A majority of all visitors to Cairns are more than likely on their way to witnessing the Great Barrier Reef, and who can blame them? One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the reef is an awe-inspiring destination worth a globe-spanning trek.
But, before jetting out into the sea to snorkel and swim, take a moment to appreciate some of the lesser-known, but equally stunning Cairns sights. Read on for just a few examples of what to discover besides the reef.
Deep within the lush rainforest of the Barron Gorge National Park is the ever-winding Barron River—a thread of water cutting through the sea of mist-shrouded greenery. That is until it reaches the edge of the Atherton Tablelands and descends down to the Cairns coastal plain—resulting in a waterfall unmatched in grandeur this side of Niagara. But, be warned: the waterfall’s intensity is directly correlated to the season. While a visit during the wet season lends itself to witnessing raging falls, the dry season provides a comparative trickle in this leader of Cairns sights.
As stunning as the picturesque nature is, recognizing the intricacies of the indigenous culture that predates the colonization of Australia opens you up to a world certain to enthrall: such is the case with the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. With a showcasing of the traditions and customs of the local Djabugay people—a culture dating back over 40,000 years—a day of discovery feels like a substantial departure from the Australia you’ve experienced thus far. While discovering the Djabugay’s story of creation is as captivating as the boomerang- and spear-throwing demonstrations are, the best part is in knowing that your visitation is directly benefitting the modern-day local Indigenous community.
Off the coast of Cairns is Green Island, a small oasis in the midst of the Great Barrier Reef. While the shores provide scenic sands for a traditional beach day, heading into the trees will bring you to the closest thing to a real-life Jurassic Park: The Marineland Melanesia. Home to over 50 crocodiles as well as aquariums full of corals and tropical fish, the main attraction is a croc named Cassius.
Formally recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest crocodile in the world (in captivity at least), Cassius is 18 feet in length, weighs over 2,200 pounds and is estimated to be over 110 years old. To put it in perspective, the shark from “Jaws” was 25 feet—Cassius is only an NBA player in length away from being the scaly equivalent. Luckily, crocodiles have negligible senescence—meaning that they essentially don’t age—so with some patience, this growing boy could be that size by the next century. Watching a two-thousand-pound crocodile launch out of the water like a surface-to-air missile during feeding time is one of the Cairns sights you will never, ever forget.
Wish to see some of the stunning Cairns sights while you tour the Australian coast? Make sure you make the most of your time relaxing by speaking with one of our travel agents ahead of time. Their specialized knowledge, industry expertise and professional relationships with world-renowned cruise lines like Crystal Cruises make planning a vacation as relaxing as a beach day.