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How to Spend 2 Days in Cairns

How to Spend 2 Days in Cairns

With two days in Cairns, you have time to thoroughly explore the city and its surroundings—by water, land, and air—as well as venture deeper into the Great Barrier Reef or Kuranda Rainforest. Here is how to spend two days in the gateway to the tropical north.

Day 1: Explore Cairns from the Sky, Land, and Water

**Morning:**Get your first look at the Great Barrier Reef aboard a scenic flight. Fixed-wing airplanes usually feature all window seating for unobstructed views. Flights typically take 30 to 60 minutes and soar over Green Island, Upolu Cay, and Michaelmas Reef, as well as Cape Grafton, False Cape, Double Island, and Cairns’ Northern Beaches.

**Afternoon:**In the afternoon, embark on a half-day sightseeing tour of Cairns and its surroundings. Guided tours typically visit city attractions such as the Flecker Botanical Gardens and St. Monica's Cathedral. A quicker alternative is to zip around the city on a tour by Segway Ninebot, or you can explore independently by taking a self-guided audio tour.

**Night:**Conclude your evening with a sunset cruise along the Trinity Inlet. Aboard a comfortable catamaran, you can soak up the city and harbor views and enjoy a drink and appetizers. Some cruises offer the option of adding on dinner at one of the city’s top restaurants.

Day 2: Explore the Reef or Rainforest

**Morning:**Get a look at the Great Barrier Reef;s marine life on a diving or snorkeling cruise, which typically leave in the morning, return in late afternoon, and include lunch, although half-day tours may be available. An alternative is to go to Kuranda Rainforest on a full-day tour—you’ll likely take the Kuranda Scenic Railway to Kuranda and visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary before returning to Cairns on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Some tours also include lunch and Aboriginal cultural experiences.

**Afternoon:**If you didn't opt for a full-day tour, take the afternoon to see more of the nature surrounding Cairns. Land-loving adventurous types may want to take an afternoon ATV tour, which offers adventure in the rain forest and gets you places a typical tour won't. Or take the afternoon to visit the Rainforestation Nature Park. 

**Night:**Learn about Aboriginal culture with dinner at Flames of the Forest, an open-air site that features storytelling and live performances. Most tours offer round-trip hotel transfers.

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7 Tours and Activities | All Cairns & the Tropical North Tours

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Great Barrier Reef Luxury Snorkel and Dive Cruise from Cairns

Great Barrier Reef Luxury Snorkel and Dive Cruise from Cairns

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Spend a day on the Great Barrier Reef at two different snorkel and dive sites on this luxury catamaran cruise from Cairns. Travel in style aboard a comfortable catamaran to a mooring off of Upolu Cay. Take a glass-bottom boat to Upolu Cay, then have time to snorkel or scuba dive. Refuel with a buffet lunch on board the catamaran before heading to your next destination, for more water time, including a guided snorkeling tour.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$167.40
From
$167.40
Taking safety measures

Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Cruise from Cairns

Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Cruise from Cairns

star-4.5
If snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef is on your bucket list, don’t miss this day trip from Cairns. The 35-metre superyacht, Evolution, departs Cairns with a record 5 hours spent exploring 2 spectacular and exclusive outer Great Barrier Reef locations for an adventure-filled day! You’ll visit 2 different locations on the barrier reef for the chance to see tropical marine life in the clear waters. Lunch is included onboard the boat, and you have the option to upgrade to include additional adventures such as introductory or certified scuba diving or a helicopter flight over this UNESCO World Heritage site. Both water sports enthusiasts and novices are welcome. Includes instruction and equipment provided by friendly and professional instructors.
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$129.37
From
$129.37
Taking safety measures

Kuranda Scenic Railway Day Trip from Cairns

Kuranda Scenic Railway Day Trip from Cairns

star-4.5
Explore the lush beauty, amazing wildlife and rich heritage of Tropical North Queensland on this customizable full-day trip to Kuranda from Cairns. Travel to this enchanting rain forest village aboard the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway, and choose from a variety of activities including visits to the Tjupakai Aboriginal Cultural Park and Rainforestation Nature Park. Hang out with koalas and exotic birds, browse local markets and opt to include a delicious buffet lunch. At the end of the day, glide through the treetops back to Cairns on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$135.90
From
$135.90
Taking safety measures

Best of Kuranda Including Skyrail, Kuranda Scenic Railway and Rainforestation

Best of Kuranda Including Skyrail, Kuranda Scenic Railway and Rainforestation

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Experience the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kuranda Rainforest on a full-day tour from Cairns. Take the Kuranda Scenic Railway to Kuranda where you first visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, the largest flight aviary in Australia. Tour the Rainforestation Nature Park in an amphibious Army Duck vehicle, then see koalas, dingoes and more at the Koala and Wildlife Park. Take a dreamtime walk with a Pamagirri guide for the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience, then feast on an Australian barbecue buffet lunch. Finally, return to Cairns on the scenic Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$206.06
From
$206.06

Cairns City Sights and Surrounds Tour

Cairns City Sights and Surrounds Tour

star-4.5
First time in Cairns? Discover the gateway to Queensland’s tropical north on this 5.5-hour sightseeing tour. Visit city attractions like the Flecker Botanical Gardens and St Monica's Cathedral, and stroll along the scenic Cairns waterfront. Indulge in a delicious Devonshire afternoon tea (included) taking in the stunning views from the jetty at Palm Cove before taking a short hike through the Barron Gorge National Park. For the full experience, upgrade to include a 2-hour morning cruise to Green Island in the UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef marine park. This small-group tour is limited to 20 people.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$69.14
From
$69.14
Taking safety measures

30-Minute Great Barrier Reef Scenic Flight from Cairns

30-Minute Great Barrier Reef Scenic Flight from Cairns

star-5
Enjoy incredible views of the Great Barrier Reef from the air during a 30-minute scenic flight from Cairns. See highlights such as Green Island, Upolu Cay, Oyster Reef, Arlington Reef, Vlassof Reef and Michaelmas Reef, taking in the sights as your guide points out the landmarks below. You also fly over Cape Grafton, False Cape, Double Island and Palm Cove and other Northern Beaches, with the route changing depending on the day’s conditions. Everyone has a window seat, allowing unobstructed viewing of this UNESCO World Heritage-listed natural wonder.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$156.03
From
$156.03
Taking safety measures

Cairns Self-Guided Audio Tour

Cairns Self-Guided Audio Tour

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Explore Cairns at your own pace and make your own schedule on this self-guided audio tour. Download the entertainingly narrated tour and begin whenever you like. Wander along the Esplanade Lagoon while listening to stories about the impact of war and the Gold Rush on the region. Admire indigenous artwork at the Jungara Gallery while listening to background information about the Aboriginal peoples and even visit a rooftop wildlife center.
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  • 1 to 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$16.11
From
$16.11
Taking safety measures