It is also the adventure capital of Australia and provides many backpackers with a chance to fulfill those bucket list activities in a beautiful location and for a good price. 

Here are the top things to do if you are only in Cairns for a short time…

Dive the Barrier Reef

This needs no introduction; if you are visiting Cairns, you must take a boat over to the world’s most beautiful and outstanding piece of natural beauty. There are hundreds, upon hundreds of different cruising options, including visits to some of the best dive sites in the world. Sign up to do your PADI or simply go for an afternoon snorkelling, the choices are endless. The Great Barrier Reef is the only living organism that can be seen from the moon!

Visit the rainforest at Daintree Forest and Cape Tribulation

Only two hours north of Cairns sits the Daintree rainforest and Cape Tribulation where the rainforest literally meets the reef. Dozens of tour companies drive backpackers up to Northern Queensland and they are some of the oldest rainforests on the planet, and also some of the most beautiful. If you love it, stay a few nights in Cape Tribulation and really take in everything the rainforest has to offer.

Enjoy the hippie village of Kuranda

Nestled high in the mountains Kuranda is a beautiful retreat for anyone needing a relaxing few days. Take the scenic railway or the cable car to the top of the mountain and take in the views of beautiful Queensland. Also make sure you take the train past Barron Falls.

Slide down a waterfall in Tablelands

Located only 45 minutes away from Cairns and 600km above sea-level this beautiful location is the ultimate back to nature activity. You can tour through the ancient volcanic Tropical Tablelands region and you can visit jaw-dropping waterfalls, swim in pristine lakes and get to see hundreds of platypus! It is also where Peter Andre filmed the ‘Mysterious Girl’ music video.

Sunbathe on the lagoon

If you fancy a chill day simply take a bottle of water and a towel and head down to the Esplanade where you can relax by the lagoon and soak up the sun. Wear factor 50 though as it gets super-hot even in early summer.

Bungy jump in to a rainforest

AJ Hackett have done it again with this incredible jump right in to the middle of the rainforest. They offer a variety of jumps including the canopy swing which is a must do for any avid adrenaline junkie. And if you’re not a fan of the jumping part, just take a walk up there to see the views!

Brave the rapids

The Tully River is one of, if not the best rapids in the world and many travel across the globe to battle the power of this incredible river. The river offers grade 4 and 5 rapids so whether you’re new to the sport or a long term fan this is the place to get that adrenaline fix. A day tour will guide you up to 45 different rapids in the middle of the rainforest.

Jump out of a plane

Skydiving is beautiful in this part of the world and you have many choices, from doing it in Cairns or taking a two hour bus journey down to the beautiful Mission Beach where you can jump out of a plane and take in the views of the Great Barrier Reef in your free fall. It’s a once in a lifetime experience so make sure you do it here.

The nightlife

Experience Cairns at night by grabbing a drink from one of Cairn’s funky bars, grabbing some food in a brilliant restaurant or dancing the night away in one of the many nightclubs. Also check out the market and the Fun in the Sun festival!