How to Spend 24 Hours in Cairns, Australia

Cairns Boardwalk
Cairns Boardwalk | © Brewbooks/ Flickr
Alice Duffield

Beautiful Cairns – the gateway to Australia’s incredible Great Barrier Reef in far north tropical Queensland. It’s not just the reef that Cairns has to offer though. Within 20 minutes of the city, there is so much this tropical region has to offer, like natural wonders, great food and more. Here’s how to spend 24 hours in Cairns, Queensland.


Start your day with a walk along the beautiful Cairns boardwalk, a picturesque 2.5 km stretch of foreshore right in the heart of Cairns. Along the esplanade, you’ll find a boardwalk and family friendly lagoon. Once you’ve got your blood pumping, have brunch at one of the many cafes by the boardwalk.

After brunch, head to the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. This is the best place to view the scenery of Barron Gorge National Park. It’s a 7.5 km cableway and worth a visit if you’re after a tropical rainforest experience.



Head south from the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to Crystal Cascades to see the impressive freshwater creek, waterfalls and water holes. Be sure to bring your swimming kit because the 30 minute walk to the site will leave you needing a refreshing dip.

Once you’ve cooled off and gained your appetite back, begin the journey back to Cairns and have a late lunch at one of the many seafood restaurants along the water. You couldn’t get any closer to fresh seafood.

Take your full belly down to the marina and enjoy a sunset harbour cruise. It’s all about creature comforts like air-conditioning while experiencing mangroves, wildlife and maybe even a crocodile in its natural habitat.


Cairns is an outdoor city. The evenings are balmy and best spent by the water in the hope of a cool breeze, luckily the whole city is based around the waterfront. Grab a quick bite to eat on the esplanade before starting the evening’s adventures.

Make the most of your night in Cairns and head off on a rainforest night tour. This two hour game of hide and seek is designed to take you to another pre-settlement time and get you using all your senses for a bit of a thrill.

Once you’ve had your fun for the evening, head back into town and hit up one of the many cocktail bars available for a nightcap.

Cairns Esplanade
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