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Wanderlist Discover: Cairns, Australia

Wanderlist Discover: Cairns, Australia

A thriving tourist destination in Australia, Cairns (pronounced cans), is considered to be the gateway to one of Australia’s most remarkable attractions : The Great Barrier Reef. It has evolved rapidly from a swampy coastal city, to a cosmopolitan city with gorgeous beaches that seem to attract an unending throng of tourists. But, its proximity to The Great Barrier Reef is just one trick up the city’s sleeve. It is also within easy distance from the Daintree rainforest, the tableland of Atherton and many more destinations. And after an adventure-packed day trekking in the rainforest or scuba diving in the pristine waters of the reef, you can always paint the town red and share a few drinks with friends in the numerous cocktail bars and pubs in the city. Don’t get fooled by its size. Cairns may be a small town, but it can put many big cities to shame with its attractions


  • The Great Barrier Reef : The Great Barrier Reef - the world’s biggest coral reef and a UNESCO World Heritage site - is undoubtedly the biggest draw for Cairns. This stunning underwater fantasy paradise is perfect for snorkelling, scuba diving or just plain swimming. If you prefer not to get wet, that’s okay. You can visit the underwater observatory. And where else in the world can send a postcard back to your friends from the only postbox on a coral reef?   
  • The Daintree Rainforest : The Daintree Rainforest in Cairns has some of the most beautiful landscapes anywhere in Australia. Abundant in plant and animal life, this rainforest is a nature-lover’s dream come true. It also has several trails for walking, as well as great spots for wildlife and nature photography.
  • Dolphin and whale watching : If you ever wanted to watch whales and dolphins up close in their natural environment, Cairns is the spot for you. Several tour operators run cruise tours and take you close to the dolphins and whales that call the Reef their home. July to September is very popular with tourists because thats when almost 2000 humpback whales return to Cairns to give birth, completing their 10,000 km trip from the Atlantic waters.  

Best Time To Go: ANYTIME

According to the locals, you can visit Cairns almost anytime of the year, which is mostly true. If you want to lounge on the sand and enjoy the beaches, visit Cairns in summer, but if you want to avoid the rains, plan a trip in the winters. Cairns is a perfect tropical paradise, so you can’t go wrong, whenever you visit.

Where in the world:

Cairns is located in Tropical North Queensland in Australia.  

World Map - Cairns, Australia.jpg

Fun Fact: Cairns was established in 1876, when gold was found in a site that was previously used for fishing sea-slugs. However, the real boom in tourism for Cairns came around the 1970s, when the Great Barrier Reef was ‘discovered’ and surfers, swimmers and nature lovers all began to head to Cairns to catch a glimpse of the coral and get enjoy the year-round great climate.

Useful Information:

  • Language : English
  • Currency : Australian Dollar
  • Get Around : There are enough buses transferring passengers from the city centre to the suburbs and beaches. The city centre can also be covered on foot. To head further out, rent a car.

The Discover Series by Wanderlist

Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.

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