How long should you stay in Cairns?

I knew a few people who had gone to Cairns on their trip to Australia and for the most part they told me that one day in Cairns is enough, so I wrongfully assumed that it was just a tiny place where the only big thing was the Great barrier reef and nothing else.
I should have done my research instead of just relying on word of mouth but what’s done is done. All I can do now is advice others not to assume Cairns is only about the coral. 
There is so much to do depending on your budget and time but some great choices I saw included:

  • Green Island (the cheapest and most popular way to see the barrier reef, I was told there are a lot of Chinese and Japanese tourists there)
  • Daintree Rainforest (the oldest rainforest in the world)
  • Cape Tribulation (where the rainforest and the barrier reef meet, it’s the only place in the world where 2 world heritage sites meet)
  • Kuranda rainforest (you can take the scenic railway and go to the hippy Kuranda village)
  • Hot air ballooning (it’s expensive though)
  • The esplanade (BBQ areas, free swimming pool)
  • Cairns night markets (open every day from 4:30pm-11pm)

Etc, etc

I stayed in Cairns 2 days and 3 nights and had time to go on 2 different tours. One snorkeling in the great barrier reef and another one to see the rain-forest. But I also had a lot of fun walking around in the city itself, there were so many cool places to see and its just a really nice place to go and take walks.
If you walk around the Reef fleet terminal in the evening, you get to see the sun setting and the boats just floating there. By the way…there is a jet sky croc spotting tour…I don’t know if I want to see a crocodile while riding in such a small vessel. LOL

There is also “The Esplanade” where they had BBQ grills in the park so you can gather around your friends and have a barbecue on the beach. Aw, nice! I wish I had friends…
And the esplanade also has a huge pool and the best part is…its free!!!

Walk around and you will find so many ice cream shops! It was the choice of the century but I chose a place with real fruit ice creams. The watermelon one tasted just like a watermelon, seeds and everything included…it was so refreshing!

And last but not least, Cairns night markets. I love night markets. There were food stalls, souvenir shops, hippy clothes stores, summery clothes stores and I couldn’t resist buying this dress…

Oh, and one more thing!
Apparently, Cairns is also Batman’s hometown…kidding but seriously there were so many bats flying at night that I thought it was the end of the world bat attack edition. They fly at sunset in case you feel like watching them. 

All things considered I would recommend to stay in Cairns at least 3 days, at least. And also, do your research, don’t be lazy like me.

Wanderlady

Multilingual acupuncturist travelling the world