The Great Barrier Reef: a kaleidoscopic wonderland of undersea life from the joyously quirky to the astoundingly awesome. Cairns is your town if such wonder is what you seek: a magical gateway to the most abundant adventure Australia has to offer. Choose any compass point you like and you are sure to find beauty, with national parks to the south, the Atherton Tablelands to the west, the reef to the east and ancient rainforest to the north. With cheap flights to Cairns taking off it is now even more of an appealing destination for adventure.
The reef stretches a massive 2000 kilometers and contains the largest coral reef on the planet. There are many ways to explore it, with diving coming in as an obvious first. Colonies of coral come to life under water in a paint-box of different colors, fluorescent fish and the delicate curls of seahorses darting between. This underwater landscape is home to all manner of curious and clownish creatures and a range of colors which are startlingly unique to the reef. If diving seems a bit extreme then snorkeling and glass bottomed boats are other excellent ways of viewing the reef’s vibrant undersea life. Cruising, sailing, kayaking and flightseeing also abound if you are looking for a more relaxed experience. Whichever angle you approach the reef from, it cannot help but look anything short of spectacular.
Exploring Oceans: Great Barrier Reef
A land adventure from Cairns offers equally stunning surprises. The Atherton Tablelands tower 800m high, covering an area the same size as Ireland and competing with the reef in their abundance of wild beauty and color. As it should be with any journey, the beauty of the Tablelands trip is all in the getting there. The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is the longest in the world, and takes you from Cairns to the attractive market town of Kuranda. Glide like the native birds over pristine rainforest, moving soundlessly over the tree canopy to take in the awesome heights of the Barron Gorge National Park where you should keep your eye out for the iconic Ulysses butterfly. For a journey back to rival even the Skyrail, the Kuranda Scenic Railway offers you passage in the carriage of a historic locomotive with stop offs to take in the sights along the way.
Disembarking from your Skyrail journey at the Smithfield terminal, you will discover an experience which also grapples to be Cairns finest attraction, and is certainly one of the best examples of its kind. Tjapukai is an award-winning Aboriginal Culture Park. Hear the Dreamtime stories of Aboriginal mythology and watch theater shows of Aboriginal dance and song: loads of fun as well as being educational. If you are looking for an insight into Aboriginal history and culture then the park gives an opportunity to really immerse yourself. Tools and hunting methods are shared with visitors in the impressive mock-up camp, and the evening schedule includes a locally sourced banquet as well as a beautifully atmospheric stage show.