Cairns, Australia, has earned its nickname: The Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. It's a beautiful, tropical destination with abundant green foliage and irresistible turquoise waters. Combine those assets with pristine, white beaches and plenty of Cairns beach vacation rentals to choose from, and you've got the perfect destination for your next vacation.
Things to do in Cairns
The Great Barrier Reef offers one of the main draws to Cairns. It's the perfect spot to dive and snorkel thanks to the gorgeous underwater ecosystem. If you want to see one of the natural wonders of the world from the air, take a helicopter tour for a unique experience. You can also go hiking in the Daintree Rainforest, take the Kuranda Scenic Railway to see the destination city's gorgeous tropical gardens, or witness the majestic waterfalls in Barron Gorge National Park. There are several islands you can visit, as well, such as Normandy and Fitzroy.
Several community events take place throughout the year in Cairns. In August, for instance, the Miss Muddy 5K unites adults and children in fun and obstacles. It benefits the McGrath Foundation, which helps supply nurses with breast cancer specialties in local hospitals. On Saturdays, don't miss the Cairns Esplanade Markets, which are a series of stalls rented by local artists and makers. You can buy pottery, jewelry, clothing, antiques, and more. Other annual events include the Tropical Waves Multicultural Festival, the Cairns Winter Solstice Festival, and the Cairns Ukulele Festival.
Dining in Cairns
Your first meal at Cairns should be at Dundee's Restaurant on the Waterfront. It's the perfect spot from which to take in the city's natural beauty and splurge on delicious food. It's a little expensive, but you can choose from an extensive menu that includes steak, shrimp, lobster, crocodile, and more. The Salt House and the Splash Seafood Restaurant are other good choices for authentic Australian seafood.
Young travelers might enjoy a night at The Woolshed, where weekend nights can get a little wild, and the clientele love to dance. There's no dress code or cover charge, so come ready to indulge in your favorite adult beverage and get down on the dance floor. Q Sportsbar is another choice; instead of dancing, this bar focuses on the latest competitions on flat-screen televisions. You might also like Dunwoody's Tavern, which is more family-friendly thanks to its kids' play area. If you're looking for a more upscale experience, try Lyquid Nightlife or Society Bar and Nightspot. Both offer excellent menus of cocktails, shots, and beer on tap, as well as dance floors and mood lighting. There's no dress code, but come in your favorite party clothes and consider mingling with the locals. Alternatively, head to Vertigo Bar, which offers a more modern, funky atmosphere.