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House of Travel
If you think you were a mermaid in a past life, then slipping into the water will feel like a second skin. Some people are just born water babies, and nothing makes them happier than swimming, diving, surfing or just splashing about.
Sound familiar? Taking a trip to sunny Cairns in Tropical North Queensland will give you a wide range of water activities to indulge in, from the great ocean to rivers and lakes. Here are our top picks:
Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
Let's be honest. No travel advice on Cairns is complete without mentioning the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef. This majestic coral reef is so enormous it can be seen from outer space, and boasts over 1,500 species of fish to swim alongside. Delight in the kaleidoscopic colours of the coral and marine life surrounding you, seeing the adorable fish dart in and out of view in front of your goggles. Be sure to take an underwater camera - and don't forget to strap it to your wrist - before you get in the water. The photography will be blow-up-on-a-canvas worthy.
River tube along the Mulgrave River
Do you have a need for speed? You also love water? Combine your two passions in one fun activity: River tubing. Perched on top of big, round inflated tubes, you will be charging through the fast rapids of the Mulgrave River in Cairns. You can select between half or full day trips, sure to give you a thrill while whisking past the lush green wilderness framing the river banks. Make sure you book with professional tours only and look for legitimate signage. You'd be unwise to do otherwise - this is the land of crocodiles when all said and done.
Relax in the Innot Hot Pools
As exciting as water sports are, another reason aqua admirers adore the water is for its restorative and relaxing properties. Travel to the Innot Hot Pools, within the tropics surrounding Cairns, to soak in these natural geothermal hot springs.
The best thing about these pools is that anyone can simply grab a shovel, dig a hole in the soft, sandy ground, and create their very own personal hot pool. Just be careful and ensure you dip your toes in or check the temperature before submerging, because sometimes the water can get as hot as 75 degrees Celsius. Mostly, though, it's a soothing, pleasant heat. Chill out afterward in the nearby Innot Hot Springs Leisure and Health Park, which has public swimming pools at cooler temperatures.
Swim in Lake Eacham
Just an hour's drive out of Cairns, this tranquil lake is set amidst the picturesque wilderness of the Atherton Tablelands. The rainforests here have a World Heritage status, full of spectacular flora and fauna. Cabins are built along the lakeside for overnight stays, which is worth considering because in the area is the Barron Falls waterfall and Eacham's sibling crater lake, Barrine. You can hop between lake and waterfalls for the ultimate watery bliss. At its deepest the lake is 65m deep so stay safe and stick to the edges of Lake Eacham; steps, ramps and ladders have been added for easy access, but there’s also a much shallower pontoon which is ideal for swimming. Picnic tables and barbecue machines abound here for lakeside lunches.
Scuba-Doo in Cairns
Scooby dooby doo would be very excited by these eco-friendly underwater scooters. Rather than scuba-diving with mouthpieces or masks, or a heavy weight wrapped around your waist, simply hop inside a Scuba-Doo and ride below the waves. The attached air tanks are safe and last for up to three sessions, so you can breathe easy.
No travel guide on Cairns water activities would be complete without discussing the fun rides, slides, pipes and pools of Sugarworld Waterpark. Whether you want to cascade down feet first, or launch yourself belly-down with arms outstretched a-la-superhero, frolicking in the water at this local icon of more than 25 years is a fantastic way to round up a water-baby visit to Cairns.
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