Must- dos in the lush tropical north
If you get the chance to explore this city, take it, writes Madeline Healy
WHENwe finally touch down in Cairns after what should be a quick, painless 21/ hour flight, it is to the great relief of just about every passenger on flight DJ779.
Flying with a one-year-old and a three-year-old is not all it is cracked up to be. In fact, I don’t think it’s cracked up to be anything. Especially not a whole barrel of laughs.
Desperate to get off the plane and into the fresh air, we race through the airport, which is being refurbished, and arrive at our hotel, the Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, less than an hour after touchdown.
That is one of the benefits of Cairns. It is a city with plenty of shops, hotels and restaurants to choose from, but without the build-up of traffic suffered in other centres.
Many travellers to north Queensland bypass the city, opting to head straight for Palm Cove and Port Douglas. But it is a handy central point for exploring the reef and the
The first is the ever-popular Skyrail, which takes visitors over the top of 7.5km of rainforest to the town of Kuranda. The six-person gondola cabins offer great views of the Coral Sea and the rainforest, and friendly rangers take guided tours at the two stop-off points of Red Peak and Barron Falls.
We visited on a windy, wet day but that simply added to the excitement of being suspended over the rainforest watching the birds flit in and out of the trees. And while Kuranda may not be the hot spot of north Queensland, it is a pretty town to visit.
Another must is a boat trip to one of the islands within easy reach of the Cairns harbour. We visited Green Island on one of Great Adventures’ huge catamarans, which operate numerous reef tours.
Green Island is a 6000-year-old coral cay 27km from Cairns. The catamaran takes 45 minutes to reach the island, which features thick rainforest and is surrounded by coral reef, interesting fish and nice swimming beaches.
There are 126 native plant species on the island and plenty of birds eager to eat the lunch crumbs.
Once on the island, guests are welcome to use the resort pool and check out the beach on the quieter side of the island.
CORAL CAY: Spend a day at Green Island. Picture: Tourism Queensland