With a year-round outdoor lifestyle, unique natural attractions, energetic nightlife, award-winning restaurants and luxurious accommodation options, tropical Cairns offers all the ingredients you need for a memorable honeymoon or romantic getaway.
Famous for being the gateway to two World Heritage-listed sites – the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics rainforest – Cairns (pronounced Caans) is the perfect location for adventurous honeymoon couples.
With more than 600 tours a day, you can choose to flirt with adventure or be enchanted by exotic experiences.
Cairns offers newlyweds a wide range of attractions in town and many more that are just a short drive or boat ride away, including the following…
If you are planning to dive or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, this is definitely the best way to be sure you get the most out of your experience.
Learn more about the Great Barrier Reef from qualified marine biologists and conservationists who present informative and entertaining lectures on the reef's evolution as well as about the various inhabitants of this delicate marine ecosystem.
More about Reef Teach, Cairns…
Get up close with koalas, lizards, frogs, pademelons, turtles and snakes as birds soar overhead.
See a large saltwater crocodile named Goliath (and some 200 animals) all housed in a 20m-high glass dome set on the roof of the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino.
Join free guided tours and wildlife presentations throughout the day.
More about Cairns Wildlife Dome…
Discover the history and culture of the Aboriginal Tjapukai people at this showcase dedicated to the indigenous culture.
Allow two to three hours to view the whole spectacle that includes a dance performance and the opportunity to participate in interactive activities while learning about bush foods and medicines.
You can even try your hand at throwing a boomerang, traditional fire-making and didgeridoo playing. A nearby gallery offers authentic Aboriginal artworks, artefacts and didgeridoo instruments for sale.
More about Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park…
Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the rainforest from a six-person cable car on a 7km-long journey above the rainforest canopy to the hilltop village of Kuranda.
Along the way, you can hop on and off at two stations (Red Peak and Barron Falls) and explore the rainforest on a short ranger-guided tour. The cableway base station is located 15km north of Cairns.
More about Skyrail Rainforest Cableway…
An alternate to the Skyrail is the Kuranda Scenic Railway, which makes a pleasant one-hour and 55-minute journey through rain forest and 15 hand-hewn tunnels to and from Kuranda village.
A narrative on the railway's construction and Kuranda's WWII history are broadcast during the trip.
More about Kuranda Scenic Railway…
Take the scenic railway, the Skyrail or drive up to this pretty hilltop village, known for its daily markets and as the gateway to the Atherton Tablelands.
Admire more than 1500 tropical butterflies at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, including the electric-blue Ulysses species and Australia's largest butterfly, the green-and-gold Cairns Birdwing.
At Birdworld, see the endangered cassowary and at the nearby Koala Gardens cuddle koalas and see wallabies, wombats, snakes and crocodiles in open walk-through enclosures.
More about Kuranda…
Discover one of Australia’s best croc shows that occupies a beautiful natural setting surrounding a 2-hectare lagoon (home to 23 estuarine crocs) and fringed by melaluca (Paperbark) and bloodwood trees.
Watch monster crocs being hand fed at 11am and see the ‘croc attack’ show and the ‘death roll’ during the 45-minute performance at 3pm.
There are also croc- and snake-handling opportunities as well as tours of the croc farm at 10am and 1:30pm. You can even feed a huge croc yourself using a long pole during the personalised Big Croc Experience.
More about Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures…
Rainforest attractions include…
The Barron Gorge is best seen in the wet season when the river is a wild torrent plunging down the falls.
The gorge can be accessed from the Skyrail station and from the Barron Falls Road, just 2km from Kuranda – a short walking track descends to a choice of swimming spots along the railway and river from where you can hop on the Kuranda Riverboat for a 45-minute cruise.
Discover the cool, tropical Atherton Tablelands located on a rolling plateau around 700 metres above sea level and less than an hour’s drive from Cairns.
Hire a car and drive the Kuranda Range Road that ascends the coastal range from Cairns to the rainforest village of Kuranda.
Alternatively, try the twisty Gillies Highway from Gordonvale to Yungaburra – just perfect for adventurous drivers. Located just 35 kilometres south of Cairns, the highway ascends via 263 corners to 800m above sea level in only 19km.
Along the way, stop off at some of the lookouts to take in the spectacular view of the valleys set deep in the Great Dividing Range. Drive past coffee plantations, tropical fruit farms and several historic villages.
More about Atherton Tablelands…
White-water raft the might Tully River or take in the majestic views of the gorge from several lookout points, including the Tully Falls lookout, 24km south of Ravenshoe. Access to the gorge is via Tully, a two hour drive (141km) south of Cairns.
Discover one the most accessible and scenic regions of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area at the Mossman Gorge in Daintree National Park.
Stroll the 400m-long river circuit track to viewing platforms and a suspension bridge over the Mossman River or take the 2.7km rain-forest walking track.
Walk amidst strangler figs and epiphytic plants flourishing beside the crystal-clear waters of the Mossman River as it cascades over granite boulders in the Mossman Gorge. Cool off with a swim in the ice-cold water at one of the croc-free swimming holes.
Along the way look out for brilliant blue Ulysses butterfly and birds such as the eastern yellow robin, and try to spot tree and musky rat-kangaroos, Boyd's water dragons, scrub fowl and turtles.
More about Mossman Gorge…
Take a guided tour through the fascinating lava tubes at Undara Volcanic Park.
The hollow basalt tunnels were created during a volcanic outpouring some 190,000 years ago. The lava tubes extend over an area of 150,000-hectares; some are 18m high and 800m long.
Undara is the Aboriginal word for ‘a long way,’ which is apt considering that one of the original lava tubes extends for 160km in total. Take a daytrip from Cairns or stay longer on a two-or three-night outback experience tour.
Read more Undara Volcanic National Park…
Discover giant termite mounds scattered across savanna scrub and see hundreds of bird species, including Australia's only stork, the Jabiru, on this reclaimed wetland.
Take a nature-based excursion on and around the vast lagoons. Try the two and a half hour Sunset Reserve Safari, which combines a bird-watching cruise and a ranger-guided savanna drive on which you'll most likely spot wallabies and kangaroos. Paddle canoes or try fly-fishing for ancient species in the lagoons.
Come on a daytrip from Cairns or stay longer in eco-certified luxury safari-tent accommodation. Mareeba Tropical Savanna & Wetlands is located 65km west of Cairns, just past the town of Mareeba.
Read more Mareeba Tropical Savanna…
Swim in a sacred Aboriginal site at the Babinda Boulders swimming hole.
The site is easily reached by driving from Cairns or by hiking the 19km-long Goldfield Track from the Goldsborough Valley, southwest of Cairns, to Babinda Boulders car park. The site is located 7km from Babinda, about 60km south of Cairns.
Choose from several trails to explore at this World Heritage listed site, one of the most densely forested areas in Australia and home to more than 500 different tree species.
Follow 600m-long trails for an easy 30-minute walk to Tchupala Falls and to Josephine Falls (photo) or try the more challenging Bartle Frere trail, which takes two days.
Here you can hike through lowland tropical rainforest to the stunted growth on Mt. Bartle Frere, at 1,611m, the highest point in Queensland. Along the way, look out for platypus, turtles, and possums after dark at Henrietta Creek campground.
Don’t miss the Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway, a 2.5km-long treetop walkway that includes a 37m-high tower with two viewing decks. The walkway sits around 15m above the ground and offers views of the North Johnstone river gorge and the mountain peaks of the Wet Tropics World Heritage area.
More about Wooroonooran National Park…
Offshore attractions include…
Discover the world’s largest living structure and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Stretching more than 2000km in length and covering an area of more than 23 million hectares, the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef comprises more than 2100 individual reefs plus 500 islands with fringing reefs.
Explore a magical underwater world that is home to more than 400 varieties of coral and 1500 species of tropical fish and marine creatures – the perfect location for scuba diving and snorkelling.
If you would prefer not to get wet, stay dry and enjoy the reef views from an underwater viewing chamber, glass bottom boat or semi-submersible.
The reef is easily accessible via fast, ultramodern catamarans, boats, seaplanes and helicopters, which all depart daily from the Cairns marina.
More about Great Barrier Reef…
Cruise over to Green Island on a day trip from Cairns and enjoy snorkelling, diving, windsurfing, sea-kayaking, glass-bottom-boat rides, parasailing as well as rainforest walks.
Explore the 10ha island by foot on a 2km-long trail that circles the island or head inland to experience the spectacular rainforest.
Try to spot some of the 60 species of birds that live here, including egrets, ospreys, sea eagles and woodswallows, and some of the more than 130 species of plant and tree.
Or just relax at one of Green Island Resort's swimming pools. Green Island is just 27km east of Cairns. More about Green Island…
Take a day trip from Cairns and enjoy snorkelling, diving, sea-kayaking, glass-bottom-boat rides as well as rainforest walks and hikes to the lighthouse at the top of the hill.
With a 339ha national park, a picturesque rocky foreshore indented with white-sand beaches and coral reefs almost completely surrounded the island, Fitzroy offers a perfect playground for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and bushwalking.
Fitzroy Island is just 45 minutes from Cairns. More about Fitzroy Island…
Cairns has it all from rainforest treks, snorkelling and scuba diving to white-water rafting and bungee jumping.
Ride a fast wave-piercing catamaran to the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, home to more than 400 varieties of coral and 1500 species of tropical fish that inhabit the fringing reefs of 500 islands and 2100 individual reefs.
Swim around amazing coral formations and among colourful marine life at the Agincourt Ribbon Reef, Moore Reef or Green Island. Or stay dry: check out the underwater observatory and watch a variety of marine life from the comfort of a semi-submersible.
Alternatively, take a helicopter tour for a bird's eye view of the Great Barrier Reef as you soar above Arlington Reef, Green Island and Upolu Cay.
Snorkel or dive above the amazing coral formations of the Great Barrier Reef. See some of the more than 400 varieties of coral and 1500 species of colourful tropical fish that inhabit the fringing reefs.
For the best spots, book a dive cruise to the usually crystal-clear waters off Agincourt Ribbon Reef, Moore Reef, Upolu Cay, Green Island or Lizard Island.
Cod Hole, located just 20km from Lizard Island, ranks among the best dive sites in the world. Swim among massive potato cod – some weigh 300 pounds and reach around two metres in length.
The island lures big-game anglers from all over the world from September to December, when black marlin are running.
Can't swim or don't want to get your hair wet? Don't worry, you can still see the wonders of the Reef – just don a dive helmet and ‘walk’ underwater. Several tour companies offer a modern version of the old-style diving helmets, which allow you to breathe underwater: the helmet has air pumped into it by a hose. It’s quite safe as you walk into the water to a depth of about 4m accompanied by instructors.
Or stay dry by watching a variety of marine life from the comfort of a semi-submersible, glass-bottomed boat or the underwater observatory.
Choose from several experienced cruise operators that offer a wide range of day trips out to the Barrier Reef from the Reef Fleet Terminal in Cairns Marina.
Choose from fast catamarans, high-speed launches or sailing yachts. Great Adventures (www.greatadventures.com.au) offers daily reef cruises from Cairns in fast, air-conditioned catamarans to a three-level pontoon on the Outer Reef.
The pontoon includes a kind’s swimming area, a semisubmersible and an underwater observatory. The cruise offers an option to stop at Green Island, where you have time to walk nature trails, snorkel the off-shore reef or just laze on the beach.
Hook up a charter for black marlin during the season from September to December – the waters around Lizard Island lures big-game anglers from all over the world.
You can also chase Pacific sailfish, dogtooth and yellowfin tuna, Spanish mackerel, wahoo, dolphin fish, barracuda and tiger shark.
Anglers can expect to hook coral trout, red emperor (sea perch) and sweetlip on the reefs, and mangrove jack, barramundi and tarpon in the estuaries. Up to 214 charter fishing, diving and private vessels can moor along Marlin Marina.
Big-game fishing is a big business here; fish weighing more than 1,000 pounds have been caught in the waters off the reef. Most of the dive boats and catamarans that ply the Great Barrier Reef dock here or at nearby Trinity Wharf.
Accompanied by an experienced guide, explore on foot the 140 million-year-old tropical rainforest at the World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park at Cape Tribulation. Follow tracks past strangler figs and epiphytic plants alongside the Mossman River as it cascades over huge granite boulders.
Walk the Gorge Circuit, a 3km track that snakes through the lush Mossman Gorge. Spot eastern yellow robins or blue Ulysses butterflies flittering through the canopy, then cool off with a refreshing swim in a rock pool in Mossman Gorge and perhaps spy a Boyd's rainforest dragon sunning itself on a mossy rock.
Learn more about the mysteries of the rainforest and later spot crocodiles and other wildlife on a Daintree River cruise. Or experience nature close up on an exciting quad bike ride through rainforest and tropical savannah.
Don't miss Barron Gorge National Park, just a 15 minutes drive from Cairns or head 75km south to Wooroonooran National Park.
Explore the 110-million-year-old Daintree National Park on foot accompanied by an experienced guide. Follow a choice of tracks past strangler figs and epiphytic plants alongside the Mossman River as it cascades over granite boulders.
Try the Gorge Circuit, a 3km track that snakes through the lush Mossman Gorge. Spot eastern yellow robins or blue Ulysses butterflies flitter through the canopy, then cool off with a refreshing swim in a rock pool at lush Mossman Gorge and perhaps spy a Boyd's rainforest dragon sunning itself on a mossy rock.
Learn more about the mysteries of the rainforest and later spot crocodiles and other wildlife on a Daintree River cruise. Or experience nature close up on an exciting quad bike ride through rainforest and tropical savannah.
The Daintree is located 2hours-drive north of Cairns. However, there are several tracts of rainforest closer to Cairns that are still considered part of the Wet Tropics. Try a day-into-night walk into the Atherton Tablelands.
Thrill to the Class III Barron River in the hills behind Cairns; the Class IV to V rapids of the Johnstone River; and the popular Class III to IV rides on the Tully River, 90 minutes south of Cairns near Mission Beach. For the less-adventurous, try rafting try the gentle Barron River.
Ride the scenic, 100-year-old Kuranada Railway as it delves into hand-cut tunnels, across bridges, past spectacular waterfalls and though tropical rainforest.
At Kuranda, browse the Heritage Markets and pick up some arty handicrafts – the hippie tradition still remains b in this idyllic village – then board the Skyrail Cableway for a bird’s eye view above the rainforest canopy and panoramic views of Cairns.
Take a break at Barron Falls Station for a walk through the rainforest and visit the CSIRO Interpretive Centre to learn more about local plants and animals.
Hire a car and cruise east through Kuranda into the scenic Atherton Tablelands, north past the beaches of Palm Cove to Port Douglas, the Mossman Gorge and the Daintree National Park; or head south to Josephine Falls in the stunning Wooroonooran National Park.
Further south the Great Green Way connects Cairns to Townsville – a 348km-long drive through sugarcane, papaya and banana plantations, passing numerous white-sand beaches with offshore islands beckoning in the sunlight.
Take a helicopter tour for a bird's eye view of the Great Barrier Reef as you soar above Arlington Reef, Green Island and Upolu Cay. Or head inland and soar above Kuranda and the Atherton Tableland.
Learn to throw a boomerang, watch craft demonstrations and be entertained by the famous Tjapukai Dance Troupe at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.
If you fancy unwinding on the beach, head to Cairns’ northern suburbs and relax on the pristine sandy beaches of Palm Cove, Yorkeys Knob or Trinity Beach – perfect for soaking up the sun. Or stroll the 3km-long Esplanade in Cairns then cool off with a swim in the Esplanade lagoon.
The rainforest along the tropical north Queensland coast are the oldest continually surviving trees on earth. Some trees are thought to be more than 3000 years old.
Cairns offers an excellent range of honeymoon accommodation options to suit all budgets, including five-star international hotels, luxurious resorts and waterfront apartments…
Pullman Reef Hotel Casino
Location: Wharf Street, Cairns
Prices: from AUD295 per double room
Description: The Pullman Reef Hotel Casino features elegant rooms with a spa bath and a balcony overlooking Cairns or Trinity Inlet, and is located only 250 metres from Cairns Esplanade. The modern air-conditioned rooms have flat-screen cable TV and a tea and coffee maker. Each room has a large bathroom with luxury C.O. Bigelow toiletries. Cairns Wildlife Dome, with koalas, wallabies and crocodiles, is located in the hotel complex. The award-winning Tamarind Restaurant features Thai-inspired fusion cuisine. Flinders Bar & Grill offers light meals in a casual setting, while Café China serves authentic Chinese food. The Pullman Reef Hotel Casino is 5 minutes’ walk from Cairns Convention Centre, and 15 minutes’ drive from Cairns Airport.
Shangri-La Hotel The Marina Cairns
Location: Marlin Marina, Cairns
Prices: from AUD320 per double room
Description: The 5-star Shangri-La Hotel offers luxury accommodation with stunning views of the Cairns Marlin Marina. It features an outdoor swimming pool and free Wi-Fi internet access. All rooms feature a private balcony overlooking a tropical garden, Trinity Bay or Marlin Marina. Flat-screen satellite TV and comfortable bathrobes and slippers are included. Other features include a laptop safe, trouser press and minibar. The North Bar & Kitchen offers waterfront and mountain views, and serves Modern Australian cuisine fused with Mediterranean and Asian flavours. Drinks and light snacks are available at The Poolside Bar. THe Shangri-La Hotel The Marina Cairnsis located just a 10-minute drive from Cairns Airport. The Great Barrier Reef Departure Terminal and Pier Shopping Centre are located within 3 minutes’ walking distance.
Pullman Cairns International
Location: Abbott Street, Cairns
Prices: from AUD329 per double room
Description: The luxurious 5-star Pullman Cairns International is located in the centre of Cairns. All rooms have large balconies overlooking the harbour or mountains. Premium rooms offer a separate living and dining area. The spacious guest rooms are beautifully appointed, with tiled floors and marble bathrooms. All guests receive a luxury bathrobe. The outdoor swimming pool is surrounded by tropical gardens. Rejuvenate at the deluxe Vie Spa, offering body scrubs, massages, men's treatments and spa packages, in one of 10 treatment rooms. Coco's Restaurant offers hot and cold buffet breakfast options and an à la carte dinner menu utilising the region’s best quality produce. The Lobby Bar serves exotic cocktails and delicious light snacks. The Pullman Cairns is a 5-minute walk from Cairns Convention Centre. Cairns Pier is only 500 m away.
Location: 34 Esplanade, Cairns
Prices: from AUD297 per double room
Description: The Hilton Cairns offers stylish rooms with a private balcony overlooking Trinity Inlet or Cairns city. It features a lagoon-style pool, a fitness centre and 2 restaurants with water views. Each room at Hilton Cairns Hotel includes a minibar, in-room safe, work desk with internet connectivity and cable TV. The elegant bathroom has a hairdryer and guest toiletries. Guests can relax in the spa pool, or enjoy a massage at Aiga Day Spa. Free Wi-Fi is provided in the lobby. The tour desk can book trips to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation. The award-winning Mondo Café Bar and Grill offers outdoor dining and live music on Fridays. Hanuman Restaurant features innovative Pan-Asian cuisine. Six Degrees Bar specialises in creative cocktails. Hilton Cairns Hotel is located on the Cairns Esplanade, only 10 minutes’ walk from Cairns Convention Centre. Cairns Airport is a 15-minute drive away.
The best time to visit Cairns is during the winter dry season from June to mid-October, when the sky is invariably blue, the days are warm and sunny and the temperatures reach an average high of around 28°C (82°F).
Cairns experiences a tropical monsoon climate year round, with two seasons: hot and wet from November to May, and warm and dry from June to October, with little rainfall.
Average high temperatures reach 31°C (87°F) in February and 26°C (78°F) in July.
During the wet summer season, you can expect hot sunny days interspersed with torrential downpours. Tropical cyclones typically inundate coastal regions each year between December and April.
For more climate info: Cairns Weather Guide…
Cairns is located on the east coast of Cape York Peninsula in Far Northern Queensland, around 1700km (1056mi) north of Brisbane.
The most convenient route to Cairns is by air to Cairns International Airport (CNS), located about 7km (4mi) north of the city centre.
From some international destinations this may require first flying into Brisbane Airport (BNE) – or Melbourne or Sydney – followed by a connecting flight to Cairns International Airport.
For more info: Getting to Cairns…
Latest update: Best time to visit Cairns: 5 May, 2022