THE BEST 17 THINGS TO DO IN CAIRNS REGION, QLD – TOP LIST
Find below the best things to do in the Cairns region, Queensland, Australia. Drive to the best stops or discover the best waterfall hikes in the Cairns region and tablelands. Written by Mau, a Senior Digital Marketing Specialist at eDigital.
THE BEST 17 THINGS TO DO IN CAIRNS REGION, QLD – TOP LIST
Below I have listed the best things to do and top places to visit around the Cairns region and tablelands.
NUMBER 17: SLEEP IN RAVENSHOE – THE HIGHEST TOWN IN QUEENSLAND
Ravenshoe is the coldest town in Qld. You pass there to check out the Big Millstream falls ( the widest waterfall in Australia) or the popular Tully Gorge and Tully Falls. You can only access the waterfall lookout ( 10 min walk) from the car park. Officially there is no access to the waterfall to go for a swim. Another option is to drive 2 hours south-west of Ravenshoe and visit the secluded Blencoe falls which is part of the Kirrama National park.
NUMBER 16: VISIT ATHERTON TOWN
I went to Atherton just with the only purpose to hike Yabi mountain (great hike) and visit the Tolga bat hospital. Unfortunately, the bat hospital was closed, so I will have to go back. You can also visit also the lookout at the Hallorns Hill Conservation park for a great sunset spot in Atherton. Bring food to the lookout, there is nothing nearby the lookout to buy food from.
NUMBER 15: EXPLORE LAKE EACHAM & YUNGABURRA
Yungaburra is a small, well-presented little town in the south end of Lake Tinaroo. I parked my van in a random street and it was all good. Great stop for visiting Lake Eacham where you can swim at one of the deepest volcanic lakes in the whole of the Australian continent. The lake also offers a walking/running trail around which is fun to complete. If you are a good runner a lap may take you only 20 minutes, so you can easily do 2-3 for a great workout. Nearby Yungaburra, you can also enjoy the “Instagram” famous big fig tree at the Curtain Fig National Park.
Tip: Watch platypus. there is a hostel nearby Yungaburra with a creek with platypuses. I do not remember the name but you can Google it.
NUMBER 14: VISIT THE WATERFALLS BETWEEN MAREEBA AND KURANDA
You will love this part of the Cairns Tablelands if you love hiking and chasing waterfalls. Visit Emerald creek waterfalls, Davies creek waterfalls and the Dinden West Forest Reserve. Once in Kuranda go to the top of the Barron Falls, there are some places you can jump to the waterholes there (at the top of the fall). Kuranda is full of souvenir shops with mainly Chinese-made rubbish but you may get lucky to find some locally produced stuff at the popular Kuranda Original market.
NUMBER 13: ENJOY THE LOCAL IVAN EVANS HIKE
This is the closest hike you can get from the Cairns city centre. I have even walked it from the city centre to the start of this trail but probably you are not that keen as it may take more than an hour walk just to get to the start of the hike. You get nice views of Cairns city plus you may see some random goannas (if lucky) and some downhill mountain bikers enjoying the bike trails. Ivan Evans is certainly a very quiet local stop, you do not see the tourists from packaged tour companies here.
NUMBER 12: SWIM AT HARTLEYS CREEK
Lovely spot for Cairns locals in the north of Cairns via Port Douglas. The easy hike to the waterfall is around 50 min one way. Generally quiet, you may see more people during the weekends.
NUMBER 11: HIKE WALSHS PYRAMID – THE WORLD’S HIGHEST NATURAL PYRAMID
The hike to Walshs Pyramid (apparently the highest natural pyramid mountain in the world) is a great half-day thing to do outside Cairns. I did it at midday (not recommended, too hot). You are smarter than me and you will do it at 5 pm during a full moon night or early in the morning (3 am) to catch the sunrise from the top.
NUMBER 10: ENJOY CLAMSHELL FALLS AT BEHANA GORGE
Love this place, it is an easy 40 min walk to the falls, worth the trip.
NUMBER 9: CAMP AT THE GOLDSBOROUGH VALLEY CAMPGROUND
Lovely campground, book in advance, lovely river. The is a track to some waterfalls and boulders, the hike is short, maybe around 20 minutes but worth it.
NUMBER 8: HAVE FUN AT POPULAR BABINDA BOULDERS
Lovely spot for families with small kids, the river is shallow, fun water slides.
NUMBER 7: ENJOY THE WATERSLIDES AT JOSEPHINE FALLS
Josephine falls is a dream place for anyone. Awesome falls with boulders, kids love this place. Expect this place extremely busy during the weekend with families.
NUMBER 6: HAVE FUN AT STONEY CREEK
A popular spot to enjoy for Cairns locals as it takes few minutes to get here. worth the trip if you are already in Cairns and do not want to drive too far. From Stoney Creek, you can hike to Glacier Rock lookout (approx a 2-hour return hike) which offers nice views of Cairns and the ocean. There is also a hiking trail from Stoney Creek to Kuranda ( I have not done it yet, still on my bucket list).
NUMBER 5: HIKE THE GLACIER ROCK CIRCUIT
A lovely one-day hike I did with a hiking group. I am not really sure where we started this hike but worth it.
NUMBER 4: REFRESH AT CRYSTAL CASCADES
Another popular spot to enjoy if you are in Cairns and do not want to drive too far. I love the hike to Lake Morris (40 min one way at a good pace – steep climb) and then go come back to Crystal cascades for a swim. Expect tons of noisy teenagers here. If you want something quieter, walk from the car parking to the Fairy Falls (easy walk maybe 10-15 min one way) following the creek.
NUMBER 3: ENJOY THE SECLUDED NANDROYA WATERFALL
The Henrietta campground is the best stopover to enjoy the waterfalls in the south area of the Cairns tableland: Milla Milla Waterfalls, Nandroya waterfalls, Wallicher Falls, Tchupalla Falls, Ellinjaa Falls, Zillie Falls, McKenzie Falls, Dinner Falls, Halls Falls. My fav is for sure Nandroya falls, quiet and with a massive waterhole, you can even do some lap swimming and burn all your calories.
NUMBER 2: HIKE TO “INSTAGRAM” FAMOUS WINDIN WATERFALLS
This is the Instagram selfie “queen” of all waterfalls in the Cairns Tablelands. Expect plenty of wanna-be Instagram celebrities posing with their bikini trying to get the perfect selfy. Windin Falls requires a nice, easy one-hour hike (one way) to get to the top of the waterfall. For experienced hikers there is a way to go to the bottom of the waterfall, you will need to google it and do proper research before attempting that adventure. Caution: check the water current before attempting to get into the waterhole right next to the fall drop, it can get quite strong.
NUMBER 1: HIKE MOUNT BARTLE FRERE, THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN QLD
Josephine falls is one of the starting points to hike to Mount Bartle Frere (The highest peak in Qld at 1622 mt). This a 2-day hike (camp overnight) level 6 hike for experienced hikers.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- The only reliable internet connection in most places is Telstra, the rest will be crap, account for that.
- If you are a digital nomad – like me -, before you start your trip get all your marketing automation ready. I would suggest using Mailchimp
- If you are sick sleeping in your van, you may want to book an Airbnb and support a local – better than paying expensive hotels.
- It will be difficult to play football while travelling in Qld. If Diego Maradona was doing this trip, he may have died from suicide. Still bring the ball and good luck, you may find a human soul ready to kick the ball with you.
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Mau is a Senior Digital Marketing Specialist with 15+ years helping clients solve their digital marketing challenges. Mau is a certified Facebook & Adwords Professional, Certified SEO Consultant and industry speaker. Mau trains marketers via Strategy Workshops & Training Sessions inc his popular Digital Marketing Plan & Social Media Plan templates. Subscribe to Mau’s e-newsletter connect on LinkedIn Instagram Facebook