Beat The Winter Blues Up North!
It may be cooling down around the country but if the change of seasons has you quaking in your Ugg boots, go troppo this winter and head to Cairns. Bird’s fly north for the winter so why can’t you? While the rest of the country shivers away, coastal Cairns and northern Queensland will be basking in tropical sunshine. Think sun, think sand, think snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef…tempted? We’ve explored Cairns to bring you the perfect winter warming itinerary.
Situated at the heart of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is the ‘capital’ of tropical north Queensland. Pulsing with vibrant culture and a relaxed, tropical vibe, everything in Cairns runs on ‘island time’, so if you’re looking to holiday at a more leisurely pace, Cairns is the place to go. This doesn’t mean that Cairns is slow or boring; to the contrary, Cairns offers residents and visitors a vast array of nature-based and adrenalin-fuelled adventures to get the pulse pounding. However, Cairns doesn’t have the frenetic urban energy of Brisbane or Melbourne. And therein lies its charm – Cairns is a place of respite where you can truly getaway from the noise and traffic of city life and let yourself relax into a warm, soporific hug of tropical humidity.
Visitors can expect friendly locals, down to earth bars and excellent food made with fresh, locally-sourced produce. Spend a few days acquainting yourself with Cairns proper; it’s still a city, albeit a small and friendly one, with plenty of restaurants, watering holes and boutique shops to explore. Check out the Cairns Night Markets or The Pier for some fantastic shopping.
There’s accommodation ranging from backpacker to uber luxe; if you’re working to a mid-range budget, there are plenty of apartments or condo-style rentals available at great rates, like the Mediterranean Beach Front Apartments. Short-stay apartments are great for families or groups travelling together; and if you make sure your apartment has a kitchen or kitchenette, you’ll save a bundle on food costs by making some of your own meals. If you’re looking to wrap yourself tropical luxury, there are numerous five star resorts nearby, like Shangri-La on the Marina.
The Great Barrier Reef
Use Cairns as a jumping off point to dive into your exploration of the Great Barrier Reef. Many of the region’s Reef tours leave from Cairns and offer half-day, day or overnight trips to some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world. If you prefer to be on the water rather than in it, hire a boat and take your own tour or head out on a fishing charter.
After a few days in Cairns, you’ll be ready to explore more of coastal northern Queensland, so pack a car and head up the Ocean Road to Port Douglas; with crystalline coastline and a rugged rainforest backdrop, it’s an eco-lovers paradise. For the ultimate in eco-luxury, stay at the Thala Beach Lodge and bask in tropical tranquility. No visit to this region would be complete without a trek through the oldest surviving tropical rainforest in the world – the Daintree.
Go for a bush walk, discover waterfalls and rock pools, zip line through the canopy or stay overnight in a tropical tree house listening to the night chorus of the rainforest. Take yourself on a Daintree self-drive tour to explore all the stunning scenery this natural wonder has to offer.
Something For The Whole Family
Although Cairns and tropical north Queensland are ideal for a relaxing retreat or romantic couple’s holiday, there’s plenty for families to do as well. Not only does Cairns offer you direct access to the Great Barrier Reef, a short drive to the world’s oldest rainforest and a host of adventure tours, it’s also stacked full of other family friendly fun, like the Cairns Lagoon and the Kuranda Scenic Railway.
Cairns has a little bit of something for everyone and it’s never short on sunshine, so shiver off those winter blues, shimmy into your swimmers and head north for a warm winter getaway! Flights to Cairns operate from all Australian capital cities and some regional centres; check out Europcar’s excellent car hire deals as having a car to explore from reef to rainforest is essential. Enjoy the tropical sunshine!