Things to see and do while backpacking in Cairns, Australia.
Check out tips from other travellers and bloggers and their experiences in Cairns, Australia.
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Australia: A 5 Week Trip
Once we got back to Airlie, I had lunch at the coziest little place here called Harry’s corner – great milkshakes and omelets! After lunch, I then went to the station for another overnight bus trip to Cairns.Stephi
Little Crystal Creek or Big Crystal Creek
Overall there are many more places to visit in Townsville including our grand University. But that was just eight places and it’s already more than a week’s activities. So Come visited Townsville and experience all the gems we have to offer. and even drive up to Cairns and experience Parranella park and Misson BeachKatelyn Streat Lovett
Tree kangaroos: Atherton Tablelands, approx. 1,5 hours from Cairns
Northern Queensland Tree kangaroos: Atherton Tablelands, approx. 1,5 hours from Cairns The green inland area of Atherton Tablelands is part of the Wet Tropics. Asides from seeing lots of breathtaking waterfalls, you might be fortunate enough to meet one of the area’s rare tree kangaroos. They live in the rainforest and – as the name indicates – they spend most of their time in the top of the trees. The area around the Malanda Falls Visitor Centre is a good starting point. If you do not have any luck in this area, the friendly staff at the visitor centre will happily share suggestions on where to look next.Sofie M. Wulff
Regional work in Tully, QLD.
Tully is located in Far North Queensland, about 2.5 hours and $30 on the Greyhound from Cairns. When I first arrived in Tully in September, I noticed the humid and hot weather so be warned if you plan on doing farm work here, it’s hot! It is also the wettest place in Australia with an average rainfall exceeding 4 meters. The warmest time of year to work in Tully would be from November- March and the wet season is January-March so you should try and plan around this if you can’t cope with the heat (or the rain). I came here to do the 88 days regional work to qualify for the second year of the working holiday visa.Aimee Beach
Arriving in Melbourne
When I booked my flight to Melbourne I was pretty sure I would end up staying, no one seemed to stay for less than a few months so I was prepared to be grabbed and held hostage but now I find myself not wanting to leave! There is just so much to love about Melbourne and although in comparison to some cities it may lack on certain features it definitely makes up for it in atmosphere. I will admit that yes the beaches may not be as good as some over in Perth, no it’s not constantly hot and sunny like Brisbane, it doesn’t have huge tourist spots like Sydney or a barrier reef to snorkel in like Cairns but it’s just so liveable! Below I created a list of the best things to do and see in Melbourne, I can’t guarantee everyone will loving living in Melbourne as much as me but I can guarantee you will enjoy your time here if you visit at least one of these places!Paige D
Backpackers upon arrival often ask what there is to do in Brisbane. I never know what to advise. There are no bucket-list must-sees. It lacks Sydney’s photo op friendly harbour or Melbourne’s murals and iconic laneways. You can’t skydive as in Cairns or swim with crocodiles like in Darwin. It doesn’t even have a beach. For many tourists, it’s just an admin stop on the east coast; somewhere to pick up their rented campervan or fly home from.Fran Gibson
Cairns: A perfect winter getaway
My friend, Mark and I didn’t plan on having a fancy over-the-top-touristy-trip and we are one of those who just went with the flow; with not so much planning or even an itinerary! But we somehow didn’t seem to need one. Cairns is a beautiful town which presented itself to us in the best way possible. Our two-day trip just kept getting extended, and on our fifth day did we manage to leave this delightful town to our next adventure.Bhairavi Jaiswal
Port Moresby on a Budget
The best time to arrive in Port Moresby is during the early hours in the morning. There is a Qantas link flight from Cairns that leaves at 6.20am and land at Jacksonville Airport around 8.05am. Everything starts opening up around 9 am so that’s the best time to arrive.Martin Anthony
What to do in Cairns
Cairns is like marmite, or since I am in Australia it’s like vegemite, you either love it or you hate it! This city for me however, was amazing and I would have stayed there even longer if I could as it just has so much to do and see.Hollie
Driving through Queensland
The trip from Brisbane to Cairns was supposed to be the last part of my road trip along the eastcoast, before going back to Germany after 7 months of traveling through Southeast Asia and Australia.Julian
Townsville: Where The Rainforest Meets The Sea
A lot of times other cities like Brisbane, Gold Coast or Cairns overpower Townsville with their size and this beautiful city still seems to be mostly unheard of and just a pee stop for most tourists which, to be very honest, is a real traveller’s dream don’t you think!?JULIA
Today was the day with the big D, we were finally going to visit the largest living organism on earth. Not only were we going to snorkel the beautiful and world known Barrier Reef, we were also going to dive, which was something that we had never done before and we were so excited. We went with the boat Ocean Freedom because we had heard such great reviews of them, and they were known for their introduction dives. Please come with me on our day at sea. 7 am and it was already boiling hot outside. I could feel the sun against my skin as it slowly made its way up the sky, and its reflection created a beautiful path of glitter on the calm surface of the water. We had just been dropped off at the reef terminals of Cairns by the shuttle bus that he hostel had provided, and it was with great expectations that we checked ourselves in on the boat Ocean Freedom. It was a big and splendid catamaran that was beautifully painted in white and blue and had three floors. When we entered the boat the crew members greeted us and handed us a form to fill out as they were preparing our breakfast consistent of biscuits and loads of tropical fruits, just what you need to load up for a full day on the sea. When we had finished our breakfast and the boat started the one hour trip to the reef, it was time to gather all of the divers in the cabin for a safety briefing. We learned about the signs, techniques and rules when under water and around the reef, which is very important as you will learn how to act not to hurt yourself, the animals or the corals of the reef. To make us stay alert the briefing was ended with a quick quiz. We got divided into groups of four, so N and I were in group three along with another couple who were in their mid fifties, and while we were waiting for our turn to dive we got to go on a smaller boat with a glass bottom. This was also an alternative for the people on board who did not want to snorkel as they took us out to the reef and since the water is so clear you can see the wonderful reef and some fishes. Of course you don’t see as much or as clearly as you would snorkelling, but it’s an option not all of the tour boats offer and it’s very good if you’re travelling with kids or older people who might not be very strong swimmers. When we got back to the boat it was our turn to put the diving gear on. I have snorkelled a lot in my days, in many different countries, I have never feared the water and I definitely consider myself a very strong swimmer, but I must admit that I was getting very nervous by now. At first we had to find a pair of fins that would fit us, then they put the weights on us so we wouldn’t float and after that we got the gas tubes and mask on before we jumped in the water. We went down for about two meters under the surface and stopped there to make a few tests, for example we had to take the mouthpiece out to hold our breaths and put it back in to breathe again. There was one diving instructor for two people, so N and I had our own instructor and he was absolutely outstanding! The instructor grabbed us by our hands and together we started to make our way down to the reef, and it was absolutely breathtaking, it’s a whole new world down there! It is amazing that all of this is one big living organism, the beautiful forms of the corals together with the colourful fishes surrounding you was unbelievable, I have never seen anything like it. A big turtle swam by us as we dove deeper and we saw clown fish that lived in a coral that looked just like the one in the movie ‘Finding Nemo’. It was so cool the see all of this right before your eyes, it was unreal. We even got to feel some of the corals and it was the softest thing I have ever felt. The whole experience was wonderful. The introduction dive only took 20 minutes and we went to a depth of 12 meters, but it was just enough and when we were finished it was almost time for lunch, they served us delicious cold cuts with buns and potato salad. Our next stop was by an island that actually was a part of the Great Barrier Reef and only rose above the surface for a couple of hours per day, it was magical! We got the choices of bathing from the boat, sun bathing on the island, or snorkelling around the island. We chose to go on the guided snorkelling tour, it was led by one of the amazing crew members and he would not get out of the water until he had made sure that we had seen everything he wanted to show us. Once again we saw turtles and clown fish along with many other colourful fishes, but this time we even got to see three reef sharks! On our way back to shore the crew spoiled us with tons of tropical fruit, cookies, biscuits, cheese and crackers. Well needed after a very long day in the sun filled with fun and exciting things. Like I mentioned earlier our expectations were very high from the beginning but this was way better than we could have ever imagined, we were so incredibly satisfied and happy with this trip. The crew was absolutely amazing, they went out of their way to make you feel safe and comfortable. I would definitely recommend this tour and this boat since it has something to offer everyone, and you simply can’t go to Australia without going to the Great Barrier Reef.
7 am and it was already boiling hot outside. I could feel the sun against my skin as it slowly made its way up the sky, and its reflection created a beautiful path of glitter on the calm surface of the water. We had just been dropped off at the reef terminals of Cairns by the shuttle bus that he hostel had provided, and it was with great expectations that we checked ourselves in on the boat Ocean Freedom. It was a big and splendid catamaran that was beautifully painted in white and blue and had three floors. When we entered the boat the crew members greeted us and handed us a form to fill out as they were preparing our breakfast consistent of biscuits and loads of tropical fruits, just what you need to load up for a full day on the sea. When we had finished our breakfast and the boat started the one hour trip to the reef, it was time to gather all of the divers in the cabin for a safety briefing. We learned about the signs, techniques and rules when under water and around the reef, which is very important as you will learn how to act not to hurt yourself, the animals or the corals of the reef. To make us stay alert the briefing was ended with a quick quiz. We got divided into groups of four, so N and I were in group three along with another couple who were in their mid fifties, and while we were waiting for our turn to dive we got to go on a smaller boat with a glass bottom. This was also an alternative for the people on board who did not want to snorkel as they took us out to the reef and since the water is so clear you can see the wonderful reef and some fishes. Of course you don’t see as much or as clearly as you would snorkelling, but it’s an option not all of the tour boats offer and it’s very good if you’re travelling with kids or older people who might not be very strong swimmers.Amanda Ohrberg
West Coast Backpacking
During my time travelling Australia I have somewhat disappointingly found a lack of people who have even thought to venture to Western Australia during their time in Australia. Most opt straight for the East Coast and maybe into the centre to catch a snap of the famed ‘Uluru’ with a few stragglers that may venture elsewhere. This I see as a bit of a shame because Western Australia has a lot to offer that is overlooked by too many travellers. I myself have only spent just over 3 weeks in Western Australia but I intend to return to Perth in the near future and take a road trip along the coast right up until I leave the state and enter into the Northern Territory (and carry on till Cairns but that’s another story).Lisa Ward
So Tully… Tully is a place like no other. I guess it’s like vegemite… You either love it or hate it! It’s located south of Cairns and north of Townsville just off the Bruce Highway. It’s known to be the wettest place in Australia, and believe me; you are constantly reminded of this. With the rain and heat, along comes the humidity! I noticed this as soon as I stepped off the Greyhound. Luckily, my friend came to meet me at the Greyhound stop and carried some of my ridiculously heavy bags, but I was still dripping with sweat! The warmest time of the year in Tully is November through March, so if you’re planning on doing farm work in Tully, try and do it around these times.chess-damant
Separating The Wheat From The Chaff
The Whitsunday Islands had the most recommendations, while Byron Bay & Cairns tied for second place.Lolly McCafferty
One of the best draw cards for this area of far North Queensland is the abundance of amazing waterfalls.
My global sporting adventures took me to Melbourne, Australia, for seven months, and I recently visited Cairns and a whole section of Australia’s sunny East Coast in November, with a couple of friends during the off season for hockey. It was a perfect time to go, as the weather was hot and humid, but not unbearable. We hired a car for a couple of days and set off on a mission to smash out as many of the wonderful waterfalls and swimming holes of the Atherton Tablelands as possible!Bridgette Allen
Australia: from Cairns to Cape Tribulation in just one day
Are you in Australia, planning to visit the rainforest that surrounds Cairns? Do you want to learn more about nature and have the chance to meet crocodiles and the famous cassowary? Then all you need is just one day! During one of my days off, I decided to leave Cairns and to reach the famous Cape Tribulation. If you have more than one day you can also decide to reach Cape Tribulation in 2 or 3 days, stopping for the night in Port Douglas or in the rainforest and giving yourself more time to enjoy what this trip has to offer.Giorgia Doglioni
Experience Cairns, Far North QLD
There is so much to explore and experience in Cairns. I have been a few times this year and my first piece of advice is to prepare for the heat but also embrace it. On my first trip to Cairns which was at the end of Summer (very humid and can be quite wet) I had an action packed adventure in the Atherton Tablelands. I went on a 4WD experience with a friend of mine who took me to an amazing waterfall called Windin Falls, unfortunately this is very hard to get to without someone who is experienced in 4WDing but if you can, do it. The Atherton Tablelands is a beautiful place to visit even if you can’t make it up to Windin falls, there is plenty of other waterfalls that can be accessed without a 4WD for example Zillie and Ellinjaa Falls.Tyla Rossow
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