There are a lot of things to do in Cairns, Australia, especially if you are into extreme adventures or are an adrenaline junkie. Blogger Karla Ramos of Karla Round the World conquered her fears when she visited Cairns. Check out how much fun she’d had there!
There are many wonderful places in Australia, from the urban to the wild. Cairns is a city that straddles these two distinctions, with a bustling business district and an inimitable patch of unspoiled nature.
If you want to get lost in a lush rainforest, skydive onto a wild beach, abseil (aka rappel) down a waterfall, or swing through the air at terminal speeds, Cairns is your best bet. Located in Queensland, it’s more than 2,000 kilometers north of Sydney. It’s pretty far from the capital, but it’s still famous as a holiday destination due to its unique offerings.
Getting to Cairns and Getting Around
Cairns is served by an international airport, and several airlines provide flights from the Philippines. The airfare averages around $1,000, with significantly cheaper prices offered for flights with more than one stop. I recommend checking for the latest and most affordable airfare prices at Kayak — they also offer packages with hotels and cars, so it’s very convenient when you’re planning your Cairns adventure.
Once there, you can choose from a wide variety of transport options, as Cairns is an important hub in this region of Australia. There are buses to and from the Cairns CBD (where there are two terminals), and there is also a railroad network following the eastern coast. Of course, taxis are also very common in the area.
Adventurous Things to Do in Cairns
When it comes to extreme adventures, Cairns doesn’t lack for anything. Name your adrenaline fix, and they probably have it! Here are some of the ones that I’ve tried.
Skydiving at Mission Beach
Cairns has fun to offer wherever you view it from — land, sea, and air. I can still remember the nerves I felt just before I jumped, but it was partly eased by the clear blue Australian skies, and the sapphire waters bordered by brown sand way down below. This certainly beats bungee jumping!
There’s a complete briefing at 8,000 feet, right before you and your tandem jump off from the plane. Just take note of all the instructions, and you’ll be safe throughout the 40-60 seconds of free fall. As soon as your tandem pulls the chute, it’s nothing but appreciating the rough and raw Cairns landscape. If you’ve ever thought what’s it’s like to wander like a bird and get in touch with Nature from high above, then this is your best bet.
Go Bungee Jumping in Cairns
Bungee jumping is big in Cairns, largely thanks to the presence of the AJ Hackett Bungy Company. Their site is located less than half an hour from the city center, and they operate the only bungee tower in the whole of Australia.
I tried this out back in 2016, when my skydiving was cancelled due to inclement weather. At that time, a Great Barrier Reef dive was out, too, so my friends and I ended up pushing each other to stand on the platform of the nearby bungee tower.
Yes, I loved the adrenaline rush but…bungee jumping in Cairns was something else altogether. It took me a few minutes before I was able to jump. I screamed my lungs out, but the free fall was incredibly amazing. It is definitely an experience to try, even if you’ve tried other bungees before. As a plus, you get to see the natural beauty of Cairns from the bungee platform.
Go on an ATV Ride
This quad bike tour was in Kuranda, near Cairns. Unfortunately, the company has already closed down by early 2018, though others have sprung up in its place. Cairns Quads (located directly in the rough and tumble rainforest), for example, offers an exhilarating tour through the muddy and rocky rawness of Australian nature.
The tours take around an hour and a half, mostly excluding the training and briefing. The rainforest is sure to test your mettle as it did ours, splashing you with dense dirt and creek water! There’s also a cool down session afterwards, complete with a cup of tea.
Go Canyoning in Cairns
This activity is for those who think that the ATV ride isn’t enough of a challenge. Back at the Cairns rainforest, Crystal Canyon awaits for a bout of zip lining, rappelling, and waterfall jumping. This secluded adventure site offers small group half-day tours, complete with lunch.
After the multiple climbs and abseils, you will definitely feel the burn in your muscles. Don’t worry since you will be able to cool off at the refreshing pool below the waterfalls. Keep your eyes peeled for the Cairns wildlife too, such as the colorful birds, butterflies, and various critters you’ll see on the way.
Snorkel or Dive in the Great Barrier Reef
Finally, the ultimate adventure is to explore the fantastic Great Barrier Reef. It is one of Australia’s greatest natural wonders, and the best part is that it can be experienced in different ways. You can dive or snorkel, and you can get really up close and personal by waiting for the low tide so you can walk on the reef directly. You can also view the reef from above through a scenic flight or a glass-bottom boat.
Cairns is just one of the three towns around the Great Barrier Reef (being the latter extends for around 2,300 kilometers, the largest of its kind in the world), and is the main launching point to the stunning colors of the coral. You can visit here any time of the year! We enjoyed a day cruise that showcased the many colors of the sea in this region. It was an amazing experience, and we were able to swim out in the open sea, too.
When it comes to adventures, this part of Queensland should really be in your bucket list. There are so many things to do in Cairns, especially for adventure lovers, that it can be hard to leave once you’re there!
Have you been to Cairns? Will you do any of these activities that Karla has tried?
About the Author
Karla is the travel blogger behind Karlaroundtheworld. She’s a social media manager, travel consultant, hostel co-owner, and former preschool teacher in the Philippines who works hard and plays hard. She is a thrill seeker and adventure junkie who enjoys researching for and planning trips. Follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
Featured photo of the Great Barrier Reef from JC Photo/Shutterstock.