Tropical North Queensland is the gateway to experience world heritage reef and rainforest, and offers plenty of bang for your buck. Take Cairns for example, you don’t even have to leave the hub of town for an authentic rainforest experience. Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome is above the Reef Casino, so great for travellers who are short on time.
It’s thick with native animals and there’s over 150 free flight rainforest birds. There’s also a high ropes course, offering a mid-zoom through to a high-zoom for the more adventurous with tricky crossings and zip-lines. One of those lines is straight over a 4-metre saltwater croc.
If you are looking for café recommendations during your stay in Cairns. Head off the beaten track to ‘Graff Alley’ just off Grafton Street.
Caffiend is becoming known for its chilli eggs and beef tacos, where the beef is braised overnight in espresso coffee.
The bean-scene stretches around the corner to Oceana Arcade, to Blackbird Espresso. Ask for the ‘Magic’, a ¾ full double ristretto latte. They take their brews very seriously, so you won’t be disappointed.
As for a place to stay during your visit, Mantra Triology is perfectly positioned right on the esplanade so everything is at your fingertips. Plus they are offering a Hot Deal to Qld Weekender Viewers with up to 20% off.
Evening entertainment can be found 15 minutes north of Cairns at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Their ‘Night Fire’ show is spectacular. You get to meet the indigenous rainforest people, learn their customs, participate in a corroboree, and get to sample their traditional foods. It’s a visual feast for all the senses.
Heading an hour further north of Cairns, will set you in the township of Mossman. The Mossman Gorge Centre is the launch pad to the surrounding ancient rainforest. The centre offers Dreamtime Gorge Walks with Kuku Yalangi Elders where you get to experience the customs and ceremonies of the rainforest’s traditional owners, not to mention the incredible beauty of the gorge.
If you’d like to experience the Mossman River by water, Back Country Adventures offer a river drift snorkel experience. Float down the oldest continuous tropical rainforest system on the planet. Keep your eyes peeled for birds, butterflies and up to 10 different types of tropical river fish. The drift snorkel is open to all ages and levels of fitness, and is a relaxing way to glide through paradise.
A popular spot to base yourself up this way, is on the coast at Port Douglas. There’s a pick of world class beach resorts on the coral sea. Mantra PortSea is a great choice, and a great one for families. The kids will love the big saltwater croc statue in the pool, while parents will appreciate a swim-up bar. Plus they are offering a Hot Deal to Qld Weekender Viewers with up to 20% off.
The Reef Marina is the starting point for plenty of tours bound for the reef, but why not opt for a river cruise instead. The Lady Douglas runs tours daily of the creek and estuary system where there’s a very good chance you’ll spot a crocodile in the wild. The tour runs for around 1.5 hours and includes drinks and nibbles.
Like clockwork, at sundowner o’clock people flock to On The Inlet in Port Douglas to watch the dive boats roll in, over a cold beer and a bucket of prawns. The other drawcard is their resident 250kg groper called George. Feeding hour is daily at 5pm where you may just get a glimpse of him. It’s a lovely way to watch the sunset and see out the end of a day.
If you’re an RACQ member, there are plenty of member benefits and discounts in the tropical north. As well as both Tjapukai and the Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome, members can get discounts at various tourist attractions in Port Douglas, Cairns and on the Great Barrier Reef.
Tropical North Queensland Tourism