What to do and see in Cairns Region, Australia: The Best Places and Tips

November 3, 2017 Karren Gelb

The Cairns Region is a local government area in Far North Queensland, Queensland, Australia, centred on the regional centre of Cairns. It was established in 2008 by the amalgamation of the City of Cairns and the Shire of Douglas.
Restaurants in Cairns Region

1. Trail Bike Adventures

886 Koah Road, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia +61 411 390 188
Excellent
96%
Good
2%
Satisfactory
1%
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 203 reviews

Trail Bike Adventures

World class professional organisers and specialists in delivering the ultimate premium all inclusive guided off-road motorcycle adventures of trail bike and enduro tours, from 1 day to 7 days around Cairns, Atherton Tablelands and Cape York. Motorcycle licence or learners is required. 1 day tour - $495. "Once discovered...never forgotten"

Reviewed By Caitlyn M - Caloundra, Australia

Honestly the most amazing ride I've ever done with such an epic crew! My brother and I did this together, always laughing, cheering each other on, helping each other out in the hard times and never left alone to do something you're not comfortable with. Squid and Woody the Lead and Sweep riders are insane at their job, larakins with a wealth of knowledge! I could not recommend this tour enough. If you want to see amazing country, do some gnarly trails, have epic belly laughs, challenge yourself and say you've been to the very tip of Australia, North Qld Trail Bike Adventures are the guys to go with! Monique and Greg the owners and operators have exceptional hospitality and kindness that go above and beyond Braaaaap, just send it!!

2. Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Captain Cook Hwy, Palm Cove, Queensland 4879, Australia +61 7 4055 3576
Excellent
73%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Located just 40 minutes north of Cairns and 25 minutes south of Port Douglas, Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is simply the best place to see crocodiles and local wildlife in Tropical North Queensland. With over 2100 metres of timber boardwalks and pathways leading you on a journey of discovery through woodlands and rainforest where you can see an array of wildlife, including beautiful tropical birds, reptiles, insects and other native fauna.Enjoy our entertaining and educational wildlife presentations including snakes, cassowaries, koalas, crocodiles, quolls and much more. Take a boat cruise on Hartley’s Lagoon to see crocodiles and other wildlife on our melaleuca wetland. Learn about sustainable use and conservation on our Crocodile Farm tour. The newly opened Gondwana Gateway is an innovative addition to Hartley’s where you can learn about the evolution of Australian wildlife in a beautiful forest setting surrounded by living descendants of Australia’s ancient past. Enjoy a delicious snack in Lilies Restaurant overlooking Hartley’s Lagoon and find that perfect gift, including crocodile leather products, in the Paperbark Gift Shop. Open daily from 8:30am to 5:00pm, this multi-award winning eco-adventure attraction is located just 100 metres off the Captain Cook Highway on the spectacular scenic drive between Cairns and Port Douglas.

Reviewed By Bobbie D - Dallas, Texas, United States

Our tour group visited Hartley's on a hot, humid day in Feb. We walked paths that were mostly paved and got to see Koalas, Kangaroos and large crocodiles. The kangaroos were hopping around in a open area and would come right up to you and let you touch them. The Koalas were up in trees sleeping and pretty much protected from visitor contact. However, with the help of one of the workers, we were able to get our photo taken with a Koala while she held her. For an additional $20 we could have actually held the Koala but they cautioned that they are very fragile and you have to be careful not to hurt them. We opted not to hold the Koala. We also saw the crocodile "show" while we were there. This was VERY entertaining. The trainer who interacted with the croc had a great sense of humor and the show was really GREAT. After the show we rode around the water in a boat and saw even more croc's - some right up next to our boat. Our group got to experience a delicious Aussie barbecue dinner before we departed. There was a LOT of food and no one left hungry. Our table was served a platter with chicken and steaks for the main course. My husband and I both chose steak (which sadly was WAY overcooked for our taste). None the less it was tasty. There were potatoes and salad for sides and a desert was offered . All in all we spent a very enjoyable afternoon here and would highly recommend it.

3. The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum

2 Skyrail Dr, Queensland 4878, Australia +(61)4038 1665
Excellent
75%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 280 reviews

The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum

We are dedicated to the collection, preservation, restoration and display of Armoured Vehicles and Artillery from the 1800's to the present day. Our collection includes armoured vehicles and artillery from both world wars with a particular focus on WWII.

Reviewed By Ryan H

I took a group of youth for an excursion to the museum. We were absolutely amazed by the collection.
The best part of the experience was being approached by Paul who offers educational tours on Saturday mornings. Paul was super entertaining and intimidatingly knowledgeable of all aspects of World War II, and the artillery and armament used during those battles.
The tour lasted for almost an hour and at no stage did it get boring. Thanks Paul.

4. Josephine Falls

Wooroonooran, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia
Excellent
79%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 239 reviews

Josephine Falls

Reviewed By Janet T - Granville, Ohio

Our innkeeper recommended that we visit this falls during our day trip in the area. It was worth the side trip, especially nice since we just had three full days of rain and it was at maximum flow. However the day before some young woman did not heed the closure of swimming in the plunge pool, since the water level was so high, and she unfortunately died. So on our visit there was some emergency tape around one of the overlooks...

5. Muddy's Playground

The Esplanade, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia +61 7 4044 3715
Excellent
74%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Muddy's Playground

Muddy's playground is open every day of the year between 9am and 7pm (including public holidays and weekends). Sections of Muddy's are closed for maintenance on Tuesday and Thursday mornings until noon. Even when maintenance works are being carried out, Council aims to have at least half the playground available for use. Muddy's is a modern, fun, safe, splash playground and parkland. It incorporates active, passive, interactive and educational facilities with a combination of play equipment. Muddy's playground is themed "Life in Trinity Bay" and the playground includes water play areas plus a flying fox, sound chimes, track ride, rope bridge, slides, play houses, story telling areas, see-saw, trick track and puzzle games. Please note that the disabled-use Liberty Swing uses the MLAK national keying system. For access please ask at Muddy's cafe. Muddy's has two toilet facilities one at the north end of Muddy's near the cafe and one at the southern end of Muddy's. Muddy's has barbecues, picnic tables and an on-site cafe.

Reviewed By Ian G - Cairns, Australia

My wife and I agreed to meet some 'out of town' friends at Muddy's. Why?? because the out-of-towners all had kids. Muddy's cafe was the perfect venue for a mid-day get together. The kids could go off and have a good old fashioned play about (with at least one adult to supervise) while the rest of us could sit down in comfort under the palm trees, have a cool drink and a good old fashioned chat.
The menu at Muddy's was basic - but very good - and the service was amazingly good. Everyone had a great time, a great (but basic) meal and ab good chance to catch up with each other.
A great place to go to with kids!

6. Cairns Botanic Gardens

64 Collins Ave, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia +61 7 4032 6650
Excellent
63%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Cairns Botanic Gardens

The Cairns Botanic Gardens are a tropical paradise where you can explore the beauty of tropical plants, relax in stunning surroundings and learn about tropical flora and horticulture. The Gardens are open from 7.30Am to 5.30Pm every day of the year and entry is free. The Botanic Gardens includes several spaces used for demonstrating the diverse plant life that can be found within a tropical climate. The Cairns Botanic Gardens include: Flecker Garden Centenary Lakes - Saltwater and Freshwater The Rainforest Boardwalk Mount Whitfield Conservation Park The Gondwanan Heritage Garden

Reviewed By Fastphilad - Mich

Located not too far from city center and did not have an admission charge. We enjoyed our stroll through the Gardens paved paths and enjoyed all the flowers and tropical plantings. I believe it closes at five or 5:30 in the evening. So be prepared

7. Cairns Esplanade Lagoon

52 - 54 The Esplanade Cairns, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia +61 7 4044 3715
Excellent
65%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

Cairns Esplanade Lagoon

Escape the summer heat at one of Cairns' best known landmarks, the Esplanade Lagoon. Set on the Cairns foreshore overlooking Trinity Inlet, the 4800 sq metre saltwater swimming lagoon offers locals and tourists a year round safe swimming location. Saltwater is pumped from the inlet and filtered through a state of the art filtration and chlorination system, to meet Australian Standards. The kids can enjoy the sandy edges, build sand Castles and play in shallow water. On the other side of the Lagoon, visitors can lounge on the timber decks in moderate shade. Shady trees, landscaped Gardens and open spaces all contribute to the leisurely atmosphere on the Esplanade The Lagoon is open 6am-9pm Thursday - Tuesday, Midday-9pm Wednesday all year round.

Reviewed By SharonJT67 - Durham, United Kingdom

What an incredible place to see, we visited on an overcast Saturday in March but there were still plenty of people taking advantage of the lovely clean facility which was nice & warm & most important, safe, wish we could take a leaf out of your book & take pride in our surroundings, every credit to the local Council, very impressive

8. Behana Gorge Waterfall

Behana Gorge Rd, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia +61 427 820 993
Excellent
70%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
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Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 133 reviews

Behana Gorge Waterfall

Reviewed By Angus M - Cairns, Australia

Behana Gorge is just over 30km from Cairns. You will need your own transport to get there. The road into the falls is on google maps so easy to find. This road will take you to a carpark from where you start walking. Behana creek is one of the water sources for Cairns so there is an access road from the carpark to the waterfall,s making walking easy. The walk to the falls is several kilometres going up so give yourself several hours of visiting time so you can get to the falls and relax for a while before returning to the car park.
The falls are stunning and you get some spectacular views of Behana Creek and the falls on the walk in. There are opportunities to swim near the base of the falls during the dry season when the creek flow is gentle. During the wet season the creek can make swimming dangerous.
If you don't mind a bit of a walk I recommend Behana Gorge Waterfall as a great place to visit. Take a picnic and enjoy.

9. Atherton Tablelands

Cairns, Queensland, Australia +61 7 4091 6945
Excellent
64%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 532 reviews

Atherton Tablelands

Reviewed By THSMTHS - Glendale, Arizona

This trip was an excursion where we visited three water falls (Milla, Milla Falls, Dinner Falls and Victoria Falls and several scenic areas. The Tablelands were not what I had expected at all. Much of the area was rain forest and others rolling lands. Everyone on the tour was under 25 except for the tour guide and us. It was a wonderful day and we really enjoyed talking to and getting to know the young people on the trip.

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