Things to Do in Cairns

Experiences & Activities in Cairns

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Top Tours & Activities in Cairns

All Activities in Cairns

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More Activities in Cairns

Whether you’re looking for family-friendly things to do in Cairns, indoor activities for when it’s raining, or leisurely day tours where you can relax in luxury, we can help. With so many different things to do in Cairns throughout the day and night, we’re sure to have the perfect experience to suit your needs.


Our Team’s Top Picks for Cairns

Cairns offers a plethora of exciting travel activities for visitors. Check out some of our most popular things to do in Cairns below, as chosen by our expert team of travellers, and book online with Backpacker Deals today.

Great Barrier Reef Tours:

Cairns serves as a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system. Visitors can book all kinds of reef day trips from Cairns, including boat tours, snorkelling excursions, and more, to explore the vibrant marine life and stunning coral formations. 

Skydiving Adventures:

Experience the thrill of skydiving and enjoy a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the Great Barrier Reef, ancient rainforests, and turquoise waters below. These great adventures take Cairns to new heights, promising an exhilarating day out you surely won’t forget any time soon. 

Daintree Rainforest Tours:

Cairns is close to the Daintree Rainforest, the largest rainforest in Australia. As one of the world’s oldest rainforests, this lush ecosystem offers a rare opportunity to step back into a prehistoric world that first formed over 180 million years ago. Filled with ancient culture and fascinating plants and animals, guided tours through the Daintree Rainforest are a must for anyone looking for unique things to do in Cairns. 

Hot Air Ballooning:

Take to the skies and enjoy a serene hot air balloon ride over the Atherton Tablelands, located just outside of Cairns. Marvel at the stunning landscapes below, from rolling hills and farmlands to rich rainforests and breathtaking sunrises on the horizon. 

White Water Rafting:

If you’re a thrill seeker, you won’t want to miss out on white water rafting on one of the many rivers in Cairns. These thrilling trips promise exhilarating rapids amidst scenic rainforest surroundings, making them the ideal choice for adventure enthusiasts. 

Scenic Day Trips:

Looking for things to do in Cairns without a car? Why not travel by train instead? Hop aboard a historic Kuranda Scenic Railway trip and enjoy the journey as you wind through rainforest-clad mountains and enchanting waterfalls. Return to Cairns via the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, offering panoramic views of the rainforest canopy beyond. 

Local Tours:

Take a tour around Cairns city centre and live life like a local! Whether you're looking for the perfect picnic spot, leisurely walking tracks, or beautiful sunset tours, Cairns has it all. With so much to see and numerous recreational facilities to enjoy, including a beautiful lagoon, parks, and BBQ areas, these local tours are sure to keep you busy!
 

Top Bucket List Activities to Do in Cairns in 2024

1. Day Cruise to the Outer Barrier Reef

Embark on an unforgettable journey to the breathtaking Outer Barrier Reef with this full-day cruise departing from Cairns.

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2. 15,000ft Mission Beach Tandem Skydive

Elevate your Cairns experience and appreciate its beauty from a whole new perspective with this skydiving adventure.

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3. Cairns Waterfalls and Rainforest Tour

This scenic tour will take you on a journey through the beautiful rainforests and waterfalls of the Atherton Tablelands Region.

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4. Classic Hot Air Balloon Flight

Start your day early and watch the sun rise over Cairns from above as you take to the skies in a morning hot air balloon flight.

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5. Kuranda Riverboat Tour

Embark on a tranquil trip around the waters of the world’s oldest living tropical rainforest with this peaceful riverboat cruise.

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6. Skypark Cairns Bungy Jump

Dive headfirst into this bungy jumping adventure and experience a thrill like no other as you free-fall through the rainforest.

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Free Things to Do in Cairns

Discover Cairns without breaking the bank with these free activities. From its beautiful beaches and lush gardens to its idyllic water holes and charming markets, Cairns is full of budget-friendly activities for the whole family.

Chase Waterfalls

We're dubbing North Queensland the "tropical waterfall capital of Australia", so ignore TLC's hit song and chase waterfalls to your heart's content.

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Tropical Woopen Creek Camping

Escape the busy city and spend the night beneath the stars near this beautifully serene river.

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Splash Into Idyllic Waterholes

Just like waterfalls, North Queensland is in surplus of swimming holes that boast crystal blue waters just waiting for you to dive in.

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Explore the Chillagoe-Mungana Caves

Once a massive coral reef, the Chillagoe cave system has a collection of sparkling limestone and beautiful aboriginal art sites for you to discover.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most popular attraction in Cairns?

The Great Barrier Reef is by far the most famous and popular place to visit in Cairns. There are a number of reef tours, snorkelling trips, and diving experiences that depart from Cairns daily, making it easy for visitors to experience this magical location. 

 

Other popular attractions in and around Cairns include the ancient Daintree Rainforest, the Cairns Esplanade, and the nearby seaside town of Port Douglas. Every one of these areas has its own unique charm, with each place offering a new and exciting way to spend your day. 
 

Absolutely! If you like walking, it’s pretty easy to make your way around Cairns on foot, and there’s plenty to see in the city centre. However, if you’d prefer to drive to reach popular places outside the city, such as Port Douglas or the Daintree Rainforest, you can easily hire a car with Backpacker Deals

3 days should give you enough time to explore the main tourist attractions, yes. You can spend one day exploring the city, the next visiting the Daintree Rainforest, and the final day visiting the Great Barrier Reef. However, with so much to do in far North Queensland, it’s easy to spend an entire week here without running out of things to do! 

While you can find jellyfish in the waters of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef all year round, the official stinger season runs from early November through to late May. 

 

During this time, jellyfish tend to be a lot more prevalent, but as long as you follow safety precautions and local guidelines while swimming, there’s not much to worry about. Stinger suits offer effective protection from stings, and Cairns’ most popular beaches have stinger nets and lifeguards who conduct regular jellyfish checks to keep swimmers safe.