ROL Cruise recommends...
1. Explore the city
Cairns is a friendly city, loved by residents and popular with tourists. More than just a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns offers plenty to do; from shopping and fine dining, to art galleries and an impressive Esplanade. This 1.5 mile stretch of promenade features a large, open-air lagoon swimming pool, plus green parklands with free barbecue facilities around its edge. At weekends, live music and busy markets bring the community together.
2. Visit the Great Barrier Reef
No trip to Australia would be complete without experiencing the magnificence of the Great Barrier Reef. Stretching for 1,430 miles along the east coast of Queensland, encompassing the largest coral reef ecosystem on earth, it's easy to see why this World Heritage Site has been voted as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Trips from Cairns can take as little as 45 minutes, so you could be face-to-face with its diverse and colourful marine life sooner than you think. Snorkel, dive or take a sea kayak through the crystal clear waters; alternatively, enjoy the scenery from a glass bottom boat or on a helicopter tour.
3. Take a scenic coastal drive
Head north from Cairns and drive along the Captain Cook Highway for truly breath-taking views. To the right are spectacular coral reefs amidst a cerulean sea, while a tropical rainforest stretches to your left. At the end of your journey is Port Douglas, a former mining town that boasts the marvellous Four Mile Beach. Well known for its many restaurants, golf courses, tourists also flock here during May for the Port Douglas Carnivale.
4. Be astounded by nature
Cape Tribulation is the only place in the world where two World Heritage Sites meet – Daintree National Park and The Great Barrier Reef. The lush rainforest of the Daintree National Park is home to an extremely diverse collection of flora and fauna, including some exotic species found nowhere else on the planet. Look out for Cassowary birds and estuarine crocodiles as you follow the Dubuji Boardwalk walking trail. Pass through mangroves and swampland before reaching the peaceful beaches of Cape Tribulation. If you have time, make sure you explore the freshwater swimming holes of Mossman Gorge.