Off the Beaten Track around Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is known for its breathtaking landscapes and unique wildlife, but wander off the beaten track and you’ll find something even greater.

No matter where you’re based or where you’re headed, this spectacular region offers infinite opportunities for all kind of travellers – from thrill seekers to beach lovers.

Whether you’re staying in Cairns, Palm Cove, Port Douglas or one of the region’s islands, pack your sense of adventure and prepare for the extraordinary.

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Cape Tribulation – where the rainforest meets the reef

Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation is a magical place — here, and nearby Mission Beach, are the only places in the world where two natural UNESCO World Heritage sites lie side by side. It’s here the 180-million-year-old Daintree Rainforest tumbles to meet the Great Barrier Reef in the sparkling waters of the Coral Sea. You can zipline through untouched forest, snorkel the reef, catch glimpses of huge cassowaries and spot crocodiles in their natural habitat.

Gain an insight into Kuku Yalanji culture with Walkabout Cultural Adventures

Making Ochre, Walkabout Cultural Adventures

Learn about local Aboriginal culture on these fascinating full- or half-day tours. Follow your guide through Kuku Yalanji country in the Daintree, where you’ll learn about the environment, listen to captivating stories of ancestors and discover more about the history of the Kuku Yalanji people. You’ll try traditional hunting practices, have a go at throwing a boomerang and, if you’re lucky, you might even catch a mud crab.

Take a lazy road trip down the Canecutter Way

Paronella Park

Drive the Canecutter Way, a 50km route offering great insight into the history, local communities and magnificent scenery of the region. Also known as the “Greatest Detour in the North”, the drive begins at Kurrimine Beach and finishes in Innisfail, passing through charming historic towns, sugarcane fields, and Paronella Park — a magical Spanish castle surrounded by lush tropical gardens.

Follow your tastebuds along the Daintree Food Trail

Daintree Ice Cream Company

Fresh produce abounds in Tropical North Queensland – while visitors might expect exotic fruit, coffee, honey and barramundi, more surprising options such as wine, cheese, ice cream and mushrooms await on the Daintree Food Trail. A true celebration of local produce, the trail leads from Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation on a tasty journey through spectacular scenery, where fabulous food, local communities and small producers take centre stage.

Take a stroll through a cave of wonders

Crystal Caves

René Boissevain spent his life travelling the world to collect natural crystals and prehistoric fossils. You can now take a self-guided visit through his incredible collection in the Crystal Caves. Spread over 300sqm of tunnels and grottos, the caves were built to showcase his rare stones, fossils and crystals, and feature over 600 pieces valued at millions of dollars.

Swim in a volcanic crater at Lake Eacham

Lake Eacham

Just an hour’s drive from Cairns, in the heart of the Atherton Tablelands, lies dreamy Lake Eacham, a former volcanic crater surrounded by verdant rainforest – the perfect spot for a swim on a hot summer’s day. Want to stay dry? Take a walk along the 3km track through the rainforest (home to over 180 bird species), or soak up the scenery from the viewing platforms.

A once-in-a-lifetime picnic on Vlasoff Cay

Vlasoff Cay Picnic

Elevate your picnic by taking it to the pristine sands of Vlasoff Cay – a picturesque sand bar on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. A spectacular scenic helicopter ride is the only way to reach this pristine coral cay in the middle of the sea, making this a very memorable picnic.

Get jiggy with the Great Barrier Reef

You are invited to witness the Great Barrier Reef’s biggest event: the yearly mass coral spawning. The whole reef simultaneously releases eggs for fertilisation, creating an otherworldly spectacle – a kind of upside-down, underwater snowfall. This night-time event usually takes place in November; you can be part of it by joining a snorkelling or diving trip from Cairns during the predicted spawning period.

Sleep among the trees in the world’s oldest rainforest

Daintree Rainforest

Can you picture yourself falling asleep under the canopy of the oldest surviving rainforest in the world, lulled by the sounds of nature? Scattered through the Daintree you’ll find accommodation to suit every taste: from boutique retreats to tree houses and luxury lodges, you’ll find the perfect choice for a magical night surrounded by nature.

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