Cairns is a little piece of Australian tropical paradise, where the weather is pretty much perfect all year round and you are surrounded by adventure everywhere you turn. Although it is pretty much impossible to swim at the pristine beaches along the coast line due to threats of crocodiles, stingers, and dangerous jellyfish, there are plenty of ways to cool down, keep active, and experience this special little piece of Australia.
Even though it is quite isolated at the top of Queensland, Cairns has both an international and domestic airport, and is also accessible through the Spirit of Queensland train line which links throughout the rest of Australia.
So you only have 48 hours to spend in Cairns? Well there is a whole heap you can pack into those limited hours to get the full Cairns experience. I personally accomplished everything I am about to tell you in 48 hours, so it isn’t impossible!
Swim in the Great Barrier Reef
One of the seven natural wonders in the world, and also holding the title of the biggest living thing, the Great Barrier Reef is a breathtaking, incredible experience – the photos do not do it justice. With the sad recent research released claiming that the reef is in serious trouble due to pollution, coral bleaching, and the ever growing population crown of thorns starfish, it is sadly not going to be around for forever so there is no better time than now to go there. You can do a half day boat and snorkel trip, or a full day experience which incorporates Green Island and other reefs to explore all leaving from the Cairns Marina.
Explore the oldest rainforest in the world
Over 110 million years old, the Daintree Rainforest holds the title of the oldest in the world, and largest in all of Australia.There are many areas you are able to explore and access, with an incredible array of Australian flora and fauna to discover, including the elusive Ulysses butterfly and the cassowary. With hiking trails from both easy to difficult, the views are absolutely phenomenal and well worth the effort. It is a tropical rainforest so the temperatures are high (it was in the 40s [celsius] when I went in February), so make sure you bring plenty of water with you!
Explore Green Island
Green Island is a small island in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park with plenty of reefs to explore and things to do. You can access it on chartered boats, or spend the night as accommodation is also offered in the island resort. We snorkelled with reef sharks, sea turtles, and giant wrasse fish! On the island you are able to see the infamous crocodiles of Cairns, alongside the largest crocodile in captivity, Cassius, who is over 5.5m long and 110 years old! Green Island is a little slice of paradise and I really recommend spending a few hours exploring.
Explore Cape Tribulation
A beautiful beach location in the Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation holds immense history dating back to when Captain Cook explored Australia for the very first time. It is a great place to explore and get back in touch with nature.
Take a dip in Mossman Gorge
Cairns is hot, and I mean incredibly hot. When I stepped off the plane the heat hit me in the chest and it was hard to breathe at first – that’s how hot it is! You cannot swim in the beaches due to the risks of our dangerous Australian wildlife, so finding a nice watering hole is where you are able to cool down. Mossman Gorge holds great Aboriginal history, and some of the clearest, coldest fresh water I have ever swam in. You won’t run into any crocodiles here as the water is too cold for them to swim in!
Spot a crocodile on the Daintree River
You have to cross the Daintree River to get in to the Daintree Rainforest, so why not go for a little cruise while you are there! It is beautiful and peaceful, and you are guaranteed to see some of the infamous crocodiles that Northern Queensland are so famous for.
So there you have it – Cairns in 48 hours! It really is a beautiful part of the world, so even if you are just on a stopover from your international flight, or take a week off work to explore, it will be worth it. You won’t find a place so diverse and brimming with life anywhere else in the world!