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Things to do in Cairns

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Fitzroy Island
Fitzroy Island is one of the most unspoilt islands adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. Fitzroy Island National Park is a mountainous rainforest oasis surrounded by fringing reef formations. Enjoy the resort facilities and rainforest walks to white coral beaches and spectacular lookouts. Fitzroy Island also offers a wide range of water sport activities as well as snorkelling, introductory and certified diving and a learn-to-dive school. The island is 339 hectares in size, 324 of which is protected as Fitzroy Island National Park. The island is on the continental shelf and is within sight of the mainland; in fact, it’s a peak in a mountain chain which lies south of Cairns. The reef surrounding Fitzroy Island is a “Fringing Reef”. Fitzroy Island is located on the Inner Barrier of the Central Region of the Great Barrier Reef. It is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
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Cairns Aquarium
Cairns Aquarium is showcasing a huge variety of marine life and corals from the waters of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It is located in the heart of the Tropical North Queensland city. The aquarium is also easy walking distance from most hotels, resorts and holiday apartments within the Cairns city. The aquarium support more than 3 million litres of salt, fresh and brackish water that a home to many creatures that are either rarely seen due to their nocturnal habits along with animals that are nowhere else on the planet. You will be able to be up close to rare, endangered, unusual and deadly specimens in the marine displays. There will be more than 15,000 creatures from all of the ecosystems in Tropical North Queensland that are interconnected in the survival of the Great Barrier Reef in themed exhibits such as the Open Ocean, The Great Barrier Reef, River Monsters, Rivers & Streams, Life in the Mangroves, Coral Atoll, Reptiles and Amphibians of the Rainforest, Dangers of the Reef and more. For further education about the Great Barrier Reef there are touch tanks, live diver talks from the deep reef tank and a Turtle Rehabilitation tour and even an opportunity to take a look at the behind the scenes Research Facility.
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Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary has been in operation for over 20 years and is the largest butterfly flight aviary in Australia. More than one million guests have enjoyed the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary since its inception. Come experience why the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary has been such a long lasting success. The aviary at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary has been designed to recreate the butterfly's natural tropical habitat. Enjoy the tranquility of the flowing fresh water streams, complete with waterfalls and surrounded by exotic tropical plants and flowers. This is the perfect natural haven for the spectacular butterflies. As you wander along the large paths that snake through the aviary take time to appreciate the vast variety of Lepidoptera (species of butterflies and moths). The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is also home to the world’s largest moth – the Hercules Moth. The Hercules Moth is endemic to Tropical North Queensland Australia and is a majestic creature of the jungle that really has to be seen to be believed! The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is an all weather activity, perfect for rainy days typical of the tropics. For guests that want to gain a greater appreciation for butterflies 30 minute complimentary tours are conducted every 15 minutes, providing visitors with a greater understanding of the butterflies life cycle and behaviour.
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Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park
Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park is a network of purpose-built, single-track mountain bike trails located in the Herberton Range State Forest. Trails meander through an open forest of gums, bloodwoods, mahoganys, she-oaks, grasstrees and cycads and some of the trails pass former forestry experimental plots of teak, blackbutt and tallowwood trees.
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Josephine Falls
The Josephine waterfalls and swimming hole are ranked amongst some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Tropical North Queensland Australia, and as such have been used in many television commercials. Visitors can swim in the crystal clear waters, and relax on the sandy beach as the gentle breeze rustles leaves high in the overhead rainforest canopy. Josephine Falls is a great place to spend a full day, half-day or just a visit and quick swim with a day tour operator. The public facilities here allow you to set up a barbeque and picnic in the purpose-built facilities and relax in this beautiful rainforest environment with your family and friends for a day. If you are an adventurer and love bushwalking or you are a dedicated a hiker then you may like to choose from a 1.2 km walk to the top waterfalls, a 10 km Bartle Frere hike to Broken Nose (return) or a 15 klm (one way) walk Bartle Frere up to the Atherton Tablelands over the back of the mountain. Josephine Falls is loved by Cairns locals all year round and a definite destination for nature lovers and backpackers alike. When you mingle in the clubs and bars around Cairns city you will hear the backpackers talking about their day’s adventure on the granite rock slides, the deep crystal clear rock pools and the absolute beauty of the place.
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Innisfail Chinese Temple
The Chinese Temple was built in 1940 by the shire's Chinese population who were drawn to the agricultural industry and the gold rushes of the region. Far North Queensland is a very special part of Australia. It is lush and Tropical with green intrusive mountains complementing the adjoining blue-water Great Barrier Reef. Innisfail is situated in the heart of Far North Queensland, and it is to this area that peoples from across the globe migrated, to share in Nature's bounty. The Chinese were one such small group and contributed to the community with their industrious ways and a subtle spiritual and cultural centre, referred to as the "Joss House", but now more appropriately named as the "Innisfail Temple".
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The Crystal Caves
The Crystal Caves will rock your world! One hour from Cairns on the Atherton Tablelands, share one man’s passion for crystals and fossils at the Crystal Caves. Journey through 300m2 of tunnels and grottos that Rene built to feature his million year old natural crystals and prehistoric fossils. Take a self-guided tour and marvel at the interactive displays which allow you to touch and photograph the crystals, you can even crack your own!
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The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest and longest coral reef system, stretching for 2,300km from the tip of Cape York in the north to Bundaberg in the south. Comprising 3,000 separate reefs and some 900 continental islands and coral cays, it’s one of the world’s great natural wonders. Home to over 1,500 species of fish, abundant marine life and over 200 types of birds, it’s also one of Australia’s greatest conservation successes. A World Heritage Area since 1981 (the world’s first reef ecosystem to be recognised by UNESCO), it is highly protected and one of the best-managed marine areas on Earth
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Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway takes you over and through World Heritage Rainforest on a 90 minute experience, allowing time at two rainforest stations, Red Peak and Barron Falls.
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Crater Lakes National Park
This popular park features a deep crater lake surrounded by cool lush rainforest. Lake Barrine, part of Crater Lakes National Park, is a maar—a crater lake formed by two massive volcanic explosions. Take the short stroll to the giant bull kauri trees or stretch your legs on the longer 5km track around the lake. Look for rainforest animals, such as the colourful but cryptic Boyd's forest dragon, along the way. Paddle your canoe onto the smooth lake and look for fish, turtles, eels and waterbirds along the shallow, reedy edges.
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Crystal Cascades
Crystal Cascades is one of the secrets of Tropical North Queensland that locals wish they could hide from visitors, accessible only by self drive. It is a secluded freshwater swimming hole, hidden in a tropical rainforest. A series of small waterfalls flow into large pools surrounded by large impressive granite boulders.
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Kuranda Scenic Railway
The Kuranda Scenic Railway is an unforgettable 1 hour and 45 minute journey up the tropically clad mountainous range from Cairns City to the eclectic Rainforest Village of Kuranda. The scenic railway journey winds its way through the spectacular World Heritage listed tropical rainforest and Barron Gorge. This memorable scenic train journey showcases the very best that Cairns and Tropical North Queensland has to offer, such as magnificent scenery, lush tropical rainforest, steep ravines and cascading waterfalls and rivers. The Kuranda Scenic Railway is one of Cairns' most popular attractions, and most visitors would not make the journey to visit Cairns and Tropical North Queensland without experiencing this enchanting unforgettable train ride.
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Paronella Park
Today Paronella Park remains a unique eco-friendly experience where history and romance are seamlessly fused together. Paronella Park is a magical, unforgettable place nestled amongst heritage gardens and 13 acres of lush Australian rainforest situated on the banks of the crystal clear waters of Mena Creek, south of Innisfail. The ruins of the Spanish Castillo feature prominently on the grounds of Paronella Park, as do several other distinctive structures that were designed and built by the original owner of Paronella Park – Jose Paronella. Visitors can explore the architecturally unique ruins of the Castle and buildings of yesteryear, or wander through the lush gardens and Australian rainforest while being transported to another time and place altogether.
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Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park prides itself on its authenticity. The Tjapukai people inhabited the tropic region that extends from Cairns to Port Douglas and inland to Kuranda. Their name means ‘People of the Rainforest'. The displays and cultural dances within the park portray the Dreamtime through to the present reality of today's Tjapukai people.