Cairns suggestions needed!

Old Nov 2nd, 2022, 08:58 AM
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Cairns suggestions needed!

Myself and my boyfriend are currently planning a 3 week trip along the east coast of Australia and we would love some suggestions for what to do when we are in Cairn's. We would love to see the rainforest and go on a tour of the Great Barrier Reef whilst we are there - Suggestions for GBR tours would be amazing as we will need to book. The Kuranda scenic railway and sky-rail also look great.

We are flying into Cairns from Brisbane on the 15th January and fly to Melbourne on the 19th. We are in our mid 20's and have a low - mid range budget!

Thanks for your help!
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Old Nov 2nd, 2022, 08:34 PM
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We did a day trip to the reef with Quicksilver, that was years ago but they are still operating. The catamarans they use are pretty big which makes the trip out to the reef quicker (I think it took us over an hour) but it does mean as the boats are big, there are more people. There are much smaller boats do similar journeys. On Quicksilver once we reached the pontoon that's moored at the reef, you could snorkel, feed fish, do a helicopter ride, have lunch etc. The pontoon was well set up, they even had cold water showers. https://quicksilver-cruises.com/

You may know already that January is the middle of summer and the wet season in the north. It will be hot and humid and likely wet. There is a section on Quicksilver website about weather conditions. I have heard that if it's raining, the sand is stirred up and vision for snorkelling etc is poor. I noticed you have a low-mid budget, the boat trips out to the reef are pricey but you might be able to find something a bit cheaper in your research.

If you are in Cairns and have wet weather, there is an indoor aquarium that seems popular. Also you can get a local bus to Palm Cove which is a nice small beachside place with lots of eating options. If there is a stinger net in the ocean, make sure to swim within it. Cairns has a lovely, man-made swimming lagoon which is free and great for swimming (no beaches in Cairns).

We did the Kuranda scenic railway a few years ago, caught the train up and the cable-car back down. I preferred the cable-car as the train was packed and there is one small window each side of the carriage for about 8 people to try and look out of and take photos. Take advantage of any stops the train or cable-car make, there are some great views along the way.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2022, 06:05 AM
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Amazing, that is so helpful thank you! I think we have now decided to look into some of the smaller boats for the GBR as they are more flexible as to which reefs they go to depending on weather and visibility. Will definitely choose the Kuranda cable-car over the scenic railway. Thanks for your help!
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Old Nov 3rd, 2022, 06:34 AM
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If you're staying in Cairns, look at Seastar, smaller boat, snorkel only, I think, and the best of the several I've done over the years.

From Port Douglas, Wavelength is quite good.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2022, 07:15 AM
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Thankyou for your advice, the Sea Star trip looks fantastic!
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Old Nov 7th, 2022, 11:01 AM
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You'll have a great trip. As Kay says, I would make sure you're aware of the stingers which can be an issue in the water at that time of year.

Cairns is a reasonable sized town with no beach front but with all the amenities that a larger place provides. If you want the idyllic tropical beach thing, then you should stay north or south on the coast.
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