It is time to pack your bags and get on a plane to Tropical North Queensland. This area of Australia is jam packed with stunning landscapes, heavenly islands, World Heritage-listed attractions and thrilling adventure activities.
What can you do there? Check out all of these great options.
Great Barrier Reef
Discover this undersea world which is home to more than 6,600 species of flora and fauna, including 1,500 species of fish and 400 different types of coral. Experience the Reef whichever way you want: diving, snorkeling, cruising, flying, and island hopping are just some of the options. Take a day cruise from Cairns or Port Douglas and snorkel and dive with the colorful fish, friendly turtles and colorful gardens of coral. Maybe you could set up camp on a deserted island or float on a live aboard vessel and maximize your play time in this amazing area. Take to the skies for an unforgettable aerial view and relax for a few nights on one of the many luxurious island resorts set in the seclusion of the middle of the Great Barrier Reef.
Allow yourself to be enchanted by the beauty and tranquility of the world’s oldest surviving tropical rainforest. Wade out and paddle through the crystal-clear rivers, swim in the volcanic lakes and seek out the spectacular waterfalls that are hidden throughout the Rainforest. Glide over the pristine rainforest in a gondola, take in a bird’s eye view of this area and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the tropical rainforest environment.
Uncover this extraordinary location which is the only place in the world where two World Heritage sites meet. This area is a hiker’s paradise with many trails taking in the beaches and Rainforest. You can admire the empty beaches and discover a world untouched by urban development, noise, and air pollution. Breathe in the fresh air and get back to nature in this spectacular location.
There are so many ways to explore this beautiful area of the world, and unique tours will bring you closer to some of these attractions than you thought possible. Take to the tree top canopy on a flying fox zipline, jungle surf your way through the Daintree Rainforest, or leap through the Rainforest with a bungy cord swinging you upside down and get a completely different view point of this spectacular area. Keep your feet firmly on the ground with easy or challenging hikes, or for those who are up for the challenge, follow the Misty Mountain Trail through the high-altitude Rainforest and be rewarded with views of the surrounding area. If water is more your thing, learn to dive on one of the world’s most spectacular coral reefs, or try shark or minke whale dives.
Get close to the more than 6,000 animal species that call this area of Australia home. From the oceans to the trees and the large to the small, you will find many opportunities to come face to face with some unique and friendly species. Between May and August you can find mike whales near the ribbon reefs off Port Douglas and Cairns and humpback whales from July to September as they make their way along the coast. Under the sea you will find the famous clown fish, colorful parrot fish, trigger fish, sea cucumbers, manta rays, sea turtles and much, much more. On dry land there are cute wallabies, lazy kangaroos, sleepy koalas, screaming cockatoos, laughing kookaburras and elusive cassowaries waiting to meet you.
Where to Sleep
Whatever your style – five star international hotels, rainforest retreats, island escapes, waterfront apartments, or beachside resorts, Tropical North Queensland has your needs covered.
You are never far from the hustle and bustle of dining, touring, shopping and nightlife. Here you can soak up the tropical lifestyle, sample foods at the farmer’s markets, enjoy free entertainment and swim at the Esplanade lagoon. It is easy to get around Cairns and most of the attractions are on your doorstep with tours taking you directly there. This means you don’t need to have a car, maybe hire a bike and discover this compact city that way.
Trinity Beach lies just 15 minutes north of Cairns and offers a relaxed beachside suburb for visitors. You are close enough to Cairns to still enjoy its highlights, but can return to this area to enjoy more laid back accommodation. You will find resorts and self-contained apartments here, many overlooking the beautiful beach. A further 15 minutes north lies Palm Cove where long sandy beaches are back dropped by rainforest clad mountains. This sophisticated beachside offers visitors award winning dining, peaceful day spas, extraordinary resorts and a picture postcard setting of tropical beauty.
This picturesque seaside village is about an hour north of Cairns and is accessed via one of Australia’s most scenic coastal drives. Rainforest lines one side of the road while the Great Barrier Reef sweeps through the blue waters on the other. Magnificent resorts and superb apartments can be found here – as it is an area favored by celebrities, but you will find more affordable options with amazing views and amenities. Enjoy this relaxed township where food, wine, arts and culture and appreciated and showcased through the area.
Daintree and Cape Tribulation
Further north of Port Douglas sits the stunning Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation offering peaceful eco-lodges, rainforest retreats and luxurious lodges. Get back to nature and take a guided walk of this pristine wilderness and discover the 87 mile Daintree River and some of its prehistoric crocodile residents. In the Daintree village there are a selection of eateries, artist studios, souvenir shops and more. This is the last stop before the Daintree River Ferry takes you across the river and deep into the spectacular Rainforest.
Islands of the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef extends more than 1,200 miles down the east coast of Australia and covers an area great than 84 million acres. The many islands and cays that stretch out across this area feature not only amazing natural formations, but also contain some notable archeological sites of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Accommodation options on these islands range from National Parks campgrounds to mid-range resorts and up to opulent private resorts with price tags to match.
For amazing experiences in Queensland, check out Down Under Answers.
Editor’s Note: Down Under Answers is a paid sponsor of Budget Your Trip.
Bryan has visited exactly one more country than his wife, and she won’t let him forget it! Also an avid photographer, he enjoys entrenching himself within the local culture in order to learn more about the people of a place. He is the co-founder of Budget Your Trip and loves a good adventure, an exotic meal, or a passionate conversation about global events.