Cairns Queensland Tropical North is more than natural treasures and holiday pleasures!
It's a land of contrasts and surprises where ancient cultures enrich the new; prehistoric plants and animals thrive and people take time to enjoy this haven in an overcrowded world. Cairns air is clean, the skies are clear and, even in the heart of Cairns Queensland, traffic sounds are drowned by the sunset chorus of birds settling into their favourite trees.
Migratory birds and visitors from their far away homelands meet along the Esplanade and overseas cruise liners berth overnight just a stroll away. Beyond the city the rest of the tropical north awaits you. Come and explore at leisure or join a day or extended tour.
Depending where you roam you'll find accommodation in a luxury hotel or outback pub, a hostel or holiday apartment, a motel, city or country homestay, a resort or remote fishing lodge.
The following pages are an overall introduction, followed by detailed information on Cairns and various local geographic areas within the Far North Queensland region.
Great Barrier Reef
gained World Heritage status in 1981 as the largest and most complex expanse of living coral on earth. Extending from north of Cape York to south of the Tropic of Capricorn the reef grows closest to the mainland in the north.
Whatever you have read or seen of it on film, nothing will prepare you for the reality of its underwater coral gardens, its cays and islands and the huge variety of fish, marine mammals, turtles and birds.
Semi-submersibles, glass bottom boats and underwater observatories ensure a close-up look for even those who cannot swim. For those who can there will never be a better place to learn to snorkel or dive. Some cruises cater for experienced and learner divers and have marine biologists in their crews. To appreciate the overall size and form of the reef take a helicopter or light aircraft tour.
CAIRNS RAINFORESTS of
the Wet Tropics were awarded World Heritage listing in 1988. Best
known are the Daintree area north of Cairns
and the Palmerston highlands to the south.
Cairns rainforests are not only beautiful survivors of the world before human life evolved but an on-going source of scientific discoveries. In the Tropical North Queensland they grow along the coast, over the mountains to the Atherton Tablelands and on some islands.
Not all are in national parks. Pockets thrive close to the centre of Cairns, beside highways and agricultural land. These living plant museums are adept at hiding their secrets so many tours have expert guides to point out the delicate ferns and mosses, the night glowing fungi, orchids and huge ferns growing as epiphytes and the shy, silent day-feeding wildlife busy from the forest floor to the soaring canopies.
CAIRNS THE LIFESTYLE of far north Queensland is seductive. A good many of the locals only planned to visit, and those born here appreciate their luck.
Life isn't one long holiday but it's the next best thing. The climate is kind, the back garden pool stays warm, our verandahs and balconies are year-round living rooms. Most of us can find a lonely stretch of beach, a private picnic spot or a rainforest walk close to home.
to our visitors we have more places to eat out, shop, play sport
and be entertained than we did a few years ago.