We were blown away by the number of things to do in Cairns.

So to help you plan your trip to Cairns, here’s a list of the best attractions in Cairns, plus a few hidden gems.

Things to do in Cairns, Australia

Whether you want to explore the Great Barrier Reef, relax and chill, or learn about the local history and culture, these Cairns attractions are for you.

Swim at the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon

Crystal clear waters, beach views, and life guards. The Cairns Esplanade lagoon is a cool place to laze around, read your book, and meet other travelers.

Visit Rusty’s Farmer’s Market

I think it’s the cheapest farmers’ market I’ve visited in Australia so far. 50 cent avocados, hello! Get here on a Sunday at around 2pm just before it shuts, there’s slash-down prices galore.

Explore The Great Barrier Reef

Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, a true wonder of the world that is 2,300km long, which is why it’s such a popular place to visit and probably the main reason you’re visiting.

The Pontoon Experience

We chose the pontoon experience at Marine World based out at Moore Reef with Reef Magic Tours after hearing they were probably the best for families.

Go White Water Rafting on the Barron River

There are a few thrills on the Barron River in the Barron Gorge National Park through rapids called The Meat Cleaver, The Suckhole, and the Rooster.

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