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Car rental in Cairns

The best way to explore the surrounding regions and dramatic coastline of Cairns is by renting a car. There are a number of car hire companies at the airport and in most resort locations, offering a day's hire from as little as $23. Complimentary pick-up services are also offered from most accommodation venues to make your journey even easier.

Bicycles in Cairns

Whatever your fitness level, the mostly flat terrain in Cairns makes cycling enjoyable for the whole family. Whether you prefer to explore the sights at a leisurely pace or tackle mountain roads and rainforest, Cairns has it all. Visit the botanical gardens and Mt Whitfield National Park, or Crystal Cascades, Barron Gorge and Lake Morris. Bicycle hire starts at $11 per four hours.

Public transport in Cairns

Sunbus runs a regular service over a range of networks from Palm Cove down to Gordonvale, covering 12 zones. Daily fees range from $4.40 to $15.40, and if you plan on travelling over the course of a week you can purchase a weekly ticket to save money. Some buses can also be flagged down from the side of the road.

Taxis in Cairns

The local cab company Black and White Taxis run on a meter and operate 24 hours a day. Taxi ranks are located throughout the city, although they can be flagged down at any time. As the only taxi service operating in Cairns, prices are not exorbitant. However, for longer distances it may be worthwhile hiring a car.

Fly over the Great Barrier Reef

If you suffer from sea sickness or find yourself short on time, booking a scenic flight is a great way to discover the Great Barrier Reef without the need to step on a boat. There are a number of companies that will take you up in a helicopter, seaplane, light aircraft or even hot air balloon. Journeys can last anywhere from 45 minutes to a full day.

Daintree Walkabout and River Cruise

From Mossman Gorge, follow an Indigenous guide through private rainforest tracks to culturally significant sites. Stop for a specialty Barramundi lunch surrounded by a lush oasis before taking a cruise down the Daintree River. With an abundance of birds, tree snakes and crocodiles, this is a great chance to get snap-happy with your camera.

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park Cairns Western Arterial Road, Smithfield

For a family day out, immerse yourself in traditional Tjapukai culture with music, dance and storytelling. Learn to play the didgeridoo, discover bush tucker, throw a spear and witness Australia's longest running fire making show. Packages are offered at $113 per adult and $56.50 per child when combined with a visit to Cairns Tropical Zoo.

White Water Rafting

If you're looking for adventure in stunning, untouched rainforest, Cairns boasts some of Australia's best rafting rivers. The Tully River boasts over 45 rapids that range from grade 1-4, suiting all levels. A full day costs around $225 per rider for coach transfers and up to five hours of rafting. Half-day trips are also offered on the Russell and Barron River nearby.

DAY 1: Drive to Cape Tribulation

To explore the best of North Queensland in a day, hire a car from Cairns and drive to the majestic Cape Tribulation. Stop off at Cow Bay for a secluded slice of paradise before snaking up through the Daintree Rainforest. Wandering the serene expanse of sand at Cape Tribulation can easily while away the hours. Heading back, stop off at Mossman Gorge as the sun sets and go for dinner in Port Douglas.

DAY 3: Skyrail and Kuranda Scenic Railway

Descend through the rainforest canopy deep into the heart of the forest on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. With a 90-minute one-way trip or two-and-a-half hour return, this is the perfect way to spend a morning before exploring the famous Kuranda village. Return to Cairns aboard the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway. With a family package costing $283, including return hotel transfers, this is a daytrip not to be missed.

DAY 2: Snorkeling

Snorkel or scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef to discover some of the world's most spectacular marine life. Enjoy stunning coral formations, amazing visibility and inviting water temperatures. Whether you're a beginner or expert, diving in the Great Barrier Reef is a must-do activity. There are a number of diving schools in Cairns that offer training, but if it's simplicity you desire then take advantage of the inexpensive snorkeling option.

DAY 4: Atherton Tablelands

A 30-minute drive west of Cairns, the Atherton Tablelands offer an escape from the high humidity that lingers in coastal areas. The World Heritage-listed crater lakes, Barrine and Eacham, provide great walks with the opportunity to experience unspoiled rainforest. There is also an abundance of wildlife, including the musky rat-kangaroo and over a 100 bird species. Enjoy a picnic before moving on to the Malanda Falls, where you can take a dip in one of the swimming holes.


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