THINGS TO DO IN CAIRNS


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches 99 Grafton Street Cairns

Ninety-nine Grafton Street is one of the last remaining structures directly associated with the former Cairns Chinatown. Curiously it is currently occupied by a Greek café, indicating the multicultural nature of Queensland society. One of the early landholders here was Andrew Leon owner of the Hap Wah sugar plantation which he sold in 1886, (purchasing land in Cairns). The Chinese precinct had humble beginnings and was not an homogenous community. It included residents from different cultural districts in China. Chinatown included boarding houses, gaming houses, opium dens and merchant stores. Andrew Leon built four shops on this property in 1892, leasing to merchants Lee Yan Kee. Lee Yan brought his wife from China in 1895 and in 1896 Mrs Lee Yan gave birth to a son. He was the first Chinese Australian child born in Cairns. At the same time, the Lit Sung Goong Temple was built adjacent to number 99. This shop at 99 Grafton Street had numerous owners including cane farmer Frank Lee Chin, and intermittently operated as a brothel from 1903 until 1932. Chinese shopkeepers and female tenants remained there until the end of World War Two. The adjacent temple was demolished in 1964.


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Admiralty Dive Site

Located at the southern entrance of the Osprey Reef lagoon, Admiralty is named after a large anchor wedged into a gutter at this wonderful dive site. Admiralty is a maze of gutters, ridges and bommies in depths from 10 metres to 30 metres. This terrain offers shelter to sleeping whitetip reef sharks and tawny nurse sharks, but divers are also likely to encounter moray eels, crayfish, stingrays and lionfish. Pelagic fish patrol these gutters as well, so keep an eye out for trevally, rainbow runners, batfish and mackerel. The sandy bottom at Admiralty is also worth exploring, as not only are shrimp gobies common here, but there is a resident colony of garden eels. Admiralty is also a popular site for charter boats to anchor overnight and makes for a great night dive. Whitetip reef sharks and moray eels can be seen looking for a meal, and also on the prowl are lionfish and octopus. Other species seen at night include flatworms, shrimps, crabs and parrotfish wrapping in their sleeping bag cocoons.

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Around The Bend Dive Site

A bend in the reef at Osprey Reef gave this site its name, and it is well worth going Around The Bend at this exciting dive site. Often washed by currents, so generally done as a drift dive, Around The Bend is a plateau at the top of the reef wall with gutters, ridges and bommies to explore in depths to 30 metres. The main feature of the site is a pretty bommie covered in soft corals and gorgonians. A cleaning station, this bommie attracts every fish in the neighbourhood for a daily clean, including passing manta rays. This is the best site to observe graceful manta rays at Osprey Reef, and when getting cleaned they hover over the bommie for minutes at a time, allowing divers to closely inspect them. Around The Bend is also a good site to see reef sharks, pelagic fish and turtles.

 

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Bougainville Reef Dive Site

Bougainville Reef is a small reef in the Northern Coral Sea surrounded by some amazing dive sites. Only four kilometres in diameter, and offering no shelter in rough weather, Bougainville Reef is usually only dived on a stop-off between other reefs in this remote area. Wall diving is the name of the game at Bougainville Reef, with walls plunging into one kilometre offering exciting diving. Decorating these walls are spectacular corals – giant soft corals, red whip corals, wide gorgonian fans and black coral trees. Cruising these walls are large pelagic fish like barracuda, trevally, tuna and mackerel, and often following them are grey reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks and silvertip sharks. Many caves, gutters and ledges are also found at Bougainville Reef, so take a torch to explore these darker recesses. There is also a shipwreck to investigate at Bougainville Reef, with the broken up remains of the MV Antonia Tarabocchia scattered in depths from 6 metres to 18 metres.

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Cairns Aquarium

Cairns Aquarium is Australia’s newest and most spectacular aquarium. It is the only aquarium in the world to exclusively showcase the stunning aquatic wildlife from tropical North Queensland’s two World Heritage listed areas – the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest. Travel through 10 amazing North Queensland ecosystems from the world’s most ancient rainforest to the world’s largest coral reef to discover 71 different exhibits showcasing the extremely rare and incredibly unique species of this region. Endangered Freshwater Sawfish, Grey Reef Sharks and Humphead Maori Wrasse dominate the massive fresh water and marine habitats while the Amethystine Python and Boyd’s Forest Dragon make a spectacle of themselves in their treetop displays. Add to this a panorama of wildlife and marine fish that create an underwater world filled with a kaleidoscope of colour. Enjoy daily talks and presentations by knowledgeable and entertaining educators, marvel at the animal feeding sessions and get a hands-on experience at the marine and terrestrial touch tanks. Complete your day at Cairns Aquarium with breakfast, lunch or dinner at Aqualuna restaurant. Open 365 days of the year, experience the spectacular diversity                                                                                 of the region without the need to get wet or even leave the city.


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Cairns Museum

The Cairns Museum has amazing stories to share about living in the tropics. Stories of heat, sweat and hard work. Of cane, railways, rainforests and reefs. Of White Australia, Aboriginal resistance and European isolation. Tales of tourists, hippies and local celebrations, amidst humidity, cyclones, toads, mould and mozzies. Come in and discover the real Cairns! After two years of refurbishment and renovation, and an injection of AUD1.6 million dollars, the Cairns Museum is making waves in the tourism industry.

 

 

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Cairns War Memorial

Time now stands still but years ago, the Cairns' war memorial kept the far northern city's population punctual. The clock tower on which a soldier statue stands-unique in Queensland-was unveiled on ANZAC Day 1926, 15 months after the foundation stone was laid, at the intersection of Abbott and Shield streets. Costing £2,074, it was the most expensive of soldier statues and the third most costly WWI memorial in Queensland, satisfying not only a desire for a substantial memorial that grabbed public attention but also a long-felt need for a public clock. Marble honour rolls bear 142 locals' names from WWI, including two women. The memorial was relocated in 1972, to The Esplanade, fronting Trinity Bay, opposite the Cairns RSL. At that time, the clock faces were replaced by painted replicas, each set at 4.28, when the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli commenced on the morning of 25 April 1915. A 1940 field gun and an 1887 naval gun now flank the 10.27 metre high memorial.

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Challenger Bay Dive Site

Divers that love to watch fish, and plenty of them, will have a great time exploring Challenger Bay. Located on Ribbon Reef No.10, north of Cairns, Challenger Bay is a picturesque sandy bay dotted with small bommies and lovely coral gardens. Home to dozens of cleaning stations, divers will see the fish queueing up to be cleaned at these service points; including sweetlips, triggerfish, coral trout, rock cods and angelfish. Schooling fish tend to gather at Challenger Bay and it is common to see trevally, barracuda, snappers and humphead parrotfish. Challenger Bay is a brilliant dive site where you will also see reef sharks, stingrays, cuttlefish, Maori wrasse, moray eels, nudibranchs and a large colony of garden eels.

 

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Clam Gardens Dive Site

The name kind of gives it away, but divers will see a number of giant clams while exploring the Clam Gardens. Located on the Ribbon Reefs, north of Cairns, the giant clams at the Clam Gardens are set in a very pretty coral garden, dominated by a range of healthy hard and soft corals. This site is home to an abundance of reef fish, including angelfish, butterflyfish, lionfish, rabbitfish, trumpetfish, rock cods and many others. Numerous invertebrate species are also common at this site; divers will find octopus, cuttlefish, sea stars and many colourful nudibranchs. Larger species found at the Clam Gardens include Maori wrasse, barracuda and giant moray eels.

 

 

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Cod Hole Dive Site

Possibly the most well-known dive site in the world can be found roughly 96 kilometres north of Cairns, at Cod Hole. Part of the string of long narrow Ribbon Reefs, Cod Hole is home to a group of very friendly potato cod, reaching up to 100 kilograms, that have become accustomed to divers over the past 30 years. The giant fish approach quite closely, and can be hand fed at the site. Many other large and small reef fish populate this site, and during the winter months you may even be photobombed by a dwarf minke whale – they have been known to linger around for encounters with snorkelers and divers for hours. Local dive operators do offer trips that aim to maximise these encounters, as well as dive some of the other outstanding sites in the area.

 

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Coral Gardens Dive Site, Flynn Reef

Positioned 20 kilometres east of Green Island off the Cairns coast, Flynn Reef is home to several dive sites - with the Coral Gardens being just one of them. Located on the outer reef this site has consistently good visibility of close to 30 metres. Its location also invites visits from large pelagic fish such as dogtooth tuna, mackerel and barracuda, as well as a range of species of shark, especially whitetip reef sharks. This picturesque site is also home to a great variety of colourful reef fish, including coral cod, butterflyfish, parrotfish, wrasse, rabbitfish and sweetlips. Flynn Reef offers a combination of diving, from dramatic wall dives to intricate hard coral formations, such as found at the Coral Gardens.

 

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches False Entrance Dive Site

A large bay cutting into the reef edge at Osprey Reef, which looks like another lagoon entry point, gave this site its name of False Entrance. This bay has gutters and bommies for divers to explore in depths to 30 metres, before coming to a wall that drops into the abyss. Exploring this bay, divers will encounter whitetip reef sharks, turtles, Maori wrasse, moray eels and a good variety of reef fish. A large school of bigeye trevally usually gather in the bay and often circle spellbound divers. Divers venturing to the reef edge and peering into the blue will generally be rewarded with views of grey reef sharks, silvertip sharks, mackerel, dogtooth tuna and make a manta ray.

 

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Fish Bowl Dive Site

Divers wanting to encounter a great variety of reef fish are highly recommended to visit the Fish Bowl. This lovely dive site is located off Cairns and situated on the western side of Hastings Reef. The terrain at Fish Bowl is a mix of coral gardens and coral heads that form a bowl shape, but divers will also find gutters, ledges and walls in depths to 18 metres. Many pretty hard corals are found at the site and pushing up between them are a good collection of giant clams. While divers will see sea stars, nudibranchs, featherstars and many other invertebrate species, the fish are the highlight of this dive. Schools of goatfish, snappers, parrotfish and fusiliers swarm around the reef, and also common are gropers, sweetlips, batfish, coral trout, lionfish and blue spotted lagoon rays. Turtles and reef sharks also frequent this wonderful dive site.

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Jorgey's Patch Dive Site

Accessible on a day trip from Cairns, Jorgey’s Patch features a variety of terrains for divers to explore, including bommies, ridges, gutters and ledges. In depths between 10 and 25 metres divers will find an abundance of reef fish on this reef, including fusiliers, angelfish, wrasses, anemonefish and rock cods. If you have the time you should check out every nook and cranny, as you are likely to find nudibranchs, boxfish, lionfish, moray eels, gobies, blennies, flatworms and maybe a wobbegong shark. Whitetip reef sharks and blue spotted lagoon rays are also seen at this pretty dive site.

 

 

 

 


 

CAIRNS TOURS


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Adventure North Australia

Adventure North Australia operate purpose built four-wheel drive tours to Cooktown, and is North Queensland's leading Indigenous Tour operator. A small dedicated team they offer a wide range of small group, one, two and three day tour packages. An epic four wheel drive journey through the world Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest to historical Cooktown. Travel the four wheel drive only Bloomfield Track, cross rivers and mountain ranges through remote countryside. Have a beer at the Lions Den Pub, one of Queensland's oldest bush pubs before arriving in the unspoilt historical coastal township of Cooktown. Return journey is through the outback of Far North Queensland following the Great Dividing Range. Adventure North Australia offers a unique Aboriginal cultural experience in conjunction with Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours and Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre. On the Daintree Dreaming Day Tour you will learn traditional hunting and gathering techniques which will take you from coast to rainforest, experiencing natural beauty and ancient culture of the Kuku Yalanji Rainforest people of Tropical North Queensland Tours operate from Cairns and Port Douglas. They look forward to welcoming you on board.


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Bad Fishy Jet Boating Cairns

Bad Fishy operates the thrilling "Tropical Twist" ride on The Trinity Inlet in Cairns. With spins, slides, speed and the stunning sights of Cairns it's loads of fun! Expect to get wet and have lots of laughs as your local skipper takes you on the 35 minute adventure. Hold on as the music pumps and gets your adrenaline flowing. The ride also allows you to explore the stunning Trinity Inlet and observe its beauty. It is stunning and their Captain will give you some interesting information on the region on your ride. 

 

 

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises

Green Island is a beautiful coral cay on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel, dive and swim in the warm island waters, view the spectacular reef from a semi-submarine or glass bottom boat, explore the island or just relax on the white sandy beach. Big Cat departs from Cairns three times daily. Available activities include snorkelling, semi-submarine and glass bottom boat coral viewing tours, buffet lunch and free time to explore Green Island National Park. A range of optional activities are also on offer including diving, helmet diving, beach hire, Marineland Melanesia Nautical Museum and an underwater observatory. Their Vessels "Big Cat" and "Reef Rocket" are modern air-conditioned catamarans offering the ultimate in comfort and features spacious interior cabins as well as the outside decks to enjoy the warm tropical climate.

 

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises

Green Island is a beautiful coral cay on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel, dive and swim in the warm island waters, view the spectacular reef from a semi-submarine or glass bottom boat, explore the island or just relax on the white sandy beach. Big Cat departs from Cairns three times daily. Available activities include snorkelling, semi-submarine and glass bottom boat coral viewing tours, buffet lunch and free time to explore Green Island National Park. A range of optional activities are also on offer including diving, helmet diving, beach hire, Marineland Melanesia Nautical Museum and an underwater observatory. Their Vessels "Big Cat" and "Reef Rocket" are modern air-conditioned catamarans offering the ultimate in comfort and features spacious interior cabins as well as the outside decks to enjoy the warm tropical climate.

 

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Hot Air Balloon Cairns

More visitors and locals choose to fly with Hot Air Balloon Cairns by far, than anywhere in Australia, so don't miss out, come along and experience it for yourself. See the fleet of balloons float up up and away in the wide open blue skies where the temperate climate is perfectly suited to ballooning. Offering a wide choice of tours, full refunds, flexible free drop-offs to Kuranda and Palm Cove as well as connections to Reef tours, available seven days a week. Original. Trusted. Professional and Australia's favourite ride. This is the ultimate scenic experience in the tropics! Only these balloon rides take off every day and truly, one of Australia's best kept secrets. Remember, book well in advance come flying with Australia's most popular balloon ride, as do visitors from over 50 countries that enjoy flights daily. Start your day by watching the sun rise over the rolling hills of the majestic Atherton Tablelands then experience your first balloon ride. Enjoy the 360 degree panorama, before coming gently back to earth. Afterwards, there's pack up games, free wi-fi, then drive back through the rainforest. Door to door transfers are included or connect after ballooning to Kuranda or the Reef.


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Mandingalbay Yidinji Ecocultural Tours

Mandingalbay Yidinji Eco Cultural Tours is 100 per cent owned and operated by the Mandingalbay Yidinji People. Mandingalbay Yidinji Eco Cultural Tours launched in 2015 following negotiations with the Queensland State Government Department of Parks, Sports and Racing to undertake commercial tours within Grey Peaks National Park. The product delivery is focused on Mandingalbay Yidinji people, culture and country and sharing their rich traditional history with local, domestic and international visitors. In addition to their three hour Eco Cultural Tours, Mandingalbay Yidinji Eco Tours also offers up to three night stays on Mandingalbay Yidinji traditional country, venues for conferences, half day to full day walking tours and open to developing packages to suit and/or accommodate their guests' requirements.

 

 

 


Cairns Holiday Accommodation - Cairns Holiday Collection Cairns Beaches Food Trail Tours

Food Trail Tours has been offering paddock (farm) to plate experiences for over 15 years. Therefore, they are the most experienced food and wine tour operator in Tropical North Queensland. Tours operate throughout the year, using a spacious, 20 seat, air-conditioned vehicle with large windows. Comprehensive plantation tours allow you hear the stories behind the foods, and taste the final products. The Atherton Tablelands Food, Wine and Rainforest Tour travels through Rainforest and and other dry sections of the World Heritage Wet Tropics.