Create fond memories with a memorable road trip to Cairns.

If you are planning a road trip get away to some of the most pristine landscapes and beaches in Queensland, look no further than North Queensland, Cairns.

Here is where tropical rainforest meets the ocean. Where beautiful luscious green mountains wrap around the City of Cairns and beyond.

Considered the gateway to UNESCO World Heritage Listed site of The Great Barrier Reef, what does this place not have to offer is really the question.  

An adventurer’s paradise, but also an island chilled vibe paradise or a beautiful mountain exploration, you can choose a different scenery for every mood and personality. 

Hire a campervan to explore Cairns
Hire a campervan to explore Cairns

Photo by Caleb George on Unsplash

The fact that you have a camper van will give you greater access and the freedom to really get to know this place and get into the areas only locals venture out to. 

The aboriginal culture is visible and present in the area and there are many opportunities to learn and be guided by the traditional custodians of the land. A cultural experience like no other and so beautiful to be a part of. 

By all means if you enjoy the popular tourist attractions, you don’t have to go far from the centre of Cairns.

A list of Cairn’s closes attractions are: 

  • Palm Cove
  • The Esplanade
  • Night Markets
  • The Great Barrier Reef 
  • Cristal Cascades
  • Port Douglas 
  • Mossman
  • The tablelands 
  • Green Island 

You can watch a video on this below.

What should you explore around Cairns?

The Skyrail Rainforest Cable

Take the sky rail rainforest cable way up to beautiful little town of Kuranda with loads to see and do while you are in this hidden city on the top of the mountain. When you are done exploring you can return on the Kuranda (historic) Scenic Railway and ride the rail through the magnificent greenery of the area. 

Undara Volcanic National Park

Another stand out location is the Undara Volcanic National Park which is a geological tunnel or lava tube. Undara in the local aboriginal language means ‘long way’ and is one of the world’s longest lava tube systems. 

Cape Tribulation

Finally, a personal favourite, if you end up in this beautiful part of Queensland, do not miss out on visiting The Daintree Forest and Cape Tribulation. 

It is said that it feels like stepping away from civilization and back in time. The beautiful pristine and untouched forest and landscapes make you feel like you are far away in a tropical island forgetting that Cairns city is just under two hours away.

If wildlife is what you enjoy, the abundance of wildlife is also one of the main attractions of the area, cassowary birds and crocodiles are at the top of this list. 

While you may be thinking, this place is removed from the main city, it is easily accessible, and you can do a day trip to the area. The road around the area is completely sealed.

You do need to cross the Daintree river by ferry, open from 6am until midnight every day. There are plenty of hiking trails with some wooden trails and zipliners that take you through the middle of the dense tropical rainforest. There are also plenty of swimming spots, such as the Emmagen creek swimming hole or the Mossman River. 

The Daintree Forest

The Daintree forest is considered one of the most complex ecosystems on earth and has been estimated to be 180 million years old! Also outdating the amazon and has a diverse collection of ancient plants, animals, reptiles and a vast array of different bird species.  

The Daintree Rainforest - Cairns
The Daintree Rainforest – Cairns

Photo by Federico Garcia on Unsplash

We have already mentioned this place is UNESCO World Heritage listed but did you know there is actually two UNESCO World Heritage listened sites in the one place?

The wet tropical rainforest meeting the Great Barrier Reef. Have a look at this amazing areal picture just to get an idea of what this place looks like, the image isn’t just one of those curated pictures for the internet thinking that when you arrive there is nothing like the pictures.

It’s actually quite the opposite, pictures don’t do this place justice. You cannot show in an image what feels like magic.

One of the things that really struck me was that the place is not over run by tourist, in fact if you are adventurous and walk a little further than the entrance to the beaches, you soon find yourself in a secluded beach location surrounded by coconut trees abundant with fresh coconuts and the most incredible lush green vegetation at the foot of the beach, with sand that sparkles and warm, crystal clear water. 

Beaches in Cairns
Beaches in Cairns

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Are there any dangers around Cairns that you should be aware of?

I know you have heard, there are plenty of crocodiles in the area and surely you have heard some stories, please do not let the crocodiles stop you, while they are one of the attractions and sometimes deters visitors to the area, if you are following the safety precautions and following the rules (read all signs carefully) and an extra hint, do talk to locals. You will be safe and know what to do. 

Some of the main things to consider is, do not go into murky waters and definitely do not try night swimming. Other than that, on land you are safe, and you can observe the crocodiles from a safe distance, they are incredible creatures and a connection to a distant past before human’s inhabited this earth. 

Enjoy, stay safe and take in all the beauty this place has to offer, you are going to want to do more than just set your campervan or motorhome here.

Popular routes

Sydney to Cairns

Brisbane to Cairns