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The Bruce Highway

Great DrivesOnce a quiet tropical backwater, Cairns has been transformed into a major tourist mecca. The reason for this change is obvious to any visitor - the area’s location and extraordinary natural beauty.

Located on broad Trinity Bay, Cairns is the undisputed capital of Far North Queensland. In recent years its wonderful location - fringed by the aquamarine Coral Sea, close to the Great Barrier Reef, and surrounded by forested hills - has ensured that this relaxed city receives floods of visitors.

In the city centre the main attractions are around the waterfront. The Esplanade is ideal for an evening stroll, while Marlin Marina is the starting point for boat trips to islands and the Great Barrier Reef. Also in town, the museum, casino, Regional Gallery and Flecker Botanic Gardens are all worth a visit.

From the Cairns jetty you can take boat rides to Green Island, an idyllic coral cay with an underwater observatory, and rainforested Fitzroy Island, as well as a day trip to the magnificent Great Barrier Reef. There are no beaches in Cairns itself, but the northern ‘Marlin Coast’ boasts some wonderful stretches of sand and blue sea, including Palm Cove, also the location of Wild World fauna park, and Trinity Beach, a popular swimming spot.

One of the best excursions from Cairns is taking the Scenic Railway or Skyrail, the world’s longest gondola cableway, to Kuranda, the ‘Village in the Rainforest’, high up in the hinterland hills. And if all this isn’t enough, Cairns is a true adventure playground, where sailing, bungy jumping, whitewater rafting, scuba diving and four-wheel drive trips are all on offer.

Where to Stay

Time Required: A minimum of 2-3 days.

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