Highlights - Great Reasons To Go

Cairns provides an excellent starting point for exploring Queensland’s wilderness and aquatic wonders. It is sometimes called the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, and this amazing underwater wonderland can be reached in less than an hour by boat from the town. Also, the world heritage listed Daintree National Park and Cape Tribulation are about 130 km (81 mi) north of Cairns and are popular areas for experiencing a true tropical rainforest.

It is also a great staging point to visit nearby destinations such as the Atherton Tablelands and the Scenic Railway and Skyrail Cableway of Kuranda, which extends for 7.5 km (4.7 mi) over the rainforest canopy. A hotspot for wildlife diversity in Australia, Cairns is an ideal place to see a huge variety of birds, mammals, and reptiles including tree kangaroos and the Cassowary bird. Various parks and attractions take advantage of the city's natural surroundings. Among them are the Rainforestation Nature Park and the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.

A notable feature of the Cairns Esplanade is its popular swimming lagoon with adjoining barbecue areas. In May 2003, the former Cairns Mayor declared that topless sunbathing was permitted there, as the area is a gathering point for people from around the world who may wish to do so! A boardwalk allows pedestrians and cyclists to move along the foreshore from the lagoon.

Accommodation will suit all budgets with plenty of drinking establishments and restaurants catering to all types of tastes. The atmosphere is laid back and unpretentious, while prices are relatively inexpensive. A plethora of clubs and coffee shops in the city are normally full of international tourists adding to a relaxed cosmopolitan feel. The town caters particularly well for Japanese tourists with many shop signs written in Japanese, as well as English.

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