. No visit to Cairns is complete without a view of the Great Barrier Reef. If you don’t want to swim down to see the ecosystem in action, you could always cruise along the waters or take a scenic flight.
  • Daintree Rainforest National Park:  Dubbed as the oldest rainforest of the world, the Daintree Rainforest National Park is yet another World Heritage Site and a very popular tourist attraction. There are many hiking and walking tours that will take you to a part of the forest to get the feel of what a real forest sounds and looks like. Don’t venture away from the designated pathways and stay away from the water.
  • Kuranda Scenic Railway:  A 1 hour 45 minutes train ride through the Macalister Range, up to the little town of Kuranda offers an insight into the Aboriginal culture. The scenic train ride offers some magnificent vistas as the train climbs over the rainforest and up the mountain side.
  • The Esplanade:  There are some days when you just  don’t  want to sight see much and maybe relax and bask in the sun. The esplanade provides just that. Take a walk on the boardwalk and get a taste of some local life, have a swim or two in the lagoon pool where a part of the ocean has been barricaded to serve as a swimming pool and expand your culinary repertoire with some local food.
  • Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park:  Know everything there is to know about  the Aboriginal culture at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. The Creation Theatre, where actors enact the beginning of the world, through illusions and theatricals, as is depicted in the folklore of the Tjapukaj tribe; the History Theatre shows a 20 minute documentary  on what it was life before the white settlers arrived on their lands. Outside the museum, gallery and theatre(s) you could try your hand at throwing a boomerang and a spear and learn about life in the bush.

Below we have a list of things to do in Cairns and the places where you want to spend the best moments of your trip. At the same time, the city offers you the best neighborhoods to explore and new foods to try.

This list should help you in deciding and prioritizing what you should plan on your Cairns getaway. Find a mix of must-see tourist spots, underrated local hangouts, and maybe even a few new experiences you can try out.

Make the most of your trip to Cairns with confidence.

Tourist Attractions in Cairns

Here is the list of things to do in Cairns and tourist attractions in city.

  1. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

    4.6 (1695 Votes)
    Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

    Forest, Adventure, Cable Car

    It is world’s first cable car in environmental tourism. A trip in the glass floor Diamond View Gondolas of Skyrail gives you a remarkable experience over Australia’s top attractions like tropical rainforest. The cable car will take you above the forest and will descend into the canopy layers and enter into the heart of the forest. You can combine the cable car trip with other attrac...Read more
  2. Kuranda Scenic Railway

    4.2 (1684 Votes)
    Kuranda Scenic Railway

    Scenic Drive, Nature, Train Ride

    The town of Kuranda is a quaint little place located on a mountain side, the Macalister Range. Although the village town has its own raw charm, it’s the ride over the rainforest  and up to the mountain that sets the whole mood for the trip. The Kuranda railway line is only used to take tourists to and from Cairns. Hop abroad a vintage train and be prepared to take in the wonderful vi...Read more
  3. Paronella Park

    4.6 (1051 Votes)
    Paronella Park

    Outdoors, Bridge, Castle, Picnic Spot

    It is a popular tourist castle located near Mena Creek Falls, 120 kilometers south of Cairns. It was built by Jose Paronella in 1930. His dream was to build a castle between the woods and thus, he decided to build this place. The castle is surrounded by picnic areas near the falls, tennis court, bridges and a tunnel, adorned by beautiful dense tropical rainforest. 
  4. Palm Cove, Queensland

    Beach, Walking Area

    Popularly known as the northern beaches of Cairns, Palm Cove has grown up as a favorite tourist destination for many travelers. It is a cloistered ‘coastal community’ with palm trees lining the white sand beach where you can take a peaceful stroll. The resorts and villas are available to stay by. Hopefully you won’t flinch at the expense if the place is as beautiful as heaven.
  5. Cairns Tropical Zoo

    4.5 (1253 Votes)
    Cairns Tropical Zoo

    Wildlife Park, Zoo

    If asked, you’ll be more than prompt to name all the animals found in the African wilderness, but can you name the animals of Australia? The best place to find the answers- Cairns Tropical Zoo. The 10 acre zoo is a little piece of Aussie land for you right there. With tame kangaroos you can feed, koalas you can cuddle and snakes you can handle, the zoo is like a tiny piece of paradise. Fe...Read more
  6. Muddy's Playground


    It is a famous meeting spot and a fun and safe playground for both families and kids. The water features available within the park are wonderful; offering entertainment to both adults and kids. Other features like Flying fox, sound chimes, track ride, rope-bridge, slides, play houses, storytelling areas and see-saw are available within the park. Beside these, the park has a café where yo...Read more
  7. Cairns Hot Air Ballooning

    4.8 (1314 Votes)
    Cairns Hot Air Ballooning


    A must-do activity if you wish to enjoy the scenic beauty of tropics from thousands feet above the land! In early morning, the balloon will take you high above the sky, letting you fly with the first birds of the dawn. The magical and memorable part of this trip is the balloon itself. It floats with the wind. That’s why; this tour is generally held in early morning as the wind remains at ...Read more
  8. Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

    Outdoors, Wildlife Sanctuary , Bird Watching

    Explore the world of the tropical habitat of butterflies! Barely an hour’s drive away from Cairns; is this exotic world of butterflies, commonly known as Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. The sanctuary has been working for the last 20 years and is said to be the largest butterfly flight aviary in Australia. The serenity of fresh water flowing from the waterfalls and the tropical plants all ...Read more
  9. Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

    Art And Culture, Outdoors, Entertainment, Performance

    There’s no better place, other than Central Australia, to know about the Aboriginal culture. Start at the Creation Theatre, where, going by its name, actors with the help of illusion and theatrics to retell the genesis of it all from the beliefs of the Tjapukai tribe. After this riveting performance, move on to the Magic Space museum and the History Theatre where a compelling 20 minute do...Read more
  10. Kuranda Rainforest Nature Park

    Outdoors, Park, Nature

    Set in 100 acres of pristine rainforest, Kuranda Rainforest Nature Park is considered as Australia’s World Heritage-listed tropical forest. Come and explore this beautiful rainforest. Enjoy the experience of the Army Duck Rainforest tour within the Tropical Fruit Orchard, Pamagiri Aboriginal and Kuranda’s largest Koala & wild-park.
  11. The Esplanade

    Waterfront, Landmark, Walking Area, Broadway

    A signature landmark of any seaside town is its boardwalk. One of the best places to actually experience the city and see what the residents of that place are made up of, the boardwalk is perennially brimming with activity. The esplanade at Cairns is no exception to the rule. The best way to experience the vibe is to simply take a walk along boardwalk. Street art, trees providing shady respite ...Read more
  12. Fitzroy Island National Park

    National Park, Water Body, Wildlife Park, Walking Area

    A large island with bumpy terrain and dense vegetation describes Fitzroy Island National Park. The island is still considered as a virgin island as many of its corners are still unexplored. The island is covered with mangroves, tropical rainforest and coral beaches where you can walk around, coral reef and wonderful marine life. Ideal for a day trip from Cairns city center! Activities to do: W...Read more
  13. Cairns Regional Gallery

    4.4 (886 Votes)
    Cairns Regional Gallery

    Art And Culture, Art Gallery, Heritage Building

    Not only is the Cairns Regional Gallery a prime destination for all things art, the building it’s housed is a historic landmark. Home to some of the exquisite historical and contemporary art from artists home and away, the Gallery has a majority of its exhibits from the Far North of Queensland. The building, a government building in its glory days is two storied constructed from red brick...Read more
  14. Great Barrier Reef

    Outdoors, Geological Formation, Water Body, Water Sport

    One of the most picturesque wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Great Barrier Reef is definitely on everyone’s bucket list. There’s no better place you’d want to come in close contact with the marine life, snorkel, dive or even  fly over. The world’s richest ecosystem thrives within this gift of nature. You can’t visit Australia and not ...Read more
  15. Daintree Rainforest National Park

    Outdoors, National Park, Nature, Unesco Site

    Considered to be the oldest rainforest of the world, the Daintree Rainforest is Australia’s pride and joy. Located a little outside of Cairns, the Daintree Rainforest is in the top favourite tourist attractions. Listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Daintree is a protected rainforest and there are tours that take to a part of the rainforest. A word of caution, don’t  stray ...Read more