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Outdoor & Sport Activities in Cairns

When it comes to tropical vacations spots, very few offer the kind of variety you’ll be able to find in Cairns, Australia. Cairns is home to the Great Barrier Reef, which is the largest known coral reef system in existence. The city is also surrounded by dense rainforests, majestic waterfalls, scenic mountains, and vast plains. The exotic plant and animal life found here is also one of a kind. Check out these amazing outdoor activities in Cairns.

Boat tours

The Great Barrier Reef is a tropical wonder just waiting to be explored, and there are many wonderful boat tours in Cairns that do just that. Luxury cruise packages centered around the Great Barrier Reef offer activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, helicopter rides, glass bottom boat tours, and of course, plenty of time to relax in the sun. There are also short jet boat rides around the reef available from Cairns City.

Let’s not forget the Daintree River deep within the rainforest, where you’ll be able to spend a relaxing day on a riverboat taking in all of the sights and sounds, and even sampling some of the local fruit.


Going snorkeling in Cairns is a necessary entry for any traveler’s bucket list. Between the months of May and October, the weather is always between 60 and 80 degrees, it hardly ever rains, the waters are clear, and the stingwrays are hiding away, so the conditions for going on a luxury snorkeling and diving cruise couldn’t be better.

Take in all the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and learn from expert local instructors and guides as you embark on an adventure that’s fun for the entire family and tailor made for any experience level.

Scuba diving

Have you ever dreamed of swimming through the Great Barrier Reef alongside colorful tropical fish, turtles, and even sharks? Then stop dreaming and experience it in real life when you go scuba diving in Cairns!

When you book a scuba diving tour package in Cairns, you’ll be able to visit key locations along the Great Barrier Reef including Norman Reef and or Stanley Reef, and you’ll have expert local guides and instructors with you every step of the way as you don your equipment and dive below the tropical ocean for the adventure of a lifetime.

Helicopter tours

Helicopter tours in Cairns are some of the best ways to take in the scenic beauty of Cairns City and the incredible natural wonders that surround it. Take to the skies with an expert local guide as you witness the sheer wonder of the Great Barrier Reef, the Kuranda Rainforest, and the gorgeous local beaches. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to catch sight of exotic fish and other wildlife in the waters below!

Whether you’re taking a tour of the local pubs or a helicopter ride to a private island, any one of the many helicopter tours in Cairns can be a marvelous addition to any Australian vacation package.


If you’re itching for adventure and longing for tropical temperatures, rafting in Cairns may be the perfect vacation option for you. Under the vast canopy of the Barron Gorge National Park rainforest and falls, you’ll take to the Barron River for an exhilarating white water rafting experience that’s perfect for beginners as well as experts.

Whether you’re rafting for a full day or showing up after a morning rainforest tour on a rugged ATV quad bike, your itch for adventure is sure to be scratched in the best way, and it’ll only cost you between 75 and 100 AUD! Talk about a bargain.


The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, so big that it can be seen all the way from space. Don’t believe us? Go skydiving in Cairns and see for yourself!

Head to Mission Beach, which is just a short drive away from Cairns City, and climb 15,000 in an airplane before you take a heart pounding 60 second dive which, once you open your parachute, will turn into a pleasant 5-7 minute descent where you’ll be able to take in the full Great Barrier Reef and all of the beauty that surrounds it. Plus, you’ll land on a tropical beach!

Airplane tours

If you’re not sure what you’d like to see first on your tropical vacation, why not take one of several airplane tours in Cairns and get a taste of all of the natural beauty that Cairns City and its surrounding ocean and rainforests have to offer?

You’ll spend between 30 and 45 minutes in a comfortable, air-conditioned plane with a guaranteed window seat as the expert pilot gives a presentation full of information about Green Island, the Kuranda Rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, and all of the other amazing sights you’ll be able to marvel at during the flight.

Hot air balloon rides

There’s nothing more magical than hot air balloon rides in Cairns. You’ll start your day by getting picked up right from your hotel accommodation in Cairns city, and then you’ll take to the skies in a hot air balloon and fly over the awe inspiring Atherton Tablelands. Catch sight of kangaroos, wallabees, and exotic birds, as well as miles of gorgeous vegetation and crops like lychees, avocados, mangoes, and more!

Once the flight is complete, the team will help you wind down with a selection of fun games and activities, as well as a chance to chat about the whole experience and ask any lingering questions you may still have.

Quad tours

Quad tours in Cairns are perfect for the rugged adventure type who really wants to get down and dirty and get to know the rainforest from the inside. Zip and Jump around dirt tracks and over creek crossings in Barron Gorge National Park as you take in the rich wildlife and history.

Once you're done, you may choose to keep the adrenaline pumping with a white water rafting excursion on the Barron River, or if you’re with your little ones, you might instead opt to visit an adorable petting zoo located near the quaint mountain town of Kuranda.

Jeep tours

There are so many incredible tourist attractions to take in in Cairns City alone, but if you’re ready to venture out and explore the rest of the area, jeep tours in Cairns are ready to take you on an extensive tour of Northern Queensland, Barron Gorge National Park, the Kuranda Rainforest, Cooktown, and more.

Get the most out of the Australian wilderness with multi-day AWD tours that include delicious meals and accommodations and are completely and totally eco friendly. The best part is that prices range from 200 AUD all the way to 1750 AUD, so you’ll be able to find the perfect adventure package for just about any budget.

Jet boat tours

From the Marlin Marina, home of the world famous St Monica’s Cathedral which has the largest stained glass windows in the world, you’ll hit the open water and ride around the Trinity Inlet when you take one of the jet boat tours in Cairns. As cool, refreshing tropical ocean water flashes across your face, you’ll be able to take in Cairns City in one of the most unique ways possible.

There are multiple jet boat departures every day, so you’ll never need to worry about missing out on your spot. Best of all, the whole thing only costs 75 AUD!

Stand up paddle

For a relaxing and educational tropical rainforest experience, there isn’t really a more perfect option than stand up paddle in Cairns. Once you’ve mastered the art of the paddle board, you’ll pretty much be left to your own devices as you float down 9 kilometer stretch of the Babinda Creek, stopping as often as you want to check out the local plant life, watch exotic birds and other animals, or enjoy lunch on the tropical beach.

As long as you reach your meeting point at the agreed upon time, you’ll be able to enjoy this rainforest river experience at your leisure.

Bungee jumping

Way back in 1987, a man named AJ Hackett illegally jumped off the Eiffel Tower...and lived to tell the tale! Not long after that, he came to Australia to construct the world’s first tower purpose built for bungee jumping.

When you go bungee jumping in Cairns, that’s the tower you’ll be jumping from! The bungee tower features no less than 16 different jump options and offers all kinds of other goodies and mementos for you to remember the experience by. Best of all, you’ll be able to get picked up and dropped off right at your hotel accommodation in Cairns.

Zip line

When you zip line in Cairns, you’ll be doing it from the world famous Bungee Tower, built in 1990 by bungee jumper and entrepreneur extraordinaire AJ Hackett. For 300 AUD, you’ll be able to zip through Queensland’s dense and exotic rainforest on your own or with a partner, and then you’ll be able to take as many jumps as you can fit into 6 hours.

Remember, there are more than 16 different jump options available at Bungee Tower in Cairns! There are some physical requirements to take into consideration before going zip lining or bungee jumping in Cairns.

Horse riding

For those traveling with a family and looking for the perfect daytime activity in the tropical sun, you can’t beat horse riding in Cairns. At a charming family farm near the quaint mountain town of Kuranda, take horse riding and ATV quad bike lessons where you’ll even have the opportunity to cross a river in the rainforest.

Once that’s all done, take the kids to the petting zoo and let them feed the adorable baby animals. Best of all, the whole thing will only cost you about 75 AUD. Don’t forget to bring a sun hat and a camera!

Whale watching

Once a year, between the middle of July and the end of August, humpback whales leave the frigid waters of Antarctica and make their way down to the balmy tropical ocean that houses the Great Barrier Reef, where they begin the ritual of giving birth to their young.

When you go whale watching in Cairns, this is what you’ll experience from the comfort of a luxury cruise boat. Because this magical natural phenomenon only happens once a year, spots fill up fast, so you’ll want to make sure you book this one well in advance!