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Tropical North Queensland

The Canopy Treehouses: Unique Hotels In Cairns

The Canopy Treehouses, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

The Canopy Treehouses, Cairns

Stay in a treehouse nestled in the rainforest and get up close to Australian wildlife at the Canopy Treehouses in the Cairns Highlands, Queensland, Australia. 

The Canopy Treehouses offers six extremely private treehouses set in 100 acres of rainforest, teeming with wildlife. 

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

In the rainforest, visitors can find wildlife such as cassowaries, rare Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroos, endangered green possums, platypus, turtles, red-legged pademelon, wallabies,  coppery brushtail possums, northern bandicoots and birds including Victoria’s riflebirds, king parrots, spotted catbirds, honeyeaters and finches.

The eco-friendly treehouses are perched high in the rainforest canopy on the banks of the Ithaca River. 

There are three different accommodation options.

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

We stayed in one of the five self-contained timber and glass treehouses. Each treehouse has two bedrooms (one on the lower level and one in the “attic”), fully self-contained kitchen, spa bath and balcony with a BBQ and hammock. Other amenities include washing machine and dryer, telephone, DVD and TV. Each treehouse sleeps two to six people. 

The bedrooms contain either a queen or two single beds, perfect for families. 

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

Each treehouse is built on stilts, with the washing machine and dryer located on the ground level, where you can park your car under the treehouse, Up the first flight of stairs is the first floor , which contains the bathroom, living area, kitchen and bedroom.

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

The second bedroom can be reached by walking up another flight of stairs into a kind of garret room. Note that the second bedroom doesn’t have a complete wall (the wall is balcony height so you can look into the living area) or door so might not be suitable for smaller kids or two couples. 

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

The treehouses are thoughtfully stocked with kitchen and laundry supplies, to make your stay that bit more comfortable. 

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

If you need a bigger treehouse, the Bower House is the three bedroom treehouse, located on top of a ridge on the backing onto the rainforest, with valley and rolling green countryside views. 

Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses

As well as the standard features of the other Treehouses, the Bower House has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, (one including a double spa).

The third accommodation option is the Rainforest Unit which is attached to the main building, looking across the lawn to the rainforest. It has two bedrooms with a queen and single beds and is located at ground level, providing assisted wheelchair access.

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

Guests can take a walk around the beautiful rainforest and enjoy the serenity of the bush. We particularly enjoyed the river with its abundant turtle population.

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

We were lucky enough the next morning to meet one of the resident cassowaries as well as the pademelons at dusk. 

Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses

The Canopy Treehouses is located 90 minutes drive from Cairns.

Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses

Check out things to do in Cairns.

Find things to do in the Atherton Tablelands.

Read about things to do in Cairns.

Swim at Mossman Gorge.

Visit the Daintree Rainforest.

Catch a ride to Fitzroy Island Resort.

Swim on the Great Barrier Reef at the Frankland Islands

 

The Canopy Treehouses
Hogan Road, Tarzali, Queensland, Australia.
Phone : +61 7 4096 5364
Email : stay@canopytreehouses.com.au
Online :canopytreehouses.com.au

Step back in time at Paronella Park, Cairns, Tropical North Queensland

Paronella Park, Cairns

Step back in time at Paronella Park

Paronella Park is a heritage-listed tourist attraction. It is located 120km south of Cairns at Mena Creek, in Tropical North Queensland, Australia.

The park has a special story that has to be heard to be truly understood for the visinary project that it was, when its founder, José Paronella, embarked on his dream to build a castle in the 1930s. 

Cairns Paronella Park

When Paronella Park opened to the public in 1935 it was a true marvel for the day, with a hydro electric generator, castle, tennis courts, bridges, waterfalls and a tunnel, surrounded in a range of 7,500 tropical plants, that have since become a lush rainforest. 

Paronella Park Cairns

Paronella Park has been the winner of multiple Queensland tourism awards, is State and National Heritage listed and is a National Trust listed property. 

Paronella Park Cairns

The park is privately owned by Mark and Judy Evans, who bought the park in 1993 and have been slowly bringing it back to life with renovations and events. 

Paronella Park Cairns

To visit Paronella Park is to step back in time and marvel at the ingenuity and determination shown by one man, who had a dream.

Paronella Park Cairns

On arrival at Paronella Park, visitors are taken on a 45 minute storytelling tour of the highlights of the park. At the end of the tour, visitors are free to roam the grounds and feed the fish and turtles who live in the lake.

Cairns Paronella Park

At night, Paronella Park shines brightest when the String Family performs original compositions against the magically lit cafe building. Check the website for the String Family’s performance schedule. This inspiring performance is part of the night tour. 

Paronella Park Cairns

Getting to Paronella Park

Self drive

paronellapark.com.au/getting-here/self-drive

Coach tours from Cairns

paronellapark.com.au/getting-here/coach-tours-from-cairns

Where to stay

paronellapark.com.au/getting-here/where-to-stay

Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Paronella Park Cairns

Paronella Park
1671 Innisfail Japoon Rd, Mena Creek
Hours: Daily, 9:30am-7:30pm. Closed Christmas Day.
Online: paronellapark.com.au

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Tips for visiting Josephine Falls, Cairns, Tropical North Queensland

Josephine-Falls

Tips for visiting Josephine Falls, Cairns 

Josephine Falls Cairns

Josephine Falls is a tiered cascade waterfall located in Wooroonan, Cairns, in Tropical North Queensland. 

The falls are an hours drive south of Cairns, in the foothills of Queensland’s highest mountain range, Bartle Frere. 

Josephine Falls Cairns

There is a viewing platform overlooking the cascades and the top pool, where swimming is prohibited. The bottom swimming hole, however, is a large, crystal-clear, pool with a natural rockslide.

Josephine Falls Cairns

To get to Josephine Falls, take the 600m walk from the carpark. The walk is wheelchair and pram accessible up to the viewing platform, however there are steep stairs that lead down to the swimming hole. 

Josephine Falls Cairns

At the bottom of the stairs there is a very small area with built-in benches for sitting on, however most visitors choose to walk from here across the rocks to eat their picnic lunch or take a dip in the water. 

Josephine Falls Cairns

There are modern, clean toilets in the carpark and picnic tables, both of which are also wheelchair accessible. 

Walking Tracks

Josephine Falls Cairns
There are three walking tracks at Josephine Falls. The main one is the Josephine Falls walking track (Grade: easy), distance: 1.2 km return. Allow around 30 minutes if you aren’t planning to stop at the falls.

There are two other walks that start at Josephine Falls: Bartle Frere trail to Broken Nose (Grade: difficult), distance: 10 km return (allow about 8 hours return time) and Bartle Frere trail – Josephine Falls to Atherton Tablelands (Grade: difficult), distance: 15 km one way (allow about 2 days walking time). 

Picnic and other facilities

Josephine Falls Cairns

Take your own food and water to Josephine Falls. There are picnic tables, a shelter shed, a coin-operated electric barbecue and toilets available in the area adjacent to the carpark.

Things to know before you go

*Heavy rainfall can cause rapid rises in creek levels and currents. 
*There is no mobile reception at the falls. 
*Be extremely careful as there have been numerous injuries and even deaths at the falls. It will take at least an hour for emergency services to arrive if something goes wrong. 
*For your safety, swimming in the top section of the falls is prohibited.

Josephine Falls Cairns

Essentials to bring

• a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and insect repellent
• sturdy, reliable footwear
• drinking water

Safety tips for visiting Josephine Falls

 

Josephine Falls Cairns

*Never jump or dive into water—there may be submerged objects.
*Leave the water immediately if it changes colour or the water levels rise—these are signs of flash flooding.
*Take care around steep slopes and rock faces along the track, and at lookouts.
*Supervise children closely.
*Stay on the track and take care on uneven surfaces, especially in wet conditions.
*Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat and a long sleeved shirt, even on cloudy days.
*Treat all water before drinking.

Josephine Falls Cairns

Looking after the park

*Stay on walking tracks / boardwalks to prevent injuries and also protect native plants. 
*Take all litter with you when you leave. 
*Do not disturb any native plants or animals – do not feed the animals or leave food scraps behind.
*Domestic animals are not permitted.

How to get to Josephine Falls 
Josephine Falls Cairns

Josephine Falls is about an hour and 15 minutes south of Cairns. Take the Bruce Highway/Highway 1 south  for around 75km until you reach the town of Miriwinni. Take the Mount Bartle Frere turnoff. Josephine Falls is signposted from here.

More information about Josephine Falls

Josephine Falls Cairns

Josephine Falls is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It is free to enter the park and visit the waterfall.

Read more about visiting Josephine Falls.

Read more about things to do in Cairns

Josephine Falls
LOT 1 Josephine Falls Walk, Bartle Frere QLD
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Cairns Hotel Review: Riley by Crystalbrook

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Cairns Hotel Review: Riley by Crystalbrook

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Enjoy the tropics in style at Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection hotel located on the Cairns Esplanade.

Pool and lobby

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

The hotel is a stylish $170-million redo of the old RydgesTradewinds motel – not that you’d be able to guess it by looking at the slick lobby, breathtaking pool and elegant rooms. The Riley looks like a brand new hotel, one that is bright, light and full of fun.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

At the heart of Riley is its 1,000-square-metre lagoon-style pool. With its sand fringes, the pool is reminiscent of swimming at the beach – a nice feature given that Cairns doesn’t have any beaches.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

There is easy access from the pool to restaurants, spa and the hotel rooms, so it’s always a quick trip down for a dip in the sparkling water.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Sunscreen and water are available for use.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

The lobby is a soaring, welcoming space, with lounges, water available for drinking, and a pool table in a little nook. It’s a spot designed to entice visitors to stay a while and relax.  

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Sustainability 

I really loved the approach to sustainability that the Riley has taken to minimise its hospitality footprint. In the bathrooms are amenities infused with native botanicals, supplied in refillable containers affixed to shower walls, room keycards are little discs made from 100% recycled wood; water is given in cardboard cartons rather than plastic bottles; and menus and area guides are stored on a digital device. In the restaurants around the hotel, stainless steel straws are supplied. 

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Rooms and suites

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

The majority of rooms and suites are located in the restored building, with 55 in a striking new 12-story tower that is also home to two restaurants and a spa.

There are four categories of views on offer: urban, resort, sea and panoramic sea.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

I stayed in a resort view room overlooking for beautiful swimming lagoon. The room included a balcony with chairs, choice of king bed or two king singles, free wifi, Apple iPad Control Centre, 55” HD Smart TV, Staycast by Google Chromecast for video streaming, complimentary movies,  excellent air-con and blackout blinds, nespresso machine with complimentary pods, rainforest shower, freestanding bath, a minibar stocked with local goodies, yoga mat in the wardrobe, iron, hair dryer, safe.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

I absolutely loved the thoughtful little details at the hotel, such as the sleep mask and pillow spray that was left on my bed at night. What a lovely item to take home!

Cairns Riley Crystalbrook

When travelling with kids who are out of the cot, the best option are family rooms, which are adjoining bedrooms with a choice of two king beds or four king singles, or a room with a king bed and requesting a rollaway bed from reception. 

Restaurants

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

There are three restaurants located in the hotel: Rocco, which serves dishes from the Mediterranean region, Greenfields, which offers to nourish your body with wholesome fare and Paper Crane, which is the spot for breakfast in the morning, or Asian cuisine at night.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

I only dined at Paper Crane in the morning, when the restaurant kickstarted my day with eggs made to order, pastries, yoghurt, fruit and plenty of tea and juice. 

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Riley
131-141 Esplanade
Cairns
crystalbrookcollection.com/riley

Find things to do in Cairns.

Muddy’s Playground on Cairns Esplanade

Muddy's Playground Cairns

Muddy’s Playground Cairns Esplanade

This fantastic playground has fenced areas, a splash playground, flying fox, sound chimes, track ride, rope bridge, slides, mouse wheels, play houses, story telling areas, see-saw, trick track and puzzle games. Muddy’s Playground is one of the top Cairns attractions for families and it’s easy to see why!

Muddy's Playground Cairns

Muddy’s Playground is the prefect example of what modern playgrounds should aim for. IIt incorporates active, passive, interactive and educational facilities alongside play equipment.

The theme of Muddy’s Playground “Life in Trinity Bay”, which is reflected in the water play and other elements. 

Cairns Muddys Playground

There are several water play elements spread throughout the park, which lets kids of all ages enjoy the water fun. There is a quiet stream, small jets and larger jets.

Cairns Muddys Playground Muddy's Playground Cairns Muddy's Playground Cairns Muddy's Playground Cairns Muddy's Playground Cairns

Muddy’s was exceptionally well designed to cater to kids of all ages, with equipment and activities that suit toddlers, preschool and junior school age, to tweens. 

Cairns Australia

Bigger kids will love the large climbing frame and slides, plus tunnels to run inside, and the large net climbing structure.

Cairns Australia

Cairns Muddys Playground

Cairns Australia

The toddler area is completely fenced in, which prevents little kids mingling with older kids as well as making it easier to keep track of where whearabouts.

Muddy's Playground Cairns

The toddler are features sand play and some great little houses to play in.

Cairns Australia

Muddy’s also features play equipment for preschool and lower-primary school-aged kids with smaller climbing structures, musical elements and balance elements, plus a giant fish that is endless fun to run in and out of, and reflects the Cairns aquatic theme.

Cairns Australia

There is a disabled-use Liberty Swing which uses the MLAK national keying system. Ask at Muddy’s Cafe for access.

Cairns Muddys Playground

There are two toilet facilities (one at the north end of Muddy’s near the cafe, and one at the southern end of Muddy’s) barbecues and picnic tables and a cafe. 

Cairns Muddys Playground

Muddy’s Cafe, located in the heart of the playground, is open daily, 6am-8pm. They offer a breakfast and lunch/dinner menu for kids.

Cairns Australia

Muddy’s Playground is open every day of the year from 9.00am and 7.00pm (including public holidays and weekends). Sections of Muddy’s are closed for maintenance on Tuesday and/or Thursday mornings until noon. 

Read more about Muddy’s Playground.

The best things to do in Cairns (with or without kids)

The best things to do in Cairns, Qld, Australia

The best things to do in Cairns (with or without kids)

Cairns is the gateway city to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in tropical Far North Queensland. The perfect base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree and attractions in Far North Queensland, there are plenty of reasonably-priced accommodation options, restaurants, grocery stores and Cairns attractions in this small city. We found plenty of things to do in Cairns and the surrounding regions to spend at least a few weeks exploring everything there is to do in tropical Far North Queensland.

Cairns attractions

Cairns Aquarium

See the marine species who inhabit tropical North Queensland while keeping your feet dry at the Cairns Aquarium. The aquarium is dedicated exclusively to the habitats, animals and plants found in Australia’s Wet Tropics – the region which borders The Daintree Rainforest and The Great Barrier Reef. Explore 10 North Queensland ecosystems and 71 exhibits showcasing how magnificent and unique the creatures in this part of the world are. 

Cairns Aquarium

Spot the endangered Freshwater Sawfish, marvel at Grey Reef Sharks and watch the Humphead Maori Wrasse in awe. Daily animal feeding sessions and the hands-on touch tanks will keep the kids enthralled.

Read more about visiting Cairns Aquarium.

Frankland Islands day trip

Frankland Islands Cairns Australia

The pristine Frankland Islands are located 10km offshore, 45km south-east of Cairns. Surrounded by healthy coral that is teeming with sea life, a day trip to the Frankland Islands is one of the best and easiest ways to explore the Great Barrier Reef.

The Frankland Islands day trip is a great option for families with younger kids in particular or people who want a day of varied activies on the reef rather spending most of the day on a boat or snorkelling on the reef, or who are prone to seasickness but still want to see the reef.

Read more about our experience visiting the Frankland Islands.

Fitzroy Island day trip or longer stay

Fitzroy Island Cairns Australia

Fitzroy Island is a tropical paradise with lush rainforest and unspoiled beaches, accessed by a 45 minute ferry ride from Cairns. Take a day trip to the island or stay for a few nights. 

Read more about our experience visiting Fitzroy Island.

Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre

Fitzroy Island Cairns Australia

Located on Fitzroy Island, the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (CTRC) is a volunteer-run, non-profit organisation dedicated to rehabilitating sick and injured turtles, brought in from the Great Barrier Reef and Cape York Peninsula. You can visit the CTRC when day tripping or staying on Fitzroy Island. Bookings are required to visit the CTRC which can only be made once you have arrived on the island. 

Read more about our experience visiting the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.

Cairns Esplanade

Cairns Australia

The beachfront boardwalk leads to a variety of recreational facilities that are free to use. 

Cairns Esplanade Lagoon

Cairns Australia

The city of Cairns has no beaches. Instead, it has the gorgeous Cairns Esplanade Swimming Lagoon which is right on the waterfront. The lagoon is a stunning spot for a swim, and with flat water and plenty of shallow areas is perfect for swimmers of all ages and abilities. 

There are picnic tables and 12 barbecues nearby and plenty of grassy parkland and trees to sit under. The Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is a top Cairns attraction for a very good reason – it’s perfect for swimming in year-round, needing no wetsuit in stinger season like the ocean.

Muddy’s Playground

Cairns Australia

This fantastic playground has fenced areas, a splash playground, flying fox, sound chimes, track ride, rope bridge, slides, mouse wheels, play houses, story telling areas, see-saw, trick track and puzzle games. Muddy’s Playground is one of the top Cairns attractions for families and it’s easy to see why!

Read more about Muddy’s Playground.

Healing Garden Playground

Cairns Australia

The Healing Garden is opposite Cairns Hotel and includes features to assist with balance and harmony such as bamboo which is seen as a symbol of strength and healing colours throughout the play area – pale violet to sooth soothe emotional distress and bring calm and yellow to help strengthen the mind and to assist with nerve pain.

Fun Ship Playground

Cairns Esplanade

The Endeavour Fun Ship playground opened in 2006. The maritime-themed playground is located BBQ Sandpiper and picnic tables. It includes lots of climbing elements that lend themselves to nautical play.

Cairns Esplanade

Toilets are located a short distance to the north west of the Fun Ship Playground.

Skate Plaza

Cairns Australia

Boarders and bladers will love this skate park which includes a large bowl area.

Cairns Australia Cairns Australia

Bouldering Park

Cairns Australia

Suitable for all ages, the bouldering area is a large rock surface with climbing grips on it.

Beach Volleyball

Cairns Australia

There are four international standard Beach Volleyball Courts.

Fitness Stations

Cairns Esplanade

There are several fitness stations located on the Esplanade. 

Petanque Court

Pétanque is a boules sports, where players roll their boules/balls towards a target ball.

Multi-use court

Cairns Australia

Multi-use court is located within the Northern Esplanade Activity Precinct opposite Cairns Hospital.

Fig Tree Playground

Cairns Fig Tree Playground

Located on the south end of the Esplanade, near the Marina, the Fig Tree Playground is a beautiful, natural climbing structure wrapped around a fig tree. It’s shady, thanks to the tree, and encourages climbing, running and sliding.

Cairns Fig Tree Playground

The location is beautiful too, right on the water. There are toilets nearby and the path that leads north up the Esplanade to the Lagoon and Muddy’s Playground.

Read more about Fig tree Playground.

Green Island

Take a day trip to stunning Green Island and snorkel with tropical fish and turtles. Day trips leave from Cairns Marina. Green Island is a 45 minute boat ride from Cairns, making it a good option for a day trip where most of the day is spent on the island enjoying a variety of activities. A day trip to Green Island is one of the most popular things to do in Cairns and is suitable for all ages.

Get more information about Green Island day trips

Great Barrier Reef Pontoons

Another option for seeing the Great Barrier Reef is with a day trip to one of the reef pontoons. We decided against this option as it takes a lot longer to reach the pontoons than Fitzroy, Green and Frankland Islands and as we suffer from sea sickness and had a child with us who wouldn’t have enjoyed a long, rough boat trip.

If you are a strong snorkeller or diver, or want to see a large variety of sea life deep in the ocean, then a reef pontoon could be a good idea for you. Regardless of which option you choose, a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef has to be on your list of things to do in Cairns!

Things to do in Cairns and the surrounding region

 

Josephine Falls

Josephine Falls Cairns

Josephine Falls is a tiered cascade waterfall located in Wooroonan, Cairns, in Tropical North Queensland. 

The falls are an hours drive south of Cairns, in the foothills of Queensland’s highest mountain range, Bartle Frere. 

Read more about our experience at Josephine Falls.

Atherton Tablelands

Millaa Millaa Falls, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

The Atherton Tablelands is a lush, fertile region around 1.5 hours drive south-west of Cairns. Renowned for its tumbling waterfalls and abundant wildlife, the Atherton Tablelands makes for a great day trip or longer stay to explore everything that is on offer.

Highlights to the Atherton Tablelands include chasing waterfalls, visiting the Tolga Bat Hospital, seeing the 500-year-old Curtain Fig Tree, spotting the rare Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo at the Nerida Tea Plantation and a delicious trip to Gallo Dairyland.

Read more about our experience visiting the Atherton Tablelands.

Kuranda Village

Kuranda Australian Butterfly Sanctuary Qld Australia

Kuranda is a mountain village that has become a popular tourist attraction near Cairns. It’s a great place to take kids as there are several attractions all close to each other. Hold a koala, feed free-flying birds and dance with butterflies all in the same day in Kuranda.

Kuranda Village is accessible by car, however it is a popular destination to reach by taking the Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

Get more information on things to do in Kuranda Village.

Kuranda Scenic Railway

Kuranda Scenic Railway, Qld Cairns Australia

Winding its way through the World Heritage-listed Barron Gorge National Park, the Kuranda Scenic Railway is an unforgettable journey through hand carved tunnels and spectacular scenery. The Kuranda Scenic Railway runs between Cairns and Kuranda Village.

Get more information on taking the Kuranda Scenic Railway.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Skyrail Kuranda Cairns Australia

The iconic Kuranda Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is an immersive journey through and above Australia’s World Heritage-listed tropical rainforest. It runs between Smithfield Terminal, around 20 minutes out of Cairns, and Kuranda Village.  

Get more information on taking the Kuranda Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

Mossman Gorge

Mossman Gorge, Queensland, Australia

Located in the southern part of the World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park in Far North Queensland, Mossman Gorge is part of the traditional homeland of the indigenous Kuku Yalanji people.

Our time at Mossman Gorge was the highlight of our entire trip. We loved is so much we visited twice.

Mossman Gorge is around 80km north of Cairns and 5km from the nearest town of Mossman. It’s also about a 20 min drive from Port Douglas. It is easily reachable by car or as part of an organised tour.

Read more about our experience at Mossman Gorge.

Daintree Rainforest

Daintree Rainforest

Visit the oldest rainforest in the world! The Daintree region begins at Mossman Gorge and continues over the Daintree River and north to Cooktown. A day trip the Daintree is doable from Cairns however it is a long day and you will see more if you stay in the Daintree itself like we did. 

You can self-drive the Daintree in a regular car or take a tour.

Read about our experience in the Daintree Rainforest.

In the Daintree we stayed at the Daintree Ecolodge. Read about our experience at the Daintree Ecolodge.

Port Douglas

Port Douglas, Qld, Australia

Beautiful Port Douglas is a gorgeous resort town close to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest. Located only an hours drive north from Cairns, it’s a fab base for exploring the area, or just relaxing for a few days on the beach. 

Read more about things to do in Port Douglas.

Paronella Park

Cairns Paronella Park

Paronella Park is a heritage-listed tourist attraction. It is located 120km south of Cairns at Mena Creek, in Tropical North Queensland, Australia.

The park has a special story that has to be heard to be truly understood for the visinary project that it was, when its founder, José Paronella, embarked on his dream to build a castle in the 1930s. 

Read more about visiting Paronella Park.

Cairns accommodation

We stayed in two hotels during our time in Cairns.

Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort

The Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort is a newly renovated hotel in the heart of Cairns. The combination of a superb lagoon pool and recently refreshed rooms, combined with its excellent location close to the esplanade, marina, restaurants, supermarket and Cairns Aquarium make this an excellent choice of accommodation in Cairns, particularly for families.

Read more about our experience at the Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort.

Pullman Cairns International

Pullman International Cairns Qld Australia

The Pullman Cairns International is a grande dame of a hotel, with a majestic soaring lobby which makes for a very impressive entrance. 

The breakfast buffet at the Pullman Cairns International was sensational and worth staying at again just for this added benefit.

Read more about our experience at the Pullman Cairns International.

Riley, a Crystalbrook Hotel

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

The Riley is a brand-spanking new hotel that features bright, light and stylish rooms, and a 1,000-square-metre lagoon-style pool. It has to be the most beautiful pool in Cairns.

The rooms are so quiet, comfortable and beautiful that you won’t want to leave – unless it’s to head to the pool!

Read more about our experience at Riley, a Crystalbrook Hotel.

Canopy Treehouses

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

Stay in a treehouse nestled in the rainforest and get up close to Australian wildlife at the Canopy Treehouses in the Cairns Highlands, Queensland, Australia. 

The Canopy Treehouses offers six extremely private treehouses set in 100 acres of rainforest, teeming with wildlife. Located 90 minutes drive out of Cairns, the Canopy Treehouses is a great option to base yourself for a few days and explore the region.

Read more about our experience at the Canopy Treehouses.

Cairns weather

Fitzroy Island Cairns Australia

Far North Queensland is known for its hot and humid summers and mild, dry winters. We’ve visited in both and found January to be unbearably hot and humid but a pleasant swimming temperature, and July to be pleasant to explore the region, but a bit cold in the sea and pools. I would suggest considering what activities you want to do while you’re in the tropics before selecting a season to visit.

Summer (December – February)
Average temperatures range from 23.6 – 31.4°C (74.5 – 88.5°F). The wet season begins in December, with most of the area’s annual rainfall (around 2000mm / 78.7″) soaking the region in these months. When we visited in January, the skies opened daily around 4pm with a massive amount of rain. While the average daily temperature might not look too high, it is HUMID as anything!

Autumn (March – May)
I would suggest the shoulder seasons (spring and autumn) as ideal for visiting Cairns if you want to swim in warmer water without the high humidity that summer brings. The average daily temperatures range between 21.5 – 29°C (70.7 – 84.2°F), with the rain starting to subside from April onwards. The area can be windy however until August. 

Winter (June – August)
Winter is peak tourist season in Cairns, mainly due to the lower humidity, low rainfall and no stingers in the ocean. We found the temperatures perfect day to day, however swimming pools are not heated so we found them chilly, and the we needed wetsuits to swim in the ocean due to the cold temperature (for us!).  Average temperature in winter range from 17.5 – 26°C (63.5 – 78.8°F).

Spring (September – November)
The end of the dry season has temperatures ranging from 20.5 – 29°C (68.9 – 84.2°F). Humidity starts to build with the start of the west season at the end of spring. November is an amazing time to visit the reef to see the annual coral spawning.

Daylight Savings Time
Queensland does not observe daylight savings time. The time zone in Queensland is Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), UTC +10.

Sea temperature
In summer, the average sea temperature at Cairns’ northern beaches ranges from 28.9 – 29.4°C (84 – 84.9°F). In winter the average sea temperature is 23.8- 24.5°C (74.8 – 76.1°F).

Stinger season

Stinger season (or jellyfish season) falls between November and May in Cairns and Port Douglas. It is advised to wear stinger suits in the water from November onwards (sometimes even October), as box jellyfish and Irukandji (the smallest of the box jellyfish family) can be deadly if you are stung.

The region’s beaches are lined with stinger nets and on the Great Barrier Reef, while the risk of marine stingers is low, stinger suits are recommended and are available for hire on tour boats.

Keeping sun safe

Frankland Islands Cairns Australia

The sun in Queensland is intense, even in winter. The Ultraviolet (UV) Index can be high and cause extreme sunburn, so look in the local weather reports for the UV index, which describes the daily solar UV radiation intensity.

Wear SPF30+ sunscreen and reapply regularly, particularly after swimming. High quality sunscreen is available in supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies. Where possible choose reef-safe sunscreen. 

Choose sun-safe clothing like light, loose shirts and dresses that cover the shoulders, chest and arms, and wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Sunburn up here is no joke and can land you in hospital.

Frankland Islands Cairns Australia

When choosing swimwear, consider longsleeved swimsuits for girls, longsleeve rashies for boys and adults. Not long do they prevent sunburn, they also eliminate the need for excessive sunscreen which is good for neither the skin nor the reef.

Looking for more things to do in Cairns, or for more Cairns attractions? Check out the official Tropical North Queensland site.

The best things to do in Cairns, Qld, Australia

 

Pullman Cairns International: Cairns Accommodation Reviews

Pullman International Cairns Qld Australia

Pullman Cairns International

The Pullman Cairns International is a grande dame of a hotel with a soaring lobby and excellent location, right in the heart of Cairns, close to the Cairns Marina, shops, restaurants and supermarkets.

Pullman International Cairns Qld Australia

We had a basic room with two double beds. The size of the room was excellent, plenty of room for our luggage and for us to move around. 

Pullman International Cairns Qld Australia

Our room had a private balcony with a city view, work desk and one chair and a massive bathroom. 

Pullman International Cairns Qld Australia

Other room features include a mini bar, 24-hour in-room dining, bath robes, iron and ironing board, C.O Bigelow bath fragrances and amenities, coffee/tea making facilities, hairdryer, wireless and wired Internet, iIn room safe and blackout curtains. Cribs are available for use.

Pullman International Cairns Qld Australia

The Pullman Cairns International has a lovely rooftop pool and spa that is a beautiful spot to watch the sunset.

Pullman International Cairns Qld Australia

Breakfast each morning is served in the lobby area. It is well worth opting for breakfast in the package as the buffet is sensational – one of the best hotel breakfasts we have ever had. 

Pullman International Cairns Qld Australia

Included in the breakfast buffet: egg station, juicing station, a variety of fresh juices and iced teas, savoury hot food, fresh fruit, pastries and more. 

Pullman Cairns International
17 Abbott Street Cairns Qld
Phone: + 61 7 4031 1300

pullmancairnsinternational.com.au

Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort: Cairns Accommodation Review

Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort

Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

The Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort is a newly renovated hotel in the heart of Cairns. The combination of a superb lagoon pool and recently refreshed rooms, combined with its excellent location close to the esplanade, marina, restaurants, supermarket and Cairns Aquarium make this an excellent choice of accommodation in Cairns, particularly for families.

Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort

We stayed in a newly renovated room with two double beds overlooking the pool. Rooms are also available with a king bed. The elevator on our floor went directly to the car park for easy luggage transferral.

Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort

The hotel is slowly being renovated and some parts of the hotel are the older rooms and do not have direct elevator access to the car park. I would highly recommend when booking requesting a new room with access to the parking. Even if you aren’t self driving, the rooms that have access to the parking garage are easiest to reach from the lobby as well.

Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort

Our hotel room included internet, a large TV, balcony overlooking the pool and fridge. There is a small Woolworths supermarket a few blocks from the hotel where we bought supplies and put them in the fridge for snacks.

Other hotel features include:

Large free-form lagoon pool with sandy beach
Swim up bar
24-hour reception and porter service
24-hour room service
Valet laundry, dry cleaning and in-house guest coin laundry
Gymnasium
Undercover car parking at $9 per day
Conference / function facilities
Broadband Internet in the rooms (charges apply, free to members so sign up!)
Tour desk
Foreign exchange
Babysitting on request

Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort

The lagoon pool is incredible and our favourite feature of the hotel. I found the pool was a bit cold for me when we visited in July as I am extremely cold sensitive and the pool isn’t heated, however the kids at the resort didn’t mind and spend hours in it, particularly loving the free pool noodles and floats.

Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort

We loved the Beach Club next to the pool where we happily ordered cocktails and food while the kid swam. The Moku Swim Up Bar is the only swim up bar in Cairns!

Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort

Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort Cairns Novotel Oasis ResortThe Beach Club menu is the same as the Terrace Bar, however the Beach Club opens at 11am and closes early, while the Terrace Bar is open from 4pm – 10:30pm.

Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort

If you’re after an indoor dining option, Moku Bar & Grill opens daily at 6pm and offers a different island-inspired menu, designed to share.

Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort

Breakfast is served daily in the Moku Bar & Grill. I loved the custom omelette station. There were plenty of healthy choices as well as fun “holiday” food. 

Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort

Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
122 Lake St, Cairns City QLD
https://www.novotelcairnsresort.com.au/

The best things to do in Port Douglas (with or without kids!)

The best things to do in Port Douglas, Cairns, Qld, Australia

The best things to do in Port Douglas (with or without kids!)

Beautiful Port Douglas is a gorgeous resort town close to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest. Located only an hours drive north from Cairns, it’s a fab base for exploring the area, or just relaxing for a few days on the beach. There are plenty of things to do in Port Douglas and its surrounding areas.

While we travelled Port Douglas and surrounding areas with our 7-year-old, the area is also great for adults without kids. The activities below suit people of all ages.

Four Mile Beach

Port Douglas, Qld, Australia

 The focal point of Port Douglas, Four Mile Beach is a lovely little slice of paradise right in the centre of town. 

Note: Stinger Season runs from October through to May, with dangerous jellyfish active in the area. The northern end of the beach has a stinger net during this period where it is safe to swim.

Rock Pools

The northern end of Four Mile Beach is a great spot to splash in rock pools, perfect for kids to explore and play.  

Wildlife Habitat

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Get up close to iconic Australian animals in a natural surrounding at the award-winning Wildlife Habitat. Cuddle a koala, meet a python, see crocodiles and feed kangaroos. You can also get the chance to see the endangered Southern Cassowary and Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo. 

Get more information on visiting the Wildlife Habitat.

Flagstaff Hill Lookout & Walking Trail

Port Douglas, Qld, Australia

Flagstaff Hill is a short, steep walk from the main street of Port Douglass. It gives a stunning view over the Coral Sea and Four Mile Beach. The summit is accessible by car or walking trail, which starts at the northern end of Four Mile Beach.

Four Mile Beach Lookout

Port Douglas, Qld, Australia

If you don’t want to walk all the way to the summit you can drive up and then back down to the beach, then take a short walk up the steps to the new Four Mile Beach Lookout viewing platform that extends out over the Coral Sea.

Port Douglas, Qld, Australia

I really enjoyed this short walk and thought the view from here was much better than from Flagstaff Hill.

Port Douglas, Qld, Australia

Port Douglas Markets

Drop by the weekly Sunday markets and pick up arts and crafts, jewellery, fruit and vege, books, coffee and more from vendors who travel in from all over Far North Queensland. The markets are held on the grassy Market Park every Sunday from 8am-2pm.

Thala Beach Resort Coconut Plantation

Port Douglas, Qld, Australia

If you’re coco for coconuts then you’ll want to stop by the Thala Beach Resort coconut plantation, just south of Port Douglas. You can wander around the 700 coconut palms that stand sentinel at the entrance (watch out for falling coconuts!) or if you’re a guest of the resort, join their free Coconut Odyssey tour to learn all about the health benefits of the coconut.

Things to do a short distance from Port Douglas

If you’re after more things do in Port Douglas and its surrounding areas, I would suggest hiring a car and visiting some of these amazing attractions right on its doorstep.

Kuranda Village

Kuranda Australian Butterfly Sanctuary Qld Australia

Kuranda is a mountain village that has become a popular tourist attraction near Cairns. It’s a great place to take kids as there are several attractions all close to each other. Hold a koala, feed free-flying birds and dance with butterflies all in the same day in Kuranda.

Kuranda Village is accessible by car, however it is a popular destination to reach by taking the Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

Get more information on things to do in Kuranda Village.

Kuranda Scenic Railway

Kuranda Scenic Railway, Qld Cairns Australia

Winding its way through the World Heritage-listed Barron Gorge National Park, the Kuranda Scenic Railway is an unforgettable journey through hand carved tunnels and spectacular scenery. The Kuranda Scenic Railway runs between Cairns and Kuranda Village.

Get more information on taking the Kuranda Scenic Railway.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Skyrail Kuranda Cairns Australia

The iconic Kuranda Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is an immersive journey through and above Australia’s World Heritage-listed tropical rainforest. It runs between Smithfield Terminal, around 20 minutes out of Cairns, and Kuranda Village.  

Get more information on taking the Kuranda Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

Mossman Gorge

Mossman Gorge, Daintree

Located in the southern part of the World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park in Far North Queensland, Mossman Gorge is part of the traditional homeland of the indigenous Kuku Yalanji people.

Our time at Mossman Gorge was the highlight of our entire trip. We loved is so much we visited twice.

Mossman Gorge is around 80km north of Cairns and 5km from the nearest town of Mossman. It’s also about a 20 min drive from Port Douglas. It is easily reachable by car or as part of an organised tour.

Read more about our experience at Mossman Gorge.

Daintree Rainforest

Daintree Rainforest

Visit the oldest rainforest in the world! The Daintree region begins at Mossman Gorge and continues over the Daintree River and north to Cooktown. A day trip the Daintree is doable from Cairns however it is a long day and you will see more if you stay in the Daintree itself like we did. 

You can self-drive the Daintree in a regular car or take a tour.

Read about our experience in the Daintree Rainforest.

In the Daintree we stayed at the Daintree Ecolodge. Read about our experience at the Daintree Ecolodge.

Cairns

Cairns Australia

Cairns is a great spot to visit with plenty to do. Visit the Cairns Aquarium, swim in the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, take kids to the excellent Muddy’s Playground on the waterfront, or take a day trip islands including Fitzroy and Green.

Get more information on visiting Port Douglas.

Get more information on visiting Tropical North Queensland.

The best things to do in Port Douglas, Cairns, Qld, Australia

8 fun ways to enjoy the Atherton Tablelands

The best things to do in the Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Qld, Australia

8 fun ways to enjoy the Atherton Tablelands

The Atherton Tablelands is a lush, fertile region around 1.5 hours drive south-west of Cairns. Renowned for its tumbling waterfalls and abundant wildlife, the Atherton Tablelands makes for a great day trip or longer stay to explore everything that is on offer.

Wildlife that can be found in the Atherton Tablelands includes frogs, platypus, brolga, rock wallabies, bandicoots, quolls, the rare Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo and hundreds of species of birds including golden bowerbirds, king parrots, honeyeaters, crimson rosellas and masked owls.

Tolga Bat Hospital

Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

A highlight of our Atherton Tablelands visit, the Tolga Bat Hospital is a volunteer-run wildlife care facility for the rescue, rehabilitation and release of all species of bats as well as a sanctuary for bats unable to be released back into the wild. 

Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

The Tolga Bat Hospital also focuses on educating the public on the importance of bats in our ecosystem, the issues effecting bats in the wild and what we can do to help and protect bats and their habitat.

Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

Guided educational tours of the Tolga Bat Hospital are run once daily between 3-6pm, with a minimum of four people and maximum of 10. A second tour may be added if there is demand. Bookings are essential. Tour times vary seasonally as they depending on when the bats come down from their 6m high cages to feed in the afternoons. The tours tend to start at 4pm in summer and between 3-3:30pm in winter. Tours last for an hour, starting with an eight-minutes movie on the Tolga Bat Hospital.

Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

Following the short movie, the tour commences and takes guests into the bat cages to meet the residents up close. We met microbats that were so tiny they were the size of a tiny mouse or even smaller, and a flock of flying foxes feasting on fruit. The tour is extremely educational and involves a lot of talking by the guide on the various species and their distinguishing features and their importance to the environment. 

Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

Bats are incredibly important as they are pollinators! Without bats spreading seeds, we lose plants, including important fruit crops.

Get more information on visiting the Tolga Bat Hospital.

Curtain Fig Tree

Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

This 500-year-old stranger fig tree in the Curtain Fig National Park is absolutely worth a visit. The renowned Curtain Fig Tree which is only a short drive out of the small town of is a giant tree with root that hang down from its branches like curtains. Take the short boardwalk around the base to see it from all sides. The boardwalk is wheelchair / stroller accessible.

Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

The Curtain Fig Tree is a result of one tree leaning against another on a 45-degree angle, with a strangler vine then growing along the angle of the leaning tree and dangling to create the “curtain”. This is one of the largest trees in North Queensland!

Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

Gallo Dairyland

Gallo, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

We stopped at Gallo Dairyland for lunch on recommendation of our hotel. Gallo is beautifully located on a working farm with lovely rural views from the dining area. 

Gallo, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

The cafe is open for business seven days a week, 9:30am to 4:30pm, and offers a basic menu (including options for kids) plus cheese tasting, chocolates made on-site (you can watch the chocolatiers in action!), daily milking demonstrations from 3-4pm and an animal nursery with calves, alpacas and chicks. Bags of feed are available for sale and kids are welcome to hand-feed the animals. 

Gallo, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia Gallo, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia Gallo, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia Gallo, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia Gallo DairylandThere’s even a little play area for kids near the chocolate lab.

Gallo Dairyland Gallo Dairyland Gallo Dairyland
Get more information on visiting Gallo Dairyland.

Nerida Tea Plantation

Nerida Tea Plantation, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

We dropped by the Nerida Tea Plantation, which is located 10km from the town of Malanda, for a Devonshire tea. The tea room is open daily from 10am-4:30pm and I can highly recommend their amazing scones.

Nerida Tea Plantation, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

Visiting the estate you can also learn about how tea is grown and processed, see the factory, buy factory-fresh tea and, if you’re lucky, see the resident Lumholtz tree-kangaroos, Misty and Billy, like we did!

Nerida Tea Plantation, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia Nerida Tea Plantation, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia Nerida Tea Plantation, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

Get more information on visiting the Nerida Tea Plantation.

Mungalli Creek Dairy

Mungalli Dairy Cairns

Mungalli is a family-run biodynamic dairy. This means the farm is run in a way that focuses on maintaining a healthy and vital relationship between the soil, animals, environment and the people who live on the land.

Mungalli Dairy Cairns

Drop by for the most amazing dairy products, a light lunch, or a slice of their famous cheesecakes. Their ploughman’s lunches are incredible! There is even a vegetarian one available. 

Mungalli Dairy Cairns Mungalli Dairy Cairns

Get more information on visiting Mungalli Creek Dairy here.

Millaa Millaa Falls and the Waterfall Circuit

Millaa Millaa Falls, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

You can’t miss chasing waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands! Millaa Millaa Falls is probably the most majestic of the falls, so if you don’t have time to drive the 17km Waterfall Circuit to see the Zillie and Ellinjaa Falls as well, then Millaa Millaa Falls is your best option (and also the easiest to get to).

Millaa Millaa Falls, Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Australia

The 18-metre Millaa Millaa Falls are beautiful to behold, with the water cascading into a pristine waterhole at its base, perfect for swimming (although the water was icy cold when we visited in July). You might even spot a platypus there!

There is a grassy picnic area so bring some snacks and stay a while if you have the time. 

Nick’s Swiss Italian Restaurant

Nicks Swiss Italian

The whole family will enjoy dining at Nick’s, located in Yungaburra. The menu is Swiss, and includes a wide range of food that also suits vegetarians. The portions are huge!

Nicks Swiss Italian

Drop by for a meal and play one of the musical instruments, check out the cuckoo clocks and have a laugh with the fantastic team who run the restaurant. Nick’s is also wheelchair accessible and pet friendly.

Nicks Swiss Italian Nicks Swiss Italian Nicks Swiss Italian

Get more information on visiting Nick’s Swiss Italian Restaurant.

Lake Escham

Lake Escham Cairns

This stunning, clear, blue lake surrounded by cool rainforest is a popular spot for swimming, birdwatching, canoeing, picnics and bush walks. With its calm water, Lake Escham is perfect for families.

Lake Escham Cairns

There is a shady 3km walking track loop around the lake.

Lake Escham Cairns

Swimmers can use the bathroom facilities to get changed after their dip. No cafes on site.

Lake Escham Cairns

Get more information on visiting Lake Escham.

Read about more things to do in the Atherton Tablelands.

The best things to do in the Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Qld, Australia