Tropical North Queensland
The city of Cairns is the gateway to the Rainforest, beaches and stunning natural beauty that is Tropical North Queensland and with around 300 days of sunshine a year, a fantastic holiday destination.
The best time to visit is during the dry season of May to October when the temperatures are roughly 26 during the day, the humidity is lower and there is less chance of a tropical rainstorm. You are less likely to encounter the jellyfish (stingers) or crocodiles that call Australia home; of course, this means there will be an influx of tourists as well.
Generally, travellers head up to Port Douglas which is about an hour north or the beaches of Palm Cove, about halfway between the two. You can pre-book transfers from Cairns Airport or you may want to consider hiring a car if you are planning on seeing more than the Great Barrier Reef as the roads are good and the driving is easy. There is a huge range of accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes.
Port Douglas is a bustling little town with lashings of restaurants, sightseeing and a great place to base a stay. Most Tour Companies will collect you from your hotel for sightseeing activities wherever you choose to stay, and take you to the most popular attractions of Great Barrier Reef, Kuranda Village, Cape York and the Daintree Rainforest.
There are practically unlimited choices for things to do and there is something for everyone from reef walks, snorkelling, kayaking, Butterfly Sanctuary, history, sailing, hot air ballooning, Zoos and the Rainforest, the list goes on and on. I found some of the sightseeing reasonably pricy in this region and if you are travelling on a budget, you will need to be choosy about the activities that really take your fancy.
Great Barrier Reef is an unequalled marvel and not to be missed. There are numerous tours departing each day from several places along the coast and you may want to spend more than one day there. Once again the options are endless for activities on under or above the water and if you do nothing else make sure this is on your to do list.
Another unique experience was the historic Kurunda Scenic Railway. You will need to have your camera at the ready as the train meanders its way through the spectacular Rainforest rising up to Kuranda Village. You could easily spend several hours at the village with its many offerings including cafes, markets, shopping, a Butterfly Sanctuary, walking trails and a nature park among other things. I chose to return on the Skyrail Forest Cableway; an unforgettable journey gliding along above the rainforest taking in the incredible views. There are a couple of stops on the way giving you a chance to discover life in the Rainforest and offering guided tours along the boardwalks and a Rainforest Interpretation Centre.
Whether you are after a fly & flop, a thrill seeking adventure or a mixture of both Tropical North Queensland should suit (almost) everyone.