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great barrier reef

72 Hours in Cairns: Top 3 Must-Dos

Breeanna D
by Breeanna Donohoe

January 31, 2018

3 minute read

Cairns, known as the gateway to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, is a small city in far North Queensland. Both tropical and cosmopolitan, Cairns is the perfect place to spend 72 hours of relaxation and adventure time. Cairns town features many buzzing bars and restaurants that showcase delicious North Queensland produce. Drive twenty minutes out of town and you’ll be lost in the Daintree National Park – which hosts rugged rainforest, deep gorges and beautiful beaches.

There’s an overwhelming amount to see and do while in Cairns, so if you’re lucky enough to find yourself there for at least 72 hours, you’ll be happy to chose to do these three activities:

1. The Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef2

The reef is the absolute pride and joy of Australia. There are many ways to experience the 2300 kilometres of beautiful coral and sea life. One option is to go by private catamaran, the other is to go by public ferry, or you could also choose to helicopter around the reef. No matter what, the reef’s beauty will shine from all of these vantage points.

If you choose to travel to a pontoon or island on the reef you will have the option to take a scuba diving class, or you can grab a snorkel set with flippers and venture into the sea on your own. There's nothing quite like floating in the warm, shallow waters with a vast array of colourful fish swimming around you.

2. Skyrail Gondolas and Kuranda Train

rainforest cable ride

Riding in the glass bottomed Skyrail Gondolas is an amazing experience, and the perfect way to see the incredible Daintree Rainforest which surrounds Cairns. The Gondola line is 7.5 kilometres long, with the highest tower being 40.5 metres high. The first station is based in Cairns and the final station is located at the picturesque town of Kuranda – nicknamed the Village in the Rainforest. On the way up to Kuranda there are various terminal stations for passengers to get off, walk around, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of tree tops and waterfalls. This is also a great opportunity to learn about Aboriginal culture at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Once you arrive at the end of the line in Kuranda town you can enjoy the many cafes, gift shops, and market stalls. The town is home to the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Birdworld Kuranda, Australian Venom Zoo, and Kuranda Koala Gardens.

From Kuranda you can catch the Scenic Railway Train back to Cairns. The train is a historic steam train that travels under the spectacular Barron Falls waterfall... The perfect photo opportunity!

3. Visit a Crocodile farm!

croc feeding

Hartley’s Crocodile Farm is absolutely the best place to see native Australian wildlife while you’re in Cairns. Not only can you take a cruise down the lagoon to see huge crocodiles, but the farm also plays host to a vast array of creatures from slimy snakes to cuddly koalas. Hartley’s guides are extremely knowledgeable on Australian fauna, and you’ll be an expert too by the time you leave!

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