Well, seven things to do near Cairns. Cairns is a great place to dive the Great Barrier Reef! Which is absolutely spectacular! So aside from diving and snorkeling, there are 7 things to do near cairns to fill your stay when you are not busy exploring the reef!
1. Coffee and Tea Tasting at The Coffee Works in Mareeba
Loads of Australia’s best coffee and tea to taste for only $14 AUD. Oh and did I mention there is unlimited chocolate! On Mondays and Thursdays you can see the coffee being roasted. There are a few places for coffee tasting in the area and this one surpasses them all!
2. Mango Wine tasting at Golden Drop Winery in Mareeba
Only a 15 minute drive from The Coffee Works! Have a small taste of all the different mango wines for only $5 AUD or taste as much as you’d like when you buy a bottle of wine.
3. Kuranda Koala Gardens
Hold a Koala at the Koala Gardens! Entrance into the Koala Gardens is $17 AUD and an extra $22 AUD to hold a Koala and have your picture taken (well worth it)! Head there in the morning when the Koala’s are most active.
4. Crystal Cascades
About a 20 minute drive from Cairns this quiet secluded paradise is not accessed by tour buses. A great way to cool off from the heat and explore the rain forest while swimming in the cascading pools of the river. Head to the top of the trail (about a 10 minute walk) to see the waterfall!
5. Four Mile Beach and Port Douglas
Four Mile beach is a beautiful beach an hour drive along the coast from Cairns. The beach is truly a slice of paradise. Just be sure to only swim in the marked area with nets to avoid stingers! Take the coastal trail walk from Four Mile Beach to Port Douglas (about a 20 minute walk around the bend).
6. Daintree Rainforest
Drive through or head out on foot to explore the rainforest with its many walking trails! About a 2 hour drive from Cairns.
7. Cape Tribulation
You’ll take the car ferry over the Daintree River to explore the spectacular beaches and see where the rainforest meets the sea!
I highly recommend renting a car instead of taking tour buses to see the sights. It is easy to get around to the different locations and plenty of signs to help direct you along the way. I rented from Cruising at the intersection of Grove and Sheridan. The people working there are very kind and helpful – they took the time to answer all my questions and gave great advice for getting around. They also gave me a great deal for a two day car rental. When I mentioned where I was going they provided coupons for places like the Kuranda Sanctuary! I would definitely rent from them again! SideNote* It was within walking distance from the hostel I stayed at – I recommend staying at Globetrotters! The staff there are wonderful and very helpful with luggage storage and providing sunscreen and aloe – very necessary!
Let’s put this great list of things to do in order! All seven things can be done in two days. Day one includes the Kuranda Sanctuary in the morning, The Coffee Works, Golden Drop Winery, and finishing at the Crystal Cascades by the afternoon. Day two encompasses a drive along the coast to Port Douglas and Four Mile Beach where I recommend getting brunch at Betty’s Boho Cafe! Followed by a drive to the Daintree Rainforest and finishing at Cape Tribulation.
I hope this list helps get you out exploring nears Cairns during your stay. If you have more adventures near Cairns that I did not mention I would love to hear about them below in the comments! Also comment if you have any questions for me on Cairns, diving the reef, or places to see near Cairns! I went with the diving company Rum Runner. They provide a two day dive trip with stay overnight on their sailboat. I was more than impressed with the dives, locations that were chosen on the reef, and how knowledgeable the staff was! I hope you have a spectacular trip!