Cairns is a clear highlight of the tour, a unique city in the far north and the launch pad for visitors to the Great Barrier Reef. Once a backwater frontier town, it is today a lively, modern world city bordered by the mountainous rain forest and the Coral Sea. So much of interest is here on your doorstep: the UNESCO Heritage Wet Tropics Rainforest, the endless outback and the magnificent Great Barrier Reef.
The city itself is centred around the Esplanade where the beachfront promenade, seawater lagoon and bars and restaurants create a real holiday buzz. Locals and visitors alike head here for sunset and to relax away from the city centre.
This should be a very special day! We have included in the tour a fantastic cruise out to the Frankland Islands on the Great Barrier Reef, a cluster of small, unspoilt islands with National Park status. The day starts with a river cruise along the Mulgrave River, home to a rich variety of migratory birdlife, before heading out to the Frankland Islands, not far from the river mouth.
Explore above and below water, swimming along the reef and spotting turtles, octopus and clownfish. There’s a glass bottomed boat for amazing views of the reef below and guided snorkelling, with equipment provided, is included, as well as buffet lunch. There’s even a marine biologist who can provide expert guidance to the underwater marvels, including a fantastic abundance of corals and colourful fish, sea turtles, giant clams and sea anemones.
Another special day, with an all inclusive Kuranda tour included in your itinerary. You’ll be taken to the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and greeted by an indigenous guide for an escorted tour of the park, experiencing the ancient culture and heritage and enjoying a buffet lunch.
Afterwards hop on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and glide above the rainforest canopy to Kuranda, stopping on the way at Red Peak station and marvelling at the amazing scenery - dense rainforest dominated by craggy mountains with cascading waterfalls and deep gorges like the sensational Barron Falls Barron Falls station.
Enjoy free time to explore the Village in the Rainforest, and attractions like the Heritage Markets, the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary or Kuranda Koala Gardens (own expense).
Finally, clamber on the Kuranda Scenic Railway to Cairns, and enjoy breathtaking vistas as you trundle through manually excavated tunnels and past incredible waterfalls. The rainforest here, recognised by UNESCO and awarded World Heritage status, is among the oldest in the world. And remarkably, the trains have been chugging along this 34 km track since the pioneer days of 1891. Stop at Barron Gorge to view the falls before arriving at Freshwater station.