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Cairns & Great Barrier Reef, QLD

Cairns and the Tropical North Queensland Region is a vast region which covers an area of over half a million hectares beginning in the south from Mission Beach, north to Cape York Peninsula and west across the Tropical Tablelands and Gulf Savannah to the Northern Territory border.

Tropical North Queensland

This region is made up of reefs and islands, through to beach and coastal wetlands to mountains, tablelands and Gulf Savannah grassland. See some of the highlights of Cairns and the surrounding wonders in the short video below (duration: around 5 minutes).

The major centre is Cairns (pictured below), a tropical town with irresistible markets and shopping arcades. North of Cairns are the beaches such as Palm Cove, Trinity Beach, Kewarra Beach and Ellis Beach where palm trees hang lazily over the sandy beaches.

The Esplanade cairns

Further north is the resort town of Port Douglas and continuing on you find the spectacular Mossman Gorge, World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation. North of Cape Tribulation is the area Cape York and the Gulf Savannah renowned for its rugged coastline and wild and sparsely populated wilderness.

West of Cairns is Kuranda and the beautiful Atherton Tropical Tablelands and travelling further west you come to the Gulf Savannah with its rich history of gold rushes, bushrangers and wandering Aboriginal tribes. South of Cairns is the Cassowary Coast including Mission Beach.

The amazing reef

The Great Barrier Reef has a delicate reef ecosystem that evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, and gave life to more than 6,600 species and plants and beasts.

The amazing reef

It’s still home to endangered species including the endangered green loggerhead turtle, and is a breeding site for humpback whales. While it is protected, there are myriad ways to enjoy it. Go cruising around the islands, or base yourself at a range of mainland, seaside towns on the Queensland coast and take day trips.

Dive sites are dotted up and down the reef, and it’s easy to charter a boat for a day or a longer dive trip, suiting beginners, intermediate or advanced divers. Or, choose an island that suits your interests and budget, and find different ways to explore the islands, the reef, and the wildlife of both.

Try Lizard Island for superb game-fishing, snorkelling and scuba-diving. Lush Dunk Island is one of the area’s three rainforest islands; Fitzroy Island is perfect for relaxation and adventure; Green Island, off Cairns, has one of the most luxurious resorts in the world; and Hinchinbrook Island is the largest island national park in the world.

Magnetic Island offers more than 5,000 hectares of scenic beauty, two thirds of it national park, and is rimmed by colourful coral reefs, picturesque beaches and secluded bays.
Accommodation ranges from camping grounds through eco-cabins to resorts.

Dunk has four grades of accommodation. Some islands, like exquisite Orpheus Island, and Bedarra Island have luxury accommodation, and one, Haggerstone Island, is so remote and exclusive it’s only open for part of the year.

Nearest Airport: Cairns International and Cairns Domestic Airports

Where to stay?


  • Active
  • Caravan and Camping
  • Farm/Station
  • Homestay
  • Romance
  • City
  • Rural/Country
  • Cultural
  • Eco Tourism
  • Environmental
  • Food and Wine
  • Historic/Heritage
  • Honeymoon
  • Indulgence/Luxury
  • Mountain
  • Nature based
  • Relaxation
  • Remote
  • Soft Adventure
  • Island

Popular Activities

  • Off Road Driving
  • Abseiling
  • Ballooning
  • Mountain Biking
  • Trail bike riding
  • Bird Watching
  • Bush Walking
  • Canoeing
  • City Sightseeing
  • Rock Climbing
  • Cruising
  • Cycling
  • Driving
  • Golfing
  • Horse Riding
  • Kayaking
  • Sailing
  • Scenic Flight
  • Shopping
  • Sightseeing
  • Skating
  • Skiing - Water
  • Skydiving
  • Wind Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Wine Tasting
  • National Park
  • Winery
  • Adventure
  • Fishing
  • Nightlife
  • Rainforest
  • Wilderness
  • Wildlife
  • Fishing - Game
  • Outback
  • Quad Bike Riding
  • Scuba-Diving
  • Fishing - Beach
  • Beach
  • Fruit Picking
  • Fishing - Deep Sea
  • Fishing - Trout/Fly
  • Fishing - Estuary
  • Diving
  • Seakayaking
  • Fossicking
  • Caving
  • Snorkelling
  • Reef
  • World Heritage
  • Gold prospecting
  • White Water Rafting
  • Hang Gliding
  • Theme Park
  • Jet Boating
  • Sandboarding
  • Bungy Jumping

About Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

Explore The Outback

Australia has a vast remote interior, much of it largely untouched. By night, the outback is deathly quiet, with the only light provided by the stars and the moon - a perfect oportunity for stargazing. Explore the isolated heart of the country, meet and connect with Aboriginal people and experience one of the oldest living cultures in the world. Go ‘walk-about’ and immerse yourself with Australia’s endless outback horizons.

Outback Experiences

Luxe Accommodation

Enjoy a distinctly Australian luxury experience, such as the unforgettable reefs, islands, beaches and coast; rugged mountain ranges, rainforests and vast national parks; and the many vibrant food and wine regions. Take a once in a lifetime adventure and discover the sheer indulgence of experiencing the wonders of Australia in style and stay in total luxury.

Australia has wide variety of accommodation options to suit most budgets and travelling preferences. Choose from luxury lodges, boutique hotels, serviced apartments, motels, bed and breakfasts, caravan parks as well as youth and backpacker hostels.


Glasshouse Mountains

The Glasshouse Mountains in the hinterland of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast are actually the cores of 20 million year old volcanoes. The sides of the volcanoes have eroded away leaving only the hardened rock spiremountain cores we see today. Learn more about this awe-inspiring landscape.

Glasshouse Mountains