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Nares Tours

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The 10 Best Cairns Tours

1

Great Barrier Reef Cruise from Cairns

The Great Barrier Reef needs no introduction. It’s the largest coral reef in the world, where the glittering turquoise ocean is home to an astonishing array of tropical marine creatures. Cairns is the perfect jumping-off point to explore the reef and see what lies beneath the waves.

Boat tours are the ultimate way to reach the reef, and often come with a gourmet lunch served on board. You can go snorkeling or scuba diving on Cairns tours to the Great Barrier Reef, for close encounters with exotic fish and sea turtles. This is what paradise looks like, and it’s yours for the taking. 
 

2

Scenic Reef Flights from Cairns

If you’d like a different perspective of the Great Barrier Reef, take to the skies on a panoramic airplane tour and see it from above. You’ll be able to appreciate the mind-boggling reef shapes and ocean colors that make it so famous. Helicopter tours from Cairns are also available.

Window seats come as standard on all scenic flights, so make sure those camera batteries are fully charged. Highlights of these Cairns tours include seeing Oyster Reef, Double Island and Palm Cove, which appear even more enchanting from the sky. You’ll enjoy aerial views of the city too before heading out to the reef. 
 

3

Kuranda Train and Skyrail Tours

Cairns tours aren’t all about the Great Barrier Reef. Just a stone’s throw from the city is the world’s oldest tropical rainforest – Kuranda. This World Heritage Rainforest sprawls across 100 acres in the Cairns Highlands and makes a pleasing contrast to the city and beach scene. 

Enjoy a relaxing ride on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, traveling in authentic wooden carriages through the tropical forest. Or, for a bird’s-eye view, hop on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and glide over the treetops in style. From your comfortable perch on board, you’ll see the dramatic Barron Falls tumbling through the gorge far below.
 

4

Whitewater Rafting at Barron Gorge National Park

For thrills and maybe a few spills, head to Barron Gorge National Park and try your hand at whitewater rafting. Don’t worry if it’s your first time – instruction will be given, and you’ll be accompanied by an experienced guide. Just prepare to get wet during this exhilarating river run!

After getting in a bit of paddling practice and admiring the scenery, it’s time to shoot the rapids. You’ll be tackling grade II and III waters, surrounded by plunging cliffs on either side. Rafting tours aren’t for the faint-hearted but are richly rewarding for all those who venture down this wilderness canyon.
 

5

Cape Tribulation Day Tours from Cairns

Swap the city for a slice of the countryside on these Cairns tours as you explore the remote headland of Cape Tribulation. This pristine coastal region lies within Daintree National Park and boasts some of the prettiest beaches and rainforests in Australia. 

The area is renowned for its bird life, with everything from cassowaries to honeyeaters flitting about the trees. There are several boardwalk trails that wind through the rainforest, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with nature. To see some bigger beasts, head out on a crocodile cruise and spot the fearsome reptiles basking in the sun on the riverbanks. 
 

6

Daintree Forest Tours from Cairns

The Daintree Rainforest lies in the heart of Queensland, stretching for 1,200 square kilometers along the coast. Despite its size, the forest retains an air of mystery and much of it is relatively unexplored. 

Guided jeep tours are a fun way to get around – they allow you to check out some of the more remote tracks in the region. Boat cruises are a more relaxing option, while walking excursions offer an immersive jungle experience. 

Wildlife is a key component of any day trip to Daintree from Cairns. Keep your eyes peeled for paradise kingfishers, tree frogs and crocodiles as you delve deeper into the forest.
 

7

Mossman Gorge Tours from Cairns

Queensland has no shortage of nature experiences, and these Cairns tours to Mossman Gorge are among the most memorable. This ancient canyon is hidden away in Daintree National Park, with crystal-clear water running through its heart. If you’re looking for a day out in the wild, this ticks all the boxes.

Mossman Gorge is about culture as well as nature. Here, you can take part in a traditional Aboriginal smoke ceremony and learn about the indigenous ecosystem at the Mossman Gorge Center. Then it’s time for a hiking tour through the canyon and a rewarding freshwater swim to cool off afterward.
 

8

Cairns Hot Air Balloon Ride

The Cairns region is one of the most beautiful parts of Australia, with reefs, rainforests and ravines to explore. Yet the only way to truly appreciate the vast scale of this untouched natural world is from above. A hot air balloon ride offers the ultimate sightseeing experience and unrivaled views of these famous wilderness landscapes.

You’ll float silently above the majestic Atherton Tablelands, where wallabies and kangaroos bound around on the plains. The diversity of plant life is apparent from above too, especially in the Kuranda Rainforest. From your aerial vantage point, you’ll be able to spot waterfalls and mountain towns in abundance.
 

9

Atherton Tablelands Food & Wine Tours

Cairns tours to the Atherton Tablelands are among the most coveted adventures from the city. This highland region is home to rainforests, wetlands and some of the region’s most famous cuisine! 

The Atherton Tablelands area is a magnet for foodies and wine connoisseurs, with organic local produce harvested from the fertile volcanic soil. You’ll visit several different venues during your food tour, including a Victorian tea house, a cheese factory and a coffee plantation. 

Expect everything from grilled crocodile and cream scones to dragon fruit cider and tropical wine on the menu. Just make sure you go with a healthy appetite!
 

10

Fitzroy Island Adventure Day Tours from Cairns

Fitzroy Island lies a couple of kilometers off the coast of Cairns and makes a great destination for boat trips from the city. Swimming, beach picnics and hiking are all part of the adventure here on Fitzroy Island. After arriving in style by catamaran, you’ll have about 7 hours to explore at leisure.

The pristine waters of Nudey Beach are perfect for paddle boarding and kayaking, while the island interior offers walking trails for all fitness levels. Take a glass-bottom boat tour for something more serene or discover the vibrant marine world during a relaxing snorkel excursion. 
 

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Guide

Planning your visit to Cairns

Discover our complete guide to visiting Nares.

About Cairns

Perfectly positioned up in tropical Queensland, Cairns is one of the most-visited cities in Australia. Known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is surrounded by idyllic ocean and lush rainforest.

Good to know before arriving

It’s easy to travel around Cairns itself, with regular buses servicing the popular tourist areas of the city. To explore further afield, your best option is to book some Cairns tours – it’s always more rewarding to visit places with a local expert.

Places and experiences that cannot be missed

Day trips to the Great Barrier Reef, Kuranda and Daintree should be at the top of your Cairns bucket list. When you’ve ticked those off, there is still heaps to see and do in the area. Cairns city tours will reveal a unique perspective of this popular settlement while Cairns Museum offers an intriguing snapshot of the past.