The Top Things To See and Do In Cairns, Australia and the Great Barrier Reef


The Top Things To See and Do In Cairns, Australia and the Great Barrier Reef

We have just finished our latest Vlog of all of the top things to see and do in Cairns, Australia and the Great Barrier Reef! Included in this Vlog is All of the best things to see in Kuranda, and an insight into things you can do in Melbourne in 2018 with Kids.

We were in these destinations for 2 weeks and spent all of our time with our two children so this Vlog will lack a bit in the nightlife department, however we did go to some lounges and went to one nightclub in Cairns.

Transportation in Cairns was simple with well priced taxi service or you can rent a car for your stay. We opted to rent a car and were able to save a lot of money seeing the sights without a tour company.

The dollar in Australia is similar in value to the Canadian dollar and currently 20% cheaper than the US dollar.


So here is our list of the top things to see and do in Cairns, Australia and the great Barrier Reef!


  1. Local Restaurants:

Cairns has an amazing restaurant scene for a small location, the cruise ships stop here so it is a major tourist destination and it is the busiest access point to the great barrier reef. There is market style food which we enjoyed greatly, it was inexpensive and had food from all over the world. There were high end restaurants that overlooked the ocean to cater to the wealthy and there were in between. The food was amazing so enjoy it!

Cairns Restaurants

Cairns Restaurants

2. Shopping in the market 

Was one of our favourite things to do. They had all sorts of neat things and was an awesome place to buy souveniers. The market reminded me a lot of something you would see in Asia as there were fish spa’s, cheap massages and bartering allowed!

4. The boat dock and port

The Port area had lots of boats selling fresh seafood, some of the boats would have you aboard and cook you a fresh meal right then and there! In the port there were lots of shops and restaurants. Also tour companies to help you plan your day. 

5. The best island day Trip In Cairns: Fitzroy Island

Fitzroy island was a beautiful paradise island on the great barrier reef, we spent a magical day there and loved it. There was an amazing beach, great hiking, watersports, snorkelling, scuba diving and much more. There is a turtle sanctuary right on the beach, restaurants, one hotel and educational tours around the island it is magical. You will get amazing pics on Fitzroy.


6. The best local touring day trip in Cairns: Kuranda

Kuranda was such a great day trip that you can do with children. There is a Koala sanctuary, Bird sanctuary, Crocodile sanctuary, Butterfly sanctuary, Kangaroo sanctuary and much more. The best part is you can interact with the animals here, a bird flew right on my head! There is a lot more in Kuranda including hiking, restaurants and a cool gypsie market. This is a must do if you are here. Check out the vlog above for some insight.

Kuranda Birdwolrd

Kuranda Birdwolrd

7. Esplanade

The esplanade is another must do thing here, there is no beach and it is tropical so they put in a man made beach. It is spectacular and great for kids, right in the main park area in Cairns.

Cairns Esplanade

Cairns Esplanade


8. Cairns Bats

There is an infestation of huge fruit bats in this part of the world and it is a sight to see on its own. At around 5 or 6 everyday thousand of huge bats will start flying around.

9. Cairns Boardwalk

Along the Cairns boardwalk there are a lot of parks and exercise stations, this stretches for miles and I would say is the best place to jog in Cairns or to take take a stroll.

10. Learn the area

Cairns is a really fun place to explore, there are all kinds of hidden gems here.

Cairns Dessert

Cairns Dessert

11. The Reef Casino

Yes there is even a casino in Cairns!

12. Kuranda Scenic railway

I had to put this in a category of its own as this is one of the ways to get to Kuranda. There is a bar on board, food, private area’s and is very luxurious. the ride gives you some of the most beautiful views of Cairns.

The Great Barrier Reef

1.The great Barrier reef tours

There are a lot of tours that take you onto the reef for a day of enjoyment. They feed you, allow you to snorkel, jet ski or just chill out on a giant pontoon.

2. Snorkel the reef

There are full day and half day snorkeling trips on the great barrier reef, you can set these up at a local tour agency and they will pick you up right at your hotel and drop you off.

3. scuba dive the Great Barrier reef

They offer one tank or 2 tank dives and they will pick you up right at your hotel.

Great Barrier Reef Diving

Great Barrier Reef Diving

4. Do a scuba live aboard and stay on the great barrier reef

In my opinion this is the best way to enjoy the great barrier reef, I did this for 3 nights. I shared a cabin with one other person they matched me up with. It was bunk bed style. It costed me $750 AUS so very well priced for what you get. We dove 4 times a day starting at 5 am and ending with a night dive. It was very educational and they fed us like kings. In between dives is downtime where you chill out and suntan on deck. I read half of a book, and made some friends. 

Great Barrier Live aboard

Great Barrier Live aboard


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Hi! My name is Sean Rampersaud, I am a family travel writer and photographer with a focus on adventure travel. My kids are Rayden and Natasha and my beautiful wife is Radika.We have been travelling for the last 25 years and have some really cool ideas to share with you.Thanks for visiting our page, I hope we can help you to get the most out of your next big adventure.


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