Australia’s tropical north Queensland, where the rainforest meets the reef, arguably has its capital in the city of Cairns. Surrounded by some of the country’s most beautiful natural wonders, Cairns is the ultimate jewel in Queensland’s tropical crown.
The city itself is situated between Gordonvale on the south and Ellis Beach to the north and the centre of the city revolves around Cairns Esplanade by the sea. Most of the action however is around the Reef Fleet Terminal, a precinct filled with alfresco dining, a marina and shopping centre at The Pier.
Smack in the middle is the Esplanade Lagoon, a 4800sq meter saltwater swimming pool to wallow in and cool off. Most of the city’s restaurants and bars are in the city centre, including the larger hotels and Reef Hotel Casino, for those who fancy a flutter.
North of the city stretch a string of beaches from Machans Beach, Holloways and Yorkeys Knob, which is renowned for wind surfing. Palm Cove, noted as the city’s spa central is surrounded by paperbark tree groves and beach lined palm trees that sway in the balmy tropical breeze.
The Esplanade hosts over twenty restaurants all with views out to sea, created for glorious lunches accompanied by some fine wine. There are lovely grassy areas to lie on, or even picnic on as you gaze out to the two islands just off the coast. Fish from the jetty or take one of many fishing charters, or conclude your day with a horse ride along the beach at sunset. Don’t be surprised to see wild kangaroos curiously pop their heads up as they happily live among the lush natural setting.
Award winning dining, boutique shopping and internationally classed golf are all in close proximity and Cairns is the perfect spot to jump into the jewel of Australia’s north, the Great Barrier Reef, the longest reef in the world. Whether you’re a dive enthusiast or just love floating atop the glistening sea with a snorkel and mask, this really is one of our greatest treasures.
Take off to the Tablelands for a few hours and feel the power of a natural waterfall, swim in a freshwater lake, go platypus spotting or just take in the majesty of the towering rainforest, some of the oldest on earth. Pop up to Kuranda and ride the Scenic Train to the mountain village and do a spot of shopping at the markets.
If golf is your thing, try it tropical style at the stunning Paradise Palms and explore the World Heritage Daintree Rainforest. Go island hopping on any number of charter options, from fine dining dinner cruises to full sail expeditions and overnight stays on board.
The sunshine and tropical beauty of Queensland’s north is an attractive drawcard for holidaymakers, the added charm comes from dedicated locals who clearly love their town. A number of festivals are celebrated, the largest being the Cairns Festival – 17 days of entertainment, art, music and plain old fun held annually in late August. Head north and discover this wonderful piece of Australia.