A very unforgettable time in Cairns, Australia.. I felt like even there for 5 days wasn’t near enough. People who likely live here can’t even do everything as there is SO much to see.
There is nothing short of A LOT to do up here and worth taking extra time out from Sydney to up here. How I found Cairns was simply wanting to to The Great Barrier Reef and the northern part was the best spot to do it! Along with the fact you can only hold a koala in Queensland.
If we are talking distance wise, i’d say it’s a 3-4 hour radius what you want to see. From Cairns (another hour+ south/west from here is where the waterfalls are), I stayed in Trinity Beach, then Palm Cove is 10 minutes from there and has a ton of restaurants (30 minutes north of Cairns) and another 2 hours north is the Daintree Forest, Port Douglas is where I took my Great Barrier Reef Tour out from as well which was an hour from Trinity Beach.
First day, I knew the mission and it was to meet the baby koalas and feed the kangaroos at Kuranda Koala Gardens. I recommend doing this when the day is off/on with rain if you are unsure if weather will ruin plans.
I spent 2 hours here and theres such great shops on the side streets away from the Garden entrance. It was a great price, around $30-$40 USD to enter- feed the kangaroos and they are all sizes!
Along with meeting the Koalas and you get a printed picture/keychain to always remember the day. I was honestly warned Koalas aren’t the nicest, they look the cutest but be prepared if your koala isn’t all nice. The koala before me, peed on a girl and switched them out before me to give you an example.
There is also bird world in the gardens you pay extra for, if you love birds- go! It’s really beautiful in there but defiantly less than 30 minutes extra add on.
Next, focusing on Trinity Beach. I really looked into a lot of different areas to stay including Cairns, Port Douglas, and the resorts are around Trinity/Palm Cove and Clifton Beach. Trinity Beach is a more quitter, great if you love the beach,sound of the ocean from your room/even view from the actual bed for about all the hotels on that street.
Clifton Beach has really a lot of resorts but it wasn’t clear how to get around easy if i’m honest- theres a lot of dead ends and a beautiful beach but didn’t spend too much time here.
Palm Cove is awesome! The famous Four Mile Beach is here, you have the complete island views, great to walk around. If you wanted a bit more lively, a lot of restaurants and I went to breakfast at Vivo Palm Cove. The reviews say it all, breakfast and dinner is the best to have here, a lot of seafood and italian style (I know right, amazing at breakfast? It was incredible, I did the french toast!)
I hit Palm Cove on my way to Daintree Forest which was such an adventure, wow! I did not know a lot of this before coming and really happy to be posting on it.
Daintree Forest, the oldest rainforest of the world over a 180 million years old. First, lets start off with having your maps already downloaded, its a real rainforest and the loss of service is likely/data ran out faster for me.
You do need to cross a river, The Daintree river, it costs $40-$50 USD round trip back and forth and it comes pretty often so you shouldn’t wait more than 20 minutes. I truly felt like I was in the amazon jungle, this was the moment..on this boat crossing to the real rainforest lol.
Luckily that worked in my favor having my data low and the KINDEST man, who owns the gas station just about in Daintree forest, he recommended the water hole I posted below. Its clearly worth getting to but be extremely cautious of the rocks, never walked on more slippery rocks (or just get watershoes).
This little hike is, pretty much past Cape Tribulation. You can pay to see some of Daintree with private land owners (one being by that gas station I mentioned) and more along the way with tours. I didn’t want a tour and to explore myself and this was more than enough especially the more north I went.
You keep going until you can’t anymore (past Cape Trib). There is a river going along and bigger cars can get past but this hike is before that river, take a left on a path and keep going. The path is about 10-15 minutes and it leads to this. Its absolutely worth seeing, promise. Just be careful of the crazy animals, everything can kill you in Queensland ;)
There is a ton of spots to pull off and take pictures of along the way/on way back.
I included some of my favorites below that I am so happy I stumbled upon because I was the ONLY person on these crazy big beaches. You want epic shots and you want to experience the true Australian beaches, just keep stopping along the way especially in the northern part of AUS (as they actually say!) I provided my spark drone shots as well, enjoy!
Cape Tribulation is amazing, its the closest land to Great Barrier Reef and there is a look out point. Walk along the beach as well as the look out point, the beach is absolutely breathtaking, with the rainforest right behind you and the reefs/insane blue ocean in front of you.
And this is what I came here for, The Great Barrier Reef.
I have really gone into detail on my instagram stories (@thefaceofdestinations) on how I chose the exact tour to take. There was a lot of options online and I wanted to wait until I got to Cairns to decide, due to weather, wanting a really small tour (which was soo hard to find!!). I couldn’t of been happier with the company and reef we went to!
Sail away out of Port Douglas: wow, truly I was blown away from the service, the food, the gear, the amazing crew and the fact this tour had under 15 of us. To the Mckay Reef, I was told this one was one of the most lively because due to the privacy of taking such small tours. You have to remember when you are looking into snorkel excursions, I saw tours for up to 200 people and that seemed insane to me. When I come back, I would go with this exact company, truly they were SO amazing! And how amazing should you ask…?
I was extremely pleased with the area I stayed in, the tours, food, everything was amazing. My only regret is not staying longer.
Recommendations: Bring water shoes, I know they are ridiculous but Australia has a lot of water activities and that would have helped me big time!
Wear sunscreen everyday on every inch of your body. I got the worst sunburn of my life here and its because there is a hole in the O zone, its real, don’t mess with it!
Drink a lot of water, the humidity just about all year i’m told is crazy in Cairns (October to I was there mid march and was very hot)
Prepare to wear these suits when going in the water of Queensland. Jelly fish are absolutely NO joke, every place I stayed at had a warning paper on going in the water. They are deadly and small so don’t go too far in the water. On top of there are crocodiles and alligators, I saw a handful and I knew I wouldn’t be able to actually to go the beaches for a beach day in Queensland.
Time length I recommend: Honestly, 7 full days or even 8-9 if you are going more north than Daintree forest, I was told it only gets more beautiful going north!
Hotel stay: Trinity Beach, Sea Change Apartments: A VERY big thank you for this insane room upgrade from them. Again, look on my highlight stories on instagram for the details of this room, it was the largest room stay iv’e had. Absolutely LOVED this place and would stay back here, I like a bit more quite and the pizza place around the corner is amazing :)
I’d recommend that I wasn’t able to do: The waterfalls, it was about 2 hours from my hotel and after going up to Daintree, I couldn’t make it down. There is epic waterfalls all in a row too down there. I’d also suggest planning 2 to even 3 excursions out, it won’t get better than up here for the reefs and natural beauty my friends.
The Kuranda train, it takes a full day to do this but you also see a big waterfall/shops.
Green Island was recommended, Opal Reef (50km off Port Dogulas), Hardy Reef is an underwater haven, Franklin Islands (45km South of Cairns).
The dessert spots: Yankee D’s (crazy milkshakes), Comfort Foodie (traditional HK street desert food), Ozmosis for the best Acai bowl of your life.