72 Hours in Cairns
Spending time in Australia, whether you’re a local or a traveller, and not visiting Tropical North Queensland is like walking into an Adriano Zumbo patisserie and saying you’re on a diet. Ridiculous concept. In both situations, it’s a far better option to get wild and let the passion of the environment take over. With extra cream, thanks.
Arrive in Cairns
Cairns is super easy to get to from almost every major airport in the country (and not so major airport – hello Tullamarine & Uluru), so arriving at a very reasonable 12 noon or 2.00PM is very common. Once you’ve checked into your preferred Crystalbrook hotel, it’s time to hit the town for a look around.
What better way to kick off a mini vacay in the tropics than on a bona fide pirate ship? Okay, so the Shaolin Junk is actually an original Chinese junk boat, but part of its very colourful history is being part pirate… Carrying only 26 passengers, the 15m-long, authentic three-masted Chinese junk, Shaolin strikes a unique image off the Cairns Harbour, particularly when her dragon-filled, red sails are unfurled. The sunset tour is our pick – complete with yum cha snack and beverages, this is the most magical way to say hello to Cairns.
The most brag-worthy of all adventures whilst in Cairns is certainly a trip to the jewel in the crown, the Great Barrier Reef. Although spanning over 2000KM up along the Queensland coastline, one of the sweetest spots off Cairns lies a slice of paradise waiting to be devoured. Enter Fitzroy Island: a national park island serving up lush rainforest fringed by white sands, azure water and coral beaches.
Feel all Robison Crusoe by hiking the Summit Trail to catch a 360-degree view of the reef, snorkelling over vibrant coral gardens right off the beach or meeting the local turtles at the rehabilitation centre. Venture 15 minutes along the trail from Welcome Bay to the south-west side of the Island and you’ll come across Nudey Beach – rated the Best Beach in Australia in the recent Tourism Australia Best Beaches Award (take that, Bondi…!).
View from the Top
AJ Hackett captured the world’s attention when he bungy jumped 110 metres off the Eiffel Tower in 1987. Almost 30 years later, this modern-day Tarzan has taking his motto of living fearlessly to extremely successful heights (*boom tish*) and started his own jungle bungee. The tranquil natural surrounds of the Kuranda rainforest and waterfalls make for a spectacular dive for those brave enough to keep their eyes open! And at 50 metres high, you get a bird’s-eye view of the northern beaches and out to the Great Barrier Reef before taking the plunge!
And with that, you’ve covered the reef, the rainforest, equal amounts of adventure and R & R. Next time, you’ll just need to stay a little longer…
Top image courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland