How Many Days to Spend in Cairns? Tips on Things To Do!

Koala Gardens in Kuranda

How Many Days to Spend in Cairns? Tips on Things To Do!


It’s true, Cairns is a Tropical Paradise, it is the main gateway for visiting the Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage listed Daintree National Park.


One of the main questions we get asked on a daily basis is: How many days should I spend in Cairns? Can you give me some tips on the things to do?


“What else is there The Reef the Rainforest?”


Some people come to visit for only 3 days, some for weeks. Allot will depend on your priorities, are you coming to Cairns to relax? Coming for Adventure? Coming to Explore? Maybe a combination of all three!


Some of the best things to see and do in Cairns can be done in 3 days, but that only touches the surface. With literally hundreds of things to see and do you really could spend 2 or 3 weeks.


In fact, many grey nomads (Retired Australians) tend to buy large 4WD vehicles towing a Caravans. They typically spend months at time in Tropical North Queensland. Especially during the Australian Winter months when it is freezing cold and raining in the Southern Parts of Australia.


What is so Special about Cairns?

  1. The relaxed laid back lifestyle and warm Tropical climate offer comfortable living conditions all year round. Although it can get a little hot in the Summer months of December, January, February and March. But this is easily overcome with many days spent swimming in the freshwater creeks and Gorges like Crystal Cascades and Mossman Gorge. Not to mention the Ocean temperature is perfect for snorkeling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

  2. The Cairns Esplanade Waterfront the main mecca for eating out in Cairns! Dundee’s Restaurant, The Boat Shed, The Waterbar and Grill and the Salt House just a few reputable establishments perfect for a vino or two at sunset. Great outdoor dinning can be had 365 days a year on the Cairns Esplanade Waterfront. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.

  3. Most Cairns Hotels are walking distance to the downtown Cairns Esplanade. The foreshore board walk offers great views out to the reef and surrounding mountains. You can use the FREE BBQ’s or go for a swim in the FREE Esplanade Lagoon. Eat in or takeaway aboard the floating seafood boat called the Prawn Star!


What are the Main Tours and Attractions?

1-The Great Barrier Reef:
Ok so after enjoying Cairns city itself you should really think about visiting the Great Barrier Reef. The reef is at its closest point to Cairns compared to all other parts of Australia. With Green Island only 26klm offshore, Fitzroy Island around the point and the outer Barrier Reef systems only 65klm offshore from Cairns.


All of these locations can be visited in the one day. This means you could spend a full day at Green Island or a full day on Snorkel / Dive boat visiting the Outer Reef Systems.


Visit a wide range of tours to suit all budgets and swimming requirements see our Great Barrier Reef snorkel and dive cruises.


2-Kuranda Village:
No trip to Cairns is complete without a day trip to the quaint little village of Kuranda. Accessed by the scenic train and Skyrail. Kuranda is an easy start with bus pickups at a Cairns hotel starting around 9:00am.


The Kuranda Scenic train takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to arrive in Kuranda. The village itself has many markets, cafes, art studios, restaurants and small petting zoos. You can buy a ticket to the zoo’s while in Kuranda.


After a few hours exploring Kuranda, you join the Skyrail a rainforest gondola cableway that transports you all the way back down the mountain. Its at the bottom a bus can pick you up and take you back to your Cairns hotel. There are 2 stations you can disembark the Skyrail and take a short boardwalk to the take in fantastic views of Barron Gorge Waterfall. Mind you the falls are only really pumping in the Summer wet season months.


You can self-drive yourself to Kuranda but the highlight is riding the scenic train and Skyrail. See here for more information on Kuranda Day Tours.


3-Cape Tribulation & Daintree National Park.

A World Heritage listed National Park visiting the Daintree is taking a step back in time. Thousands of year old trees, plants and wild animals can be found in the Daintree Rainforest.


Day tours depart Cairns around 8am in the morning and return after dark at around 6:30pm. Notorious Wild Saltwater Crocodile inhabit the rivers and stream in the Daintree so it is highly recommended not to swim.


Please see here for more detailed information about day tours to Cape Tribulation and Daintree National Park.



There are still more things to see and do in Cairns more than what we can name here. But the top 3 things to see and do are visit the Great Barrier Reef on a day tour, visit Kuranda village on the scenic train & Skyrail. Visit Cape Tribulation and Daintree National Park. With that in mind, you could still visit many more destinations, feel free to get in touch and ask our reservation staff are more than happy to help. Email: or PH: 0740411635.

Clint Carroll

Clint Carroll - Chief Travel writer and Scuba Diving enthusiast at Cairns Tour Info. Follow him on Twitter.

Do you need help choosing?

Can't decide? We have personally been on every Cairns reef and diving trip. We can help you choose the best tour, to suit your experience and budget.


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