Cairns is Australia's unofficial northern capital. Located between the crystal
clear waters of the Coral Sea and the Great Dividing Range and the World Heritage
rainforest area of the Daintree Forest it is superbly situated for adventure
holidays with a difference.
Cairns began in 1876 as a port for inland goldfields and developed into
one of Australia's most cosmopolitan cities. Wide streets and plenty of parks
and gardens and a tropical environment with palms and tropical fruit trees growing
beside the road, give it an unique, laid-back atmosphere which belies the enthusiasm
of its residents. It is among the fastest growing cities in Australia and the
wealth of natural attractions which surround it, and their promotion by the
local tourism operators, have seen a ballooning in visitors to the region.
As the gateway to the Cape York Peninsula, Cairns opens up a host of things
to see and do. Giant anthills, waterfalls, billabongs and wildlife are everywhere.
The rivers and streams are home to the Australian delicacy the 'Barramundi'
a delicious eating fish, and to salt water crocodiles. If you intend to camp
near, or swim in these rivers be careful and seek advice locally. The magnificent
Daintree Forest area of Cape Yorke Peninsula was declared a World Heritage area
The Great Barrier Reef was listed earlier in 1981. The reef is the largest
expanse of living coral on earth and stretches from the Tropic of Capricorn
at Rockhampton to north of the Cape York Peninsula. The underwater reefs, the
islands and cays and the golden beaches make it one of the world's premier natural
attractions. Reef tour operators provide every opportunity to explore every
facet of the reef. Snorkelling, diving, glass-bottom boat cruises and helicopter
or small plane flights show the extent and diverse attraction of the reef.
Behind Cairns, in the Great Dividing Range are the Atherton Tablelands
and the beautiful towns of Atherton and Kuranda. Set high in the rainforest
Kuranda was linked to Cairns by rail over a century ago. The train still meanders
through tunnels and across stilted bridges over ravines to Kuranda and has become
one of the great railway journeys of the world. The markets at Kuranda are famous
for their diversity and value of local art, craft, fashion and produce. The
area around Kuranda is rich in aboriginal culture and traditional legends and
stories are told in dance and song in a theatre owned and run by aboriginals.
The spectacular Barron Falls nearby are a must for photographers and a cruiser
operates on the Barron River.
Cooktown, north of Cairns is a tropical town with a big history. It was
the first place in Australia settled, albeit temporarily, by Europeans. It was
here in 1770 that Captain James Cook stayed for 48 days after holing his ship,
the 'Endeavour', on the reef. Officially founded in 1873 as a port for a goldrush
to the Palmer River, it celebrates two foundation days.
PLACES OF INTEREST:
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Visitor Information Centre
51 The Esplanade, Cairns QLD, 4870
Ph: 07 4051 3588 Fax: 07 4051 0127
HOW TO GET THERE:
- Cairns is the northern end of the Bruce Hwy (1) from Brisbane
- A railway runs between Brisbane and Cairns
- Coaches run to Cairns
- Cairns is an international and domestic airport.