Cairns, 1703 km north of
Brisbane, is the perfect starting point for exploring Far North
Queensland. The coastal attractions include the magnificent
Barrier Reef and, further north, the tropical beaches of the Marlin Coast. Inland
you will find the rainforests and plains of the Atherton Tableland and the
Gulf savanna. To the north lie the lush Daintree National Park and the
varied wet-tropics landscape of Cape York.
In Cairns hostels can help you make travel arrangements to visit all of these major attractions.
the railway line from
Brisbane was terminated at Cairns, Cairns then
became the major city in North
Queensland. It has grown at a phenomenal
rate since 1979, with many new suburbs appearing as if by magic -its
population is now 101,000.
The city itself mixes grand colonial architecture, old pubs and high-set
Queenslander style homes with modern shopping malls and apartment blocks.
In the early days Cairns and
Port Douglas were great rivals but in 1924,
The city is a major tourist destination for overseas travellers,
especially since the opening of the Cairns International Airport. It is
also a popular holiday destination for Australians wanting to experience
this part of their own country. Accommodation ranges from the luxury
island resorts and five star hotels to rainforest retreats, family units,
camping and caravan parks to backpacker hostels. There is a stunning array
of things to see and do in Cairns. Explore the deserted mining towns and
the small isolated communities that still service the mining and pastoral
industries. Take a trip out to the
Great Barrier Reef for snorkelling,
scuba diving, swimming or just admiring the myriad life forms and
fascinating colours of the coral.
The Kuranda Scenic Rail ride up the range west of Cairns goes through
tunnels, over bridged ravines and past the
Barron Gorge waterfalls,
arriving at the station of Kuranda, reputed to be the prettiest railway
station in the country. The Kuranda markets are famous for their variety
and quality. Also, there is a 7.5 km trip to Kuranda on the Skyrail, the
world's longest gondola cableway, which rides above the World Heritage
rainforest canopy, with spectacular views of the Coral Sea beaches, cane
fields and the mountains.
Other activities include whitewater rafting down the Tully River, a
thrilling hot-air balloon flight at sunrise, a 4WD safari through the
rugged outback country, or a Tiger Moth or helicopter sightseeing ride
over spectacular waterfalls and rainforests. The Australian Woolshed puts
on shearing and working sheep dog demonstrations, and Barron Gorge Power
Station, an underground hydro-electric power station, is open for tours.
The future of Cairns seems well assured, with the tourist industry
continuing to grow, the $100 million Sherga RAAF Base near Weipa currently
under construction, the multi-million dollar Tully Millstream
hydro-electric scheme and the possibility of the Cape York Space Station
project finally becoming a reality. Cairns' main annual festival, 'Fun in
the Sun', is held every year in October.