Who would have thought travelling interstate could be so damn exciting? After years of sitting inside, biding our time, it’s finally time to get back out there and explore.
If you’re anything like me, the last two years have taught you that life is too short to not try new things, so when I recently visited Cairns in Far North Queensland, it felt like the perfect time to push myself out of my comfort zone.
Now, I’m not known amongst my friends as any kind of daredevil — unless you count suggesting a third tequila shot as living life on the wild side — but Cairns is known as the adventure capital of Australia, so it seemed wrong to go there without doing something totally wild (even if I did freak out about everything right up until the very minute I was doing it).
For a clueless girl with no idea where to start, adventure site Adrenaline helped me out. I had three days, three adventures, and one big mission: to find a turtle. (And, you know, to also not drown.)
Here’s a bunch of activities that prove why Cairns is the adventure capital of Australia and should be on your travel bucket list
1. It’s the home of water sports
Water sports aren’t usually something I’d throw myself into, so when I signed up for the white water rafting adventure on Barron Gorge, I wasn’t sure if I’d be laughing, crying, or wetting myself.
Turns out, white water rafting is actually really fun, even for an anxious mess like me.
The guides were incredible, the whole two-hour adventure was thrilling. I swallowed far too much river water, it was a great accidental arm workout, and all with the most amazing backdrop of Barron Gorge. For the record, I did smile and laugh the whole time — there were no tears.
If white water rafting sounds a bit too extreme for you, never fear. You can always try kayaking or go on a boat tour, which leads me to…
2. Um, hello, a Great Barrier Reef cruise
Close your eyes and picture yourself on a big boat — the sun is shining, turquoise water surrounding you, and you’re waiting to see a turtle slowly swim by. If you like what you’re imagining, you simply can’t go to Cairns without doing a Reef cruise and guided snorkel tour.
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Not only is it an invaluable opportunity to learn about the reef, climate change, and what we can do to help save the reef — yes, there’s still time — you also have a whole day to frolic, snorkel at your own pace, get some sick photos underwater that make you look adventurous AF (even if you’re about to accidentally inhale a whole bunch of salt water through your snorkel) and lunch is provided on the boat. What else do you need?
Some cruises, like Down Under Dive & Cruise, even have gold class options for you onboard the cruise, so you can adventure in style just like Kate Winslett in Titantic — without the whole ship sinking thing, of course.
3. Explore sky high… or drop from the sky, if that’s more your thing
From helicopter tours to skydiving, Cairns has it all. And for the adrenaline junkies, there’s no better place to go than the Minjin Giant Jungle swing.
Located right in the heart of the rainforest, you can strap yourself in (with a friend or two if you’re scared) and drop from 45 metres, soaring straight through the jungle reaching speeds of up to 120km/h. It’s basically like you’re flying.
Feeling even more adventurous? The park even hosts bungee jumping, if you’re into that.
4. Not into extreme activities? Let’s talk about food
We get it, you can’t be in adventure mode all the time. Luckily, Cairns has a bunch of amazing restaurants to explore. Get acquainted with local cuisine at Ochre, which serves everything from roo to crocodile to gulf bugs, and uses native herbs and spices to top it all off.
5. Hike until your heart’s content
You’re in FNQ, so you better believe there’s so much beautiful scenery to take in. Cairns is surrounded by national parks and, of course, the stunning rainforest, with many hidden waterfalls and swimming holes to explore. Glacier Rock is a fave amongst the locals, for a stunning view of Cairns.
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Looking for different challenges? Find more hikes to explore here.
With a whole bunch of Aussies now seeking to get back to living, Adrenaline and Tourism Events Queensland have partnered together to entice people to travel to the adventure capital of Queensland: Cairns. And with things cooling down in autumn, there’s never been a better time to start planning your adventure up north!
The writer travelled as a guest of Adrenaline and Tourism Events Queensland.