A visit to Tropical North Queensland is not complete without an adventure into the magnificent Great Barrier Reef. The dazzling water will beckon you to dive in and discover a whole underwater world filled with colourful coral and attractive sea life. Tour through the beautiful Daintree rainforest and see stunning natural waterfalls and amazing wildlife. The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway offers a unique experience as you tour the tropical rainforest from up high, with breathtaking views across the canopy. Cairns is also home to a number of National Parks which offer a variety of walking tracks. The locals around town love nothing more than spending the day at the beautiful beaches. While you’re in Tropical North Queensland, enjoy some water based activities like jet skiing, sailing, kayaking or snorkelling.
Surreal and sublime, the Great Barrier Reef is far more complex than a single reef. It's actually thousands of individual reefs, blurring together to form a vivid barrier of colour that's visible from space. It's known as the world's largest reef chain but the visitor experience is far more tailored towards towards the intricate.
Most coastal towns in North Queensland offer snorkelling and diving trips to the reefs that lie just off the shore. Various tour operators also provide day cruises that typically stop at two or three different sites, allowing about three hours of underwater time.
The attraction is beneath the water so you'll need to get wet. Donning a mask and snorkel allows you to get up close with dazzling corals and an array of tropical fish. Those who want to dive deeper can organise a scuba diving package, complete with a pre-dive tutorial for beginners.
While Northern Queensland is famed for its coastline, the inland landscape is equally picturesque. Rolling mountains and waterfalls hide behind fields of sheep in the Atherton Tablelands, a serene destination that blends the charms of both rural and wild Australia.
While you’re there, be sure to explore the Waterfall Circuit, a sealed road that visits three magnificent waterfalls within short distances of each other. The wildlife is abundant in this area and easy to meet – take yourself to a platypus viewing platform at Peterson Creek at Yungaburra or meet rock wallabies at Granite Gorge.
Retrace the steps of the early explorers through Cooktown, situated at the mouth of the Endeavour River on the Cape York Peninsula.
A hub of colonial Australian history, Cooktown has a population of approximately 2000 inhabitants, giving it a quaint, small-town feel. Those keen to explore the historical side of the town should visit the James Cook Museum which is home to relics from the Endeavour as well as artifacts from the gold rush.
For those who want to get out of town, The Endeavour River is home to an abundance of wildlife, from birds like the jabiru and little kingfisher to five-metre long saltwater crocodiles. Tours operate up and down the river, providing you with a chance to glimpse one of these prehistoric reptiles all from the comfortable safety of your boat.
Flickering with mystique, and as the home of various legends, Daintree claims to be the oldest living rainforest in the world.
From the visitor’s centre there is a boardwalk trail and a canopy walk that will take you through the lush vegetation, home to a variety of wildlife such as boyd's rainforest dragons and the elusive cassowary. If you prefer an aerial view, there are zip lining tours that enable you to soar through the canopy of the rainforest.
For a different view, experience the place where the rainforest meets the reef by kayaking along the coastline. Marvel at views of the mountains and be sure to stop off at one of the many pristine beaches for a swim.
North Queensland's rainforests are home to one of the finest examples of Aboriginal culture that continues to flourish, inspire and educate the travellers that pass through.
Mossman Gorge has been reclaimed by the original tribal landowners who operate the excellent Mossman Gorge Visitors Centre. They are happy to arrange walks through the forest, providing a fascinating commentary about the relationship between Aboriginal culture and the land.
All the proceeds go to supporting local Aboriginal communities.