Winter escape to Cairns

Leave Winter Behind…

Winter normally signals freezing temperatures, staying indoors and rugging yourself up in layers of clothing, but in Cairns, these concepts are almost unheard of for we do winter a little differently here…

With average daytime temperatures of 22 degrees and clear blue skies abundant throughout the season, Cairns’ winter weather makes for the ideal time to visit the beautiful tropical north.

If the moody grey sky you’re seeing outside right now isn’t enough for you to rip off the layers, don your favourite swimsuit and head immediately to the airport, the following bucket list experiences and stunning ‘pinch me’ moments you’ll experience on a winter escape to Cairns sure will.

A woman sits in a hammock on a sandy beach holding onto her hat and looking out to sea

Photo by Marni Cadd.

Cairns is famous for being the home of two World Heritage listed sites – the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest (the oldest tropical rainforest on Earth!).

In fact, it’s the only place in the world where two natural World Heritage sites meet. This means you can amp up the wow factor of your tropical getaway by ticking off two major bucket list experiences together.  Plus, with Cairns’ close proximity to all attractions, it’ll be your most relaxing tropical holiday yet.

A diver can be seen under the water above the coral reef

Photo by Kyle Hunter.

A man is in the forefront floating in the ocean with a thumbs up. A boat is behind him wiht a group of people with their arms up in the air.

Photo by PhlipVids.

Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef

Comprising of almost 3,000 sections of reef and 9,000 islands, the Great Barrier Reef can actually be seen from Outer Space. Although, we can assure you it is far more beautiful up close.

Home to ten percent of the world’s total fish species, as well as whales, dolphins, and sea turtles, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World and is quicker to access from Cairns than the average person’s city work commute.

You read that right – the Great Barrier Reef is only 40 minutes away from the Cairns CBD. This makes it very easy for you to experience this remarkable living eco-system that is famous all across the world.

Cairns Full Day and Half-Day Great Barrier Reef Trips

You can visit the Great Barrier Reef no matter your itinerary with a range of tour options available. These options include full or half-day experiences and some even include over-night stays at the reef (you can even camp on a pontoon under the stars!).

Cairns reef cruise operators accommodate for everyone from families with young children to serious scuba divers. You can even get PADI dive certified right here in Cairns.

A man stands in board shorts on top of a large rock looking out across a sandy beach and the ocean

Photo by Kyle Hunter.

Looking down at the Great Barrier Reef from a helicopter

Photo by Sarah Latham.

Looking down at the Great Barrier Reef and a rainforest covered sand cay

Photo by Sarah Latham.

Looking down into the ocan and a series of three forested island trimming with white sands

Photo by PhlipVids.

From Above

Another popular experience is viewing the Great Barrier Reef from above. Marvel at the never ending blue water, the immaculate sand cays and the striking reef structure as you glide effortlessly across the World Heritage listed wonder. GSL Aviation takes you on affordable scenic flights across the sprawling Great Barrier Reef from the Cairns Airport.

Skyrail gondola-over-rainforest-canopy
A ranger kneels on a rainforest boardwalk to talk to a small child and family
A man, woman and child stand at a glass lookout admiring the waterfall and deep gorge below

The Ancient Rainforest of Cairns, Australia. 

Want to be let in on Australia’s best-kept secret? The stunning tropical rainforest surrounding Cairns is actually home of the Oldest Tropical Rainforest on Earth.

This is no mean feat; at approximately 130 million years old the ancient rainforest tells a remarkable story of survival.

Against all odds, the rainforest has outlived world events that have caused other species to crumble. It survived the dinosaur extinction (yes, this rainforest existed while dinosaurs were roaming the Earth) and an Ice Age.

This spectacular environment was World Heritage listed in 1988 in part due to its exceptional natural beauty. A beauty that we believe all should be able to experience and enjoy without impacting the impressive eco-system.

A ranger stands on a boardwalk in the rain forest pointing up into the tress with a group of guests
A birds eye view of the rainforest canopy with a cableway across the top and two gondolas passing by

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Located a short 15 minutes outside of the Cairns CBD, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway takes you on a journey of discovery over and through Australia’s tropical rainforest.

Enjoy jaw-dropping views of Barron Gorge National Park, Barron Falls, the Cairns region and the Coral Sea before you descend below to explore the jungle floor.

Enjoy a truly immersive experience at Red Peak, an otherwise inaccessible area of the rainforest. Learn about the rainforest’s extraordinary connection to the Great Barrier Reef, the never-ending battle for survival and fight for light with a Skyrail ranger.

Discover for yourself why the famous Barron Falls, a landscape that took millions of years to form, is a Cairns icon. Take in the panoramic views from Skyrail’s The Edge Lookout before continuing your rainforest journey and arriving at Kuranda, Village in the Rainforest.

Two girls shopping in the colourful wooden Original Markets, Kuranda.
Two women walking through Kuranda-Original-Markets

Kuranda, Village in the Rainforest 

Kuranda, the Village in the Rainforest, has existed for over 130 years. Every year this quaint little town attracts visitors near and far due to its unique ‘hippie’ vibes and large range of activities.

Spend a few hours wandering through the Kuranda Original Markets. Running for over 40 years and open everyday, you are sure to find a quirky souvenir unique to North Queensland. There are also relaxing rainforest walks along Barron River, a few games of mini-golf to be played and self-directed food crawls to enjoy as Kuranda boasts many delectable international cuisines. We recommend stopping in at the Kuranda Crepes to satisfy both your savoury and sweet tooth.

Learn more about Kuranda Village.

Kuranda Wildlife Experience.

For those eager to see famous Australian animals, Kuranda also has you covered.

The Kuranda Wildlife Experience 3 Park Pass gets you discounted entry into Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Kuranda Koala Gardens and Birdworld Kuranda. From here you can hand feed wallabies, admire colourful bird friends.

Kuranda Scenic Railway winding through the rainforest
Kuranda Scenic Railway crosses over an old wooden bridge at Surprise Creek near Cairns

Kuranda Scenic Railway

The Kuranda Scenic Railway is a true mark of this rainforest town history. In operation for almost 130 years, the Kuranda Scenic Railway is a popular choice to combine with your Skyrail rainforest experience.

Wind your way slowly down the mountainside, with scenic views of Barron Gorge National Park and the Cairns region. Learn about the extensive construction that created the railway line and marvel at the beautiful Stoney Creek Falls as you pass by.

Kuranda Scenic Railway also offers a luxurious Gold Class upgrade so that you can finish your rainforest experience in style. With complimentary wine and beer as well as a selection of locally sourced afternoon treats as you sit back, relax and journey back into Cairns.

The Kuranda Scenic Railway is a popular combination with Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. You can learn more about this experience here

5 large hot air balloons sit glowing on a darkened landscape ready to lift off the ground

Photo by Liam Berghan.

A woman sits in a swimsuit on a large rock looking at a waterfall as it cascades down the rocks

Photo by Liam Berghan.

There’s More

Your winter escape doesn’t stop there as Cairns is overflowing with jaw-dropping experiences.


Sunrise Hot Air Ballooning

Set your alarm clock for an experience you’ll never forget. Watch the sun rise above a layer of early morning cloud as you look out across the Atherton Tablelands from a hot air balloon.

Afterwards enjoy a champagne breakfast before being dropped conveniently back to your accommodation in Cairns.


Waterfall Chasing

As the home of natural beauty, it is no surprise that Cairns boasts a large range of waterfalls at almost every turn. With so many to choose from, it is difficult to narrow it down to just a few recommendations.

Millaa Millaa Falls on the Atherton Tablelands is a perfectly crafted natural waterfall. Famous partly from being featured in a hair commercial, this waterfall is a popular stop for Cairns visitors, especially those wanting to recreate the iconic hair shoot.  Another Australian icon, Jacko featured Millaa Millaa waterfall in a XXXX beer commercial!

Josephine Falls is especially popular with a younger crowd as the waterfall makes a fun slip and slide. The emerald green pools surrounding the falls are equally as beautiful, so we recommend bringing your camera with you!

Crystal Cascades is the locals’ favourite. Refreshing water and fringed by rainforest, Crystal Cascades will have you thinking you are in the middle of nowhere rather than 15 minutes outside of the Cairns CBD.

From exploring the Great Barrier Reef to delving deep into the awe-inspiring Wet Tropics Rainforest, it’s time to put Cairns at the very top of your ‘I need a tropical getaway now!’ list.

So now that you have been clued up on the beauty and our favourite hidden gems of Tropical North Queensland, we look forward to welcoming you to #TheAncientRainforest and Cairns very soon!


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