See & Do – Cairns & Tropical North Queensland

There was so much to see and do in our 7 days in Cairns and Far North Queensland last month, I had to write a 2nd blog. We transferred to our hotel with Cairns Limousines who are a wonderful local tourism operator. Cairns Limousines not only offer airport transfers but can also provide a more personalised private car service for bespoke day tours including the Atherton Tablelands, Kuranda, Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation.

For accommodation we choose Crystalbrook Flynn, a gorgeous property in the Cairns CBD. Our room overlooking the water and cityscape provided a fantastic view. We loved the large balcony and the room itself was very tastefully decorated. Appreciated the little touches like a welcome note on the mirror, slippers, and complimentary water.

Like the rest of the Crystalbrook family, this hotel believes in responsible luxury and creating sustainable experiences that enhance each visitors stay. Water bottles are reminiscent to the paper milk cartons of old, coat hangers are made from recycled pressed cardboard. Disposable bags, take away containers and straws are plastic free, and they recycle as much as possible incorporating the Containers for Change scheme. Members of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, coffee capsules are recycled, and fresh produce is sourced locally with unused food also being donated to Oz Harvest. This type of mindful sustainability in the accommodation sector is certainly very popular as many organisations are now listening to the demands of guests on ways to reduce a lighter footprint when travelling and Crystalbrook Collection is certainly doing this well.

For dining we enjoyed Flynn’s Italian and an after-dinner beverage in Whiskey and Wine. Décor in both is fresh and elegant. There are several swimming pools to enjoy and loads of space with sun chairs to just relax and soak up the sunshine. Staff went above and beyond especially Front of House.

For free activities check out the Cairns Esplanade & Lagoon area. Take a stroll through The Cairns Art Gallery and Cairns Court House which has been restored into a gallery as well. Enjoy an abundance of fresh fruit and veg from Rusty’s Markets. Head over to the Cairns Botanical Gardens, offering a free one hour guided tour on a Thursday of Gardens and Tanks Precinct Heritage.

Loving the café culture in Cairns with great spots like Bang & Grind, The Chambers, Envy Expresso, The Lillypad Café or Blackbird Laneway to explore, sip, ponder and of course more coffee. One of my favourite area’s for window shopping … well actually I did come away with buying something is the Oceana Walk Arcade. They have all things I love – food providores, vintage, boho fashion, jewellery, homewares, collectables music something for everyone here. Enter through Lake Street and wander through to Grafton Street.

If you are hankering for a local brew and some good nosh, check out Sauce Brewing Cairns and try a tasting paddle. Great craft beer and service from Pete and his team. If you fancy a view with your local beer then walk down to Hemingways Brewery on Wharf Street.

Really enjoyed the interactive Australian wildlife presentations in the Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome. Located at the top of The Reef Hotel Casino, such a cool spot. There are also zip lines, rope climbs for kids of all ages to enjoy as well as a tour that walks around the exterior of the building offering incredible views of Cairns. We saw Birds, Koala’s, Reptiles all whilst walking through the Dome and loved being surrounded by all the green foliage inside. This was certainly a great way to spend the afternoon.

Other favourable mentions for great dining and beverage options must go to Salt House, Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse or Oak and Vine for a sunset view from Cairns newest roof top bar and restaurant. Book a Gin Tasting Tour at Wolf Lane Distillery. These local dudes are winning global awards left right and centre with the Gin they are creating in their onsite distillery. Enjoy a cheeky cocktail from Flamingos Tiki Bar. Fancy just seafood only then book a table on The Prawn Star Cairns, located on the Marina and enjoy dining on one of the six retired prawn trawlers.

Another highlight of our trip was an after-hours tour at the Cairns Aquarium where they combine this with dinner at Dundee’s. This Twilight Tour is a ticketed event and allows you to enter the Aquarium after they close at 3pm. The guided tour includes all aspects of the Aquarium incorporating The Daintree Rainforest and The Great Barrier Reef. Great to see fish waking up (the night dwellers) and fish going to sleep (have never seen this before). Adored the 10 metre high 200 000 litre deep Reef tank – could have just sat there for hours! Arriving at the Oceanarium another favourite of mine with time for a drink and canapes whilst enjoying the ocean views (all without getting wet). Dinner next door at Dundee’s (a Cairns icon) was just amazing. This tour caters for everyone even dietary requirements. Very family and accessible needs friendly and a great addition to a night tour option for Cairns.

If you only have half a day spare and want to experience something totally different then book a River Tubing Tour with the Cairns Adventure Group. This tour see’s you float down steam through some Grade 2 rapids (scary for me, first time I had done this but totally loved the experience). Offering a morning or afternoon tour, courtesy hotel pick up and drop off what a great way to see another region in Cairns. The area is gorgeous! Green lush hills, the water so clear. Located just south of Cairns this was a fun tour to undertake. It was so heart warming to see people of all age groups enjoying themselves – oldies like us, kids and ages in between. The tyre tubes are so comfy to sit in and gives your arms a great workout when navigating your way through some quiet area’s of the river. We had 4 great guides with us on our tour, friendly, professional and really ensured everyone was safe and comfortable as well. If you want something with a little more excitement you can always book one of their white water rafting tours.

For more tourism information

www.tourism.tropicalnorthqueensland.org.au/