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Top Rated Things To Do In Cairns

The Great Barrier Reef is without a doubt the major attraction in Cairns. However, you’d be remiss not seeking out the other incredible things to do in Cairns. From lush botanical gardens and serene waterfront dining to wildlife watching and scenic helicopter flights, this coastal enclave always finds a way to leave you in awe.

Are you looking for inspiration before your next Cairns holiday? Read on to discover some incredible things to do in Cairns.


1. Snorkel at Vlasoff Cay

Vlasoff Cay is a secluded white-sand cay completely surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkelling just offshore is one of the most incredible things to do in Cairns. You can see turtles, dolphins, manta rays and countless species of vibrant reef fish.

One of the best ways of reaching Vlasoff Cay is via a scenic helicopter transfer with Nautilus Aviation. The tour includes two hours on the cay spent snorkelling, sunbathing, picnicking and swimming. You’ll also be treated to inflight commentary and breath-taking bird’s-eye views. The gourmet picnic hamper with sparkling wine served under your beach umbrella is the final touch on this unforgettable day out.

Learn more about the Vlasoff Cay tour.


Things to Do in Cairns


2. Sunset Stroll on Cairns Esplanade

The Cairns Esplanade is a beloved part of the city. It stretches for 2.5 kilometres along the magnificent foreshore, offering views of islands and occasionally dolphins and whales offshore. It sets a rather idyllic scene for a leisurely sunset stroll as the sun casts hues of red, orange and yellow across the North Queensland sky.

The Esplanade is a lively part of Cairns. You’ll often see people working out at fitness stations, playing petanque and beach volleyball or picnicking on the foreshore. You can also break up your walk with a drink at one of the waterfront restaurants or cafes.


Things to Do in Cairns


3. Visit Cairns Botanic Gardens

Nature lovers shouldn’t miss a visit to the Cairns Botanic Gardens, revered as one of the best exhibitions of tropical plants in Australia. As you stroll around the property, you’ll encounter a variety of themed gardens. These range from plants used for food or medicine by the Indigenous Australians to numerous species of bamboo and flora found in South America and Africa.

The botanical garden is also home to an expansive freshwater lake which attracts various species of bird. Here you can often see magpie geese, black ducks, black-necked storks and cormorants. There’s also the Nature Playground for kids, an immersive rainforest boardwalk, arts centre and two enticing dining options.


Things to Do in Cairns


4. Dolphin and Whale Watching

Some of Australia’s best dolphin and whale watching opportunities can be found in Cairns. Dolphins can be spotted year-round, while humpback whales can often be seen around July, August and September. In fact, the whale watching is so good in Cairns that you can usually see whales from the Esplanade during these months.

If you want a closer viewing of the whales, it’s possible to join a whale-watching cruise from the harbour. There are numerous operators offering half and full-day excursions, during which you may also spot dolphins, turtles and other marine life.


Things to Do in Cairns



Even More Unique Activities & Things to Do in Cairns

Are you trying to find memorable Cairns experiences for your next trip? Browse the range of amazing Cairns tours through Nautilus Aviation. These range from thrilling helicopter golf and outer reef cruises to scenic helicopter flights and Daintree River fishing.

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