The Explorer

A copy of your unique Cairns and Far North Queensland Itinerary is being send to your inbox right now! (as well as on this page)

Fascinated by this beautiful earth, you're always looking for the unique natural wonders of the world. 

You love getting off the beaten track to find unique places you can't find anywhere else. 

Remember to Share Your Results On Social Media, and check out the articles below for more inspiration!

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How To Use This Itinerary

Remember to bookmark this page so you can refer back to it at any time. As you move through the itinerary, use these top tips to help you get the best experience out of your time in Cairns and Far North Queensland! 

Choose The Best Day

Top Tips For An Unforgettable Holiday

  • Choose the best weather day (least wind) for your 'Reef Day'
  • Try to group 'self-drive' days together if you are hiring a car.
  • Consider the length of tours and how your energy levels are going to feel after each day. Will you need a break?

Book Ahead

Avoid Disappointment and Book Ahead

There's nothing worse than missing out! Many tours, car rentals and restaurants book out quickly, especially during busy times in Cairns. Don't leave it to chance, book in advance! 

We have included links throughout this guide to provide you with our top recommendations. 

Travelling with Children?

It Doesn't Need To Be Hard!

As a mum, I get that the way we travel is often different when we are travelling with children.  Because of this, I've added a section below each 'day' on the itinerary with my top recommendations when travelling with children under 12 years old. Keep an eye out for the logo above for 'Family Friendly' tips

Day 1: Chasing Waterfalls in the Tablelands

For the explorer at heart, it's nearly impossible to say 'no' to hidden waterfalls and secluded swimming spots. 

The good news is that Cairns, and Far North Queensland is FULL of incredible waterfalls just waiting to be discovered. 

Use the link below to grab a copy of our Self-Drive Waterfall Loop Itinerary (including Interactive Google Map Guide).  You'll also find other places to visit and sites to see, preparing you for the ultimate photo opportunities!

Top Tip For Families: The Self-Drive option is more forgiving for a family with young children. Guided tours that include the waterfall loop make for a long day (around 10-11 hours). By having your own car, you can make stops when necessary, skip sites which don't interest you, and aim for a shorter day if you wish.  Book your car hire using this link, and use the Self-Drive Guide to plan out your day. 

Rather not drive? Or maybe enjoy a little extra 'local commentary' along the way? You can still enjoy these pristine slices of paradise as part of a guided day tour. Below is my top recommendation for the Waterfall Loop!

Love Hiking? Check out this list of hikes to do while in FNQ!

Day 2:  Island & Outer Great Barrier Reef

Can you honestly visit Cairns without visiting the Great Barrier Reef? Every time you enter the water is a whole new experience, and you never know what incredible memories you're going to make! 

But there are so many options! Islands, Boats and Pontoons?

The best news is if you want both an Island experience AND an Outer Great Barrier Reef experience, you can actually do BOTH in a single day! Learn more about it in the link below. 

Top Tip For Young Families: If traveling with very small children or infants, consider an island! You can do an island in a half day, or a full day, meaning you can choose the best option to suit your child's napping schedule.  

Top Tip For Families With Older Kids: I recommend checking out the full day pontoon Outer Barrier Reef tour below, It's a favourite for families with older kids who are comfortable in the water as it has a corkscrew slide into the water, plus loads of activities too! 

Day 3: Daintree & Cape Tribulation  

The Daintree is the oldest rainforest in the world... in fact it's actually around 40 million years older than the Amazon! Spend your day breathing in the fresh air of the Daintree Rainforest and taking in the picturesque views over the secluded Cape Tribulation. 

Explore endless pathways that meander through the Southern Parts of Daintree - Mossman Gorge.  While you're there cool off and take a refreshing dip in the fresh, crisp waters!

And, don't forget to drop by the Daintree River for a croc-spotting wildlife cruise as well as the Daintree Icecream Company for a truely tropical ice cream or sorbet! 

Top Tip For Young Families: For a shorter day, consider heading to Kuranda with the Train and Skyrail. You'll get your fair share of rainforest on the two Skyrail boardwalk lookout stations, and you can enjoy a leisurely paced day at Kuranda - enjoying lunch, the Butterfly Sanctuary, Bird Sanctuary and Koala Gardens! 

Top Tip For Families With Older Kids: For the kids that love a bit of adventure and animal lovers, make sure you check out the Cape Tribulation Horse Riding. Imagine two full hours of riding through the Daintree Rainforest, or helping your horse cool off in the beach waters along the Cape Tribulation Beach! (suitable for children aged 5 years and older providing they are accompanied by an adult)

Hungry? Check These Out...

Looking For More Inspiration?

Check out some of my most recent blog posts! 

Considering hiring a car during your stay in Cairns?... Save money and don't miss out! Since COVID, there has been a shortage of hire cars in the region.  Many visitors to the region have missed out or paid much higher rates as a result of not planning ahead.  To secure a car at the best price, I recommend searching through Drive Now (use the search boxes below).  You'll find prices and availability for multiple car hire providers including Hertz, Thrifty, Avis, Budget, East Coast Car Rentals, etc. all in one place. 

hertz europcar thrifty budget avis east coast car rentals

About Me...

Hey there! I'm Kate!

I moved to Cairns, Far North Queensland in 2014 for a sea change, leaving my medical profession as a pharmacist behind, in favour of celebrating this beautiful region full time while working in the tourism industry. 

It was a pivotal point in my life, and has lead me to many opportunities and experiences that I am endlessly grateful for. 

This blog, and the resources I put together are created to help others discover the same beauty I found in this region and to create lasting memories for you too! 

Kate Mannion


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