The Magic Of Australia – Cairns
Cairns… The Mecca of Backpackers! What image does that conjure for you? Noisy nights with drunken teenagers who free of Mum and Dad are crawling the pavements around town?
Me too. And in certain areas of town, you’re probably not far wrong. But don’t let that put you off – trust me!
Instead of walking around Cairns, use it as a base and see what is just outside (note: “just outside” in Australia can be some serious distance in comparison to “just outside” in the UK!). When I got there, I barely spent any time in Cairns itself; Instead, I got myself a car and did some driving and here is what I found:
- Port Douglas: A hidden gem, which is well worth it for the drive alone! Captain Cook Highway, a fantastically named stretch of road, offers some stunning coastline scenery and the opportunity to pull over and take some pictures as you travel. Then once you get there, you can sit back, relax and enjoy a couple of schooners in paradise! If you manage to head there on a Sunday, you’ll get the added bonus of the market, which showcases all local arts and crafts.
- Mossman Gorge: Get back up the Captain Cook Highway (I don’t get bored of typing that) and remember to take a towel and swimming costume this time! Nestled inside the Daintree National Park, there are a few little walks through the rainforest and the rolling river with its crystal clear waters. Trust me, you will not be able to resist jumping in on a lovely tropical day and resting on the rocks (it’s comfier than it sounds) and enjoy your surroundings!
- Great Barrier Reef: Perhaps the most obvious attraction to mention but maybe you haven’t thought about how to see it… While you can find diving schools by the dozen, have you thought about seeing it from above? Sadly, a lot of the reef is over-dived and has lost much of its vibrancy where the diving schools attend so regularly so why not get in touch with North Queensland Aero Club and take a scenic tour instead?
30 minutes will set you back AU$170 per person but have your camera ready for some spectacular views (make sure you have plenty of space on your memory card)! Starting off from Green Island/Michaelmas & Upolu Cays National Park, heading up and down the coastline will simply blow your mind! No doubt, it will probably then spur you on to go and dive the reef anyway! Simply breath-taking!
So wonder no more, when you visit the wonderful Cairns, this is a list of the top three things you simply must do!