Coffee in Cairns? Street Art? Aren’t you talking about that other Australian city famous for coffee and street art, Melbourne?!
Cairns might be more famous for being the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, tropical weather and beautiful rainforests, but this awesome northern Queensland town has so many other things to do and try as well.
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Where to stay in Cairns
For absolute luxury, the Shangri-La at the Cairns Marina is the perfect accommodation with beautiful facilities and water access. The Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort is another solid contender for great mid-high range accommodation and is also very centrally located with a great pool area.
For more budget options for the money conscious, Bounce is a great cheap accommodation choice as well as the Traveller’s Oasis.
Where to find the best coffee in Cairns
Caffiend is undoubtedly the location for a urban-style brunch and coffee experience in the heart of Cairns. To find this little haven, head to the main street of Cairns and seek out a little laneway at 72 Grafton Street where you’ll see brightly coloured murals painted on the brick walls lining the alley.
I was up in Cairns for a weekend with some former airline colleagues from Melbourne and on our first morning in Queensland (in true Melbournian style) we were looking for a coffee fix.
An actor friend of mine (thanks Laila) mentioned this cafe for great coffee in Cairns and wow did we instantly feel at home. The food was incredibly presented and tasted as good as it looked and the coffee was absolutely up to scratch.
And the coolest part was the Melbourne-esque street mural covered laneway that became our brunch location. It felt very hipster, with an authentically Cairns touch.
Things to do in Cairns
Visit the Great Barrier Reef
It is hard to imagine the magic of the world’s largest living coral reef until you’ve actually experienced it. If you’re staying in Cairns or The Whitsundays, it is almost unforgiveable not to visit this vibrant, incredible part of Australia’s natural fabric.
From Cairns, you’ll head out to the Great Barrier Reef by boat. There’s plenty of different tour types to choose depending on whether you’re up for scuba diving, snorkelling or simply a leisurely glass bottomed boat ride. Some tours also add on extras such as the beautiful Green Island, so it is really a case of picking your own adventure.
You can even take a helicopter over the area to really take in the magic of the reef from the sky.
Kuranda Scenic Railway
The Kuranda Scenic Railway shows visitors a completely different side to Cairns. After a day spent on the reef, it might seem hard to believe that you’re also extremely close to one of Australia’s most beautiful rainforest regions.
This is truly one of Australia’s best rail trips as the train winds its way from Cairns to the town of Kuranda, a tiny village in the heart of the rainforest, nestled next to Barron Gorge National Park. Australia has many wonderful National Parks, but this one truly is a unique and special experience.
Along the way, you’ll see waterfalls and other breathtaking sights as the train climbs up into the mountains. Once in Kuranda, add to your experience by also taking the SkyRail to get incredible views of Barron Gorge below.
Take a dip in the Cairns Lagoon
Cairns might look like the idyllic beach destination, but in actual fact there can be danger lurking around the water’s edge including crocodiles and jellyfish.
Luckily, Cairns boasts a beautiful man made lagoon that is perfect for splashing around in without worrying about getting stung by a jellyfish!
Entry to the lagoon is totally free, so all you need to do is bring yourself, your towel and your bathers to have a dip.
Book your flight to Cairns
Getting around in Cairns
Hiring a car is a great idea in Cairns as it will give you access to some of the broader region’s most lovely places such as Port Douglas, the Atherton Tablelands or other more private Australian beach destinations.
It also enables you to book accommodation further away from the main city area – for example, an AirBnB up in the hills overlooking Cairns could be on the cards!
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