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Things to See & Do in Tropical North Queensland

Queensland Australia
Queensland Australia Tourism Queensland & Darren Jew
Queensland Australia Tourism Queensland
Queensland Australia Tourism Queensland & Darren Jew
Queensland Australia
Queensland Australia
Queensland Australia
Queensland Australia
Queensland Australia
Queensland Australia
Queensland Australia
Queensland Australia
Queensland Australia
Queensland Australia Tourism Queensland
Queensland Australia
Queensland Australia
Queensland Australia
Queensland Australia

Things to See & Do in Tropical North Queensland

story by: Inspire Queensland

How’s this for a picture-perfect holiday? You’re floating in an aquamarine sea watching fish swarm in and around psychedelic coral formations, while the sun warms both your back and the white sand. Shortly you’ll exit the water, and resign yourself to another feast of fresh fruit, seafood and other good things. You probably couldn’t fit more tropical holiday clichés in one place, but happily, a holiday in the islands of North Queensland is anything but a cliché. There are so many options to choose from. Take the family for a fun getaway or flee to a couples-only luxury resort for some alone time; spend your days waterskiing and scuba diving or do nothing more energetic than occasionally flopping out of your hammock and into the pool.

OUR FAVOURITE THINGS TO SEE & DO

THE GREAT BARRIER REEF – The hundreds of islands and reefs in this World Heritage listed wonder are what dreams are made of, whether it’s large islands made for exploration, sophisticated romantic retreats or secluded coral atolls. Take a flight over the reef, observe its wonders from underwater, dive into the deep or cruise it in a yacht – the reef’s spectacular beauty will take your breath away. 

RAINFORESTS & NATIONAL PARKS – A haven of cool lush greenery, trickling streams and exotic wildlife. Take a dip in the cool waters as you watch fish darting below and flashes of blue from kingfishers and butterflies flitting around a canyon of towering greenery. 

ATHERTON TABLELANDS – On a rolling plateaux around 700m above sea level, this breathtaking and diverse area is a land of lakes, waterfalls and rainforest. It’s a great place to escape the heat of the coast and it’s just over an hour from Cairns. 

TROPICAL FOOD – The Tropical North is home to a huge array of tropical fruits, tea and coffee plantations, and fruit wineries all complimented by some of the freshest seafood around. Head out and explore tasting the local delicacies. 

ADVENTURE – If you’re looking for some excitement, diving, sailing and snorkelling are fairly obvious choices, but how about white water rafting on the Tully River, fishing for black marlin in the Coral Sea or bungy jumping from a purpose built tower in the rainforest? 

MOSSMAN GORGE CENTRE – The gateway to the Mossman Gorge World Heritage Site, the centre provides one of Australia’s most authenic Aboriginal experiences and is the perfect option for visitors looking for a genuine engagement with Indigenous Australia.

Cairns 

Cairns is much more than the arrival gateway to Tropical North Queensland. In the mornings you can stroll down to the marina to watch the reef boats depart, then head for your favourite spot amidst the eateries, juice bars and ice-cream parlours that line the bustling esplanade. The whole town has a colour and vibrancy that lasts from the early hours of the morning until late at night. You can share picnic tables and BBQs along the waterfront with tourists from all nations, or spend some time in the esplanade’s 4,800 square metre patrolled swimming pool. Cairns is a great jumping-off point for the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkelling, scuba, sailing: it’s all so accessible, you’ll need a few extra days just to recover!

Once fully recuperated, make sure you visit the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway located in the World Heritage Rainforest. A world-first in environmental tourism, gondolas soar over the tropical canopy for 7.5km. A fascinating experience, you'll absorb all the delights of the rainforest, from the sights to the noises of the tropical flora and fauna below. The Skyrail experience is 90 minutes one-way and for a return journey ​you'll want to allow a full 2.5 hours.

Trinity Beach 

If you really want to take time out and enjoy the quiet life, then Trinity Beach is the place for you. It is a quiet, relaxed, beachside suburb just a 20 minute drive from Cairns. Enjoy a barbecue beachside, join the locals for a beer at a hotel with the best water views in town, cast a line from the shore or build a sandcastle with the kids. 

If you feel like getting out and about, the central location makes it perfect for exploring the rest of Tropical North Queensland, you’re just 15 minutes from Palm Cove and 45 minutes from Port Douglas, or venture further to the Atherton Tablelands or Daintree Rainforest and be home in time for dinner.

Palm Cove 

Just 25 minutes from Cairns, this laid back little town certainly lives up to its name – a cove with a white sand beach lined with palms and splendid views out to sea. There’s a fantastic selection of beautiful resorts, boutiques, restaurants and cafés lining the Esplanade. Although the town has gained in popularity it has still managed to keep its small town charm. You’ll find an array of day spas where you can pamper yourself silly. Or if you’re in the mood for some exploring, try heading out to the Great Barrier Reef or check out Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures where you can cruise in the lagoon alongside the crocs. Finding the right place for a romantic getaway in this slice of paradise is easy!

Port Douglas 

Port Douglas is a relaxed seaside village that also serves as a jumping-off point for the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing, jetskiing: it’s all so accessible, you’ll need a few extra days in those spas just to recover. Perhaps surprisingly, this little town is home to some world-class restaurants, fashionable boutiques, spas and exclusive accommodation – it’s not unusual to rub shoulders with celebrities. It’s actually hard to believe this once sleepy fishing village has developed into the cosmopolitan seaside village it is today. Its infectious laid-back charm will lure you back time and time again. Despite its relatively small population of 3000 residents, its attractions mean that at times it’s positively heaving with tourists, all keen to experience the reef and the rainforest.

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