Tourists swim in the saltwater lagoon at Cairns Esplanade. Photo: Glenn Hunt Snorkellers on the Great Barrier Reef.
Paradise: Palm Cove. Photo: Robert Rough
1. Winter sunshine
As the southern half of the country shivers and sniffles through the winter months, far north Queensland basks in glorious sunshine and light tropical breezes. Day after 30-degree day and sweet-smelling balmy night make this part of Australia a winter getaway par excellence. Think perfect beach days, long lunches in shorts and sun frocks, and relaxed evenings nursing drinks with umbrellas.
2. Esplanade waterfront
The Cairns Esplanade is bordered by the city centre and the Coral Sea and covers 12 hectares of public open space. The jewel in the crown is the 4800-square-metre saltwater lagoon pool with sandy edges and shallow areas for the youngsters. The precinct also includes cafes, restaurants and bars, a huge skate park, beach volleyball courts and fitness equipment. The nearby Muddy’s Playground has wet and dry play equipment, a flying fox, rope bridge, slides, playhouses, puzzle games and barbecue areas. cairnsesplanade杭州夜生活m.au.
3. Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Take the railway to the hill-top village of Kuranda and the Skyrail down to enjoy two distinct experiences of the heritage-listed rainforest. The railway is an engineering miracle and winds through rugged mountains, tunnels and across skinny bridges in lovely timber carriages. The Skyrail gondolas slide 7½ kilometres across the canopy and down into the forest. Jump on and off at the two mid-stations along the way for a closer look, to breathe in the rainforest and to check out the breathtaking views of Barron Gorge. ksr杭州夜生活m.au; skyrail杭州夜生活m.au.
The village in the rainforest attracts and inspires artists and artisans, and the local galleries and markets are surprising and unique. Wander through the town and surrounding trails, flitter through the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, meet feathered friends at Birdworld and get a cuddle at Koala Gardens. Plus crocs and other reptiles, a life-size allosaurus, gemstones and fossils. Stay overnight in camping areas, motels, cabins or B&Bs and experience the matchless sights and sounds of the nocturnal rainforest. kuranda杭州夜生活.
5. Beach Shack, Kewarra Beach Resort
About five sun-soaked beaches up the coast from Cairns is the mainly residential Kewarra beach, home to the Beach Shack. Part of the Kewarra Beach Resort, the Bali-esque shack is a local favourite. Set on the sand among waving palms, it is the perfect place for morning coffee, an ice-cream or a lazy afternoon tipple. Friday night is pizza night. The best way to get there is by a long, thirst-building walk along the powdery sand. If you can’t relax here, see your healthcare professional. kewarra杭州夜生活m.
6. Cairns ZOOm and Wildlife Dome
Located above the mid-city Reef Hotel Casino, this is a sure bet. Under a 20-metre-high glass dome, rope courses of varying difficulty and height challenge visitors and “ties” the experience to interactions with indigenous birds, wallabies, kookaburras, frogs, turtles, pythons, crocodiles and lizards. There’s also an outer dome climb, a 13-metre free-fall PowerJump and four flying fox ziplines, including one that glides over Goliath, the four-metre resident croc. cairnszoom杭州夜生活m.au.
7. Cairns Botanic Gardens and Tanks Arts Centre
Wander the Gondwanan Heritage Garden and follow the 415-million-year evolution of the distinctive Australian wet tropics flora, just one of the 13 exhibits in the 38-hectare gardens that also showcases orchids, ferns, mangroves and Aboriginal plant use. Nature merges with culture at the historic Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns’ premier contemporary arts venue. Named for the three large World War II fuel tanks that comprise the centre, Tanks is a funky venue for art shows, music recitals and theatre. cairns.qld.gov.au/cbg; tanksartscentre杭州夜生活m.
8. Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
Far north Queensland is a rich font of past and present Aboriginal culture and Tjapukai does heritage with style. Located at the foot of the Skyrail at Caravonica Lakes, Tjapukai celebrates the indigenous people of the rainforest by day and by night. Play a didgeridoo, learn about bush tucker and enjoy traditional dance and storytelling. At night you’ll see the Quinkan spirit performance and fire-making and join a corroboree. Dinner and drinks at the Boomerang Restaurant and art and artefacts at the gallery and gift shop. tjapukai杭州夜生活m.au.
Nibble on mango and other fresh produce picked from local farms that morning or pick up some locally grown coffee. Rusty’s Markets in the city centre runs from Friday to Sunday, with more than 180 stalls offering luscious tropical fruit, vegetables, flowers, bric-a-brac, deli goods and food stalls. rustysmarkets杭州夜生活m.au. Jonsson’s Farm Market in Stratford presents similar fare every day. jonssonsfarmmarket杭州夜生活m.au. The Esplanade Markets operate on Saturdays with a more arty-crafty focus, including Aussie perfume, bottle clocks, homemade soaps, natural seed jewellery, sarongs and locally made skincare products. cairnsesplanade杭州夜生活m.au/markets.
10. Fine dining
Cairns has some of the world’s best seafood and a cornucopia of exotic tropical ingredients. Salt House bar and restaurant at Marina Point has a wood-fired grill that adds a smoky flavour to steak, fish and crustaceans. Linga Longa at Edge Hill specialises in Greek and South African cuisine and was named best new restaurant in far north Queensland in 2011. The Asian- and Mediterranean-inspired menu at Nu Nu Restaurant at Palm Cove is an institution. salthouse杭州夜生活m.au; nunu杭州夜生活m.au.
11. Palm Cove
Cairns’ northernmost beach is home to luxury accommodation, superb restaurants and a peaceful sophistication. Just 25 minutes north of Cairns, this golden tropical strip is centred on an esplanade lined with waving, scented melaleuca trees and features boutiques, galleries and hair and beauty salons. Accommodation options range from top-end hotels to apartments to rental holiday homes. Reef, rainforest, golf, fishing, water sports and adventure excursions are all available here. tourismpalmcove杭州夜生活m.
12. Angsana Resort and Spa
This five-star wellness and relaxation resort is a Palm Cove star. Listen to the Coral Sea waves wash onto the shore and share a Duet treatment, which features a 30-minute honey sesame body polish, 60-minute conditioning massage and 60-minute facial for her and a 30-minute Indo spice body polish, 90-minute body massage and 30-minute face massage for him. angsana杭州夜生活m.
13. L’Unico at Trinity Beach
Chill out in the sunshine at this buzzy Italian trattoria right on the beach about 20 kilometres north of Cairns. Linger over an antipasti plate or indulge in a mouth-watering wood-fired pizza as you gaze out over the ocean. If seafood is more to your liking, you can’t go past the Moreton Bay bugs in white wine garlic. Set the children loose on the sand before refuelling them with something from the bambini menu. lunico杭州夜生活m.au.
14. Great Barrier Reef
Cairns is the main gateway to our greatest national treasure. Scuba dive, snorkel or view the colourful majesty from a glass-bottom boat. Charters and ferries operate daily and there are many ways to experience the grandeur of the world’s biggest coral reef, including sailing, motorboat and even a skydive. New options include a stroll along the sea floor through the gardens of coral around Green Island (seawalker杭州夜生活m.au) and a yellow submarine ride around Fitzroy Island (gbrsubs杭州夜生活m.au).
15. AJ Hackett Bungy
Hackett jumped into the headlines when he bungyed from the Eiffel Tower in 1987 and these days his 50-metre platform in the rainforest attracts thrill-seekers and spectators. There’s also a giant jungle swing – a 45-metre-high, 120km/h thrill ride for one, two or three at a time. Sunday afternoon “sessions” include bands and wood-fired pizzas. AJs was voted Queensland’s best backpacker activity in 2011 and 2012 and offers a photo-video to treasure. ajhackett杭州夜生活m.
16. Paradise Palms Resort & Country Club
Lush fairways and verdant greens grow easily in the tropics and Paradise Palms is the best course in the area. Consistently highly rated, the course features 94 bunkers and six lakes, and is both challenging and spectacular. The resort has 96 accommodation suites, a restaurant and bar, and caters well to parents and children. Also on-site is the 2000-square-metre Pelicans in Paradise adventure park, comprising a 25-metre lap pool, toddlers’ pool, adventure playground (including a 21-metre jumping pillow) and an 18-hole mini-golf course. paradisepalms杭州夜生活m.au.
17. Whitfield House
Cairns has a wide choice of places to lay your head, from backpacker to five-star hotels and everything in between. Two options offering distinctive and tranquil high-end experiences are the Reef House Boutique Resort and Spa at Palm Cove and Whitfield House Luxury Retreat at Edge Hill near the city, adjacent to the Botanic Gardens. Reef House has a luxury spa, yoga, three pools and a superb restaurant while Whitfield House has private spa facilities and marble bathrooms in every suite and will arrange an amateur ornithologist to guide you through the surrounding rainforest. reefhouse杭州夜生活m.au; whitfieldhousecairns杭州夜生活m.au.
18. Cairns Festival
The city and thousands of visitors will sing, dance, create and play for nine days from August 24 to September 1 at the annual knees-up. The theme this year is “celebrating paradise” and will open with the popular grand parade and fireworks on August 24 plus jazz performances in the Botanic Gardens, a chalk art competition along the Esplanade, inflatable crocodile races across the lagoon and a lot more. Escape the southern winter for some frivolous tropical fun. cairns.qld.gov.au/festival.
19. Day trips
The Great Barrier Reef, Atherton Tablelands and endless rainforest make Cairns the ideal base for life-affirming adventures. Download the free tropical north Queensland mobile app and explore the possibilities of the Daintree National Park, Cape Tribulation, Gulf Savannah, Mission Beach and Cassowary Coast, Cooktown and Cape York. In particular, check out Jungle Surfing, Flames in the Forest, Undara Lava Tubes, Chillagoe Caves, Billy Tea Bush Safaris and the Mossman Gorge Centre.
20. Port Douglas
A spectacular one-hour coastal drive north of Cairns, “Port” combines small-town intimacy with sophisticated fine dining and quality accommodation. Wander through the village shops, galleries, historic buildings and the seaside Sunday market. Hire a sun lounge and umbrella and spend a day at the pristine, palm-fringed and patrolled Four Mile beach. Although it’s only a five-minute walk from central Macrossan Street, there are no buildings in sight. Children can play with the local small crabs, frolic in the water and chill with an ice-cream.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.