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How to Spend 2 Days in Cairns

How to Spend 2 Days in Cairns

With two days in Cairns, you have time to thoroughly explore the city and its surroundings—by water, land, and air—as well as venture deeper into the Great Barrier Reef or Kuranda Rainforest. Here is how to spend two days in the gateway to the tropical north.

Day 1: Explore Cairns from the Sky, Land, and Water

**Morning:**Get your first look at the Great Barrier Reef aboard a scenic flight. Fixed-wing airplanes usually feature all window seating for unobstructed views. Flights typically take 30 to 60 minutes and soar over Green Island, Upolu Cay, and Michaelmas Reef, as well as Cape Grafton, False Cape, Double Island, and Cairns’ Northern Beaches.

**Afternoon:**In the afternoon, embark on a half-day sightseeing tour of Cairns and its surroundings. Guided tours typically visit city attractions such as the Flecker Botanical Gardens and St. Monica's Cathedral. A quicker alternative is to zip around the city on a tour by Segway Ninebot, or you can explore independently by taking a self-guided audio tour.

**Night:**Conclude your evening with a sunset cruise along the Trinity Inlet. Aboard a comfortable catamaran, you can soak up the city and harbor views and enjoy a drink and appetizers. Some cruises offer the option of adding on dinner at one of the city’s top restaurants.

Day 2: Explore the Reef or Rainforest

**Morning:**Get a look at the Great Barrier Reef;s marine life on a diving or snorkeling cruise, which typically leave in the morning, return in late afternoon, and include lunch, although half-day tours may be available. An alternative is to go to Kuranda Rainforest on a full-day tour—you’ll likely take the Kuranda Scenic Railway to Kuranda and visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary before returning to Cairns on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Some tours also include lunch and Aboriginal cultural experiences.

**Afternoon:**If you didn't opt for a full-day tour, take the afternoon to see more of the nature surrounding Cairns. Land-loving adventurous types may want to take an afternoon ATV tour, which offers adventure in the rain forest and gets you places a typical tour won't. Or take the afternoon to visit the Rainforestation Nature Park. 

**Night:**Learn about Aboriginal culture with dinner at Flames of the Forest, an open-air site that features storytelling and live performances. Most tours offer round-trip hotel transfers.

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14 Tours and Activities

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Ocean Freedom Great Barrier Reef Personal Luxury Snorkel & Dive Cruise, Cairns

Ocean Freedom Great Barrier Reef Personal Luxury Snorkel & Dive Cruise, Cairns

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629
Spend a day on the Great Barrier Reef at two different snorkel and dive sites on this luxury catamaran cruise from Cairns. Travel in style aboard a fast, comfortable catamaran to the outer edge Upolu Reef. Take an Adventure Snorkel & Glass Bottom Boat Tour through the highly protected no-fishing zone sites in the Marine Park. Refuel with a buffet lunch on board the catamaran before heading to your next destination, Upolu Cay reef. Enjoy the shallow azure blue waters surrounding this natural Coral Cay with both snorkeling or diving on offer. Be mesmerised by coral teeming with colourful fish.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$154.86
From
$154.86

Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Cruise from Cairns

Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Cruise from Cairns

star-4.5
1501
If snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef is on your bucket list, don’t miss this day trip from Cairns. The 35-metre superyacht, Evolution, departs Cairns with a record 5 hours spent exploring 2 spectacular and exclusive outer Great Barrier Reef locations for an adventure-filled day! You’ll visit 2 different locations on the barrier reef for the chance to see tropical marine life in the clear waters. Lunch is included onboard the boat, and you have the option to upgrade to include additional adventures such as introductory or certified scuba diving or a helicopter flight over this UNESCO World Heritage site. Both water sports enthusiasts and novices are welcome. Includes instruction and equipment provided by friendly and professional instructors.
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$141.44
From
$141.44

Kuranda Scenic Railway Day Trip from Cairns
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Kuranda Scenic Railway Day Trip from Cairns

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631
Explore the lush beauty, amazing wildlife and rich heritage of Tropical North Queensland on this customizable full-day trip to Kuranda from Cairns. Travel to this enchanting rain forest village aboard the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway, and choose from a variety of activities including visits to the Tjupakai Aboriginal Cultural Park and Rainforestation Nature Park. Hang out with koalas and exotic birds, browse local markets and opt to include a delicious buffet lunch. At the end of the day, glide through the treetops back to Cairns on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$125.71
From
$125.71

Best of Kuranda Including Skyrail, Kuranda Scenic Railway and Rainforestation

Best of Kuranda Including Skyrail, Kuranda Scenic Railway and Rainforestation

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91
Experience the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kuranda Rainforest on a full-day tour from Cairns. Take the Kuranda Scenic Railway to Kuranda where you first visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, the largest flight aviary in Australia. Tour the Rainforestation Nature Park in an amphibious Army Duck vehicle, then see koalas, dingoes and more at the Koala and Wildlife Park. Take a dreamtime walk with a Pamagirri guide for the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience, then feast on an Australian barbecue buffet lunch. Finally, return to Cairns on the scenic Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$190.62
From
$190.62

Cairns City Sights and Surrounds Tour

Cairns City Sights and Surrounds Tour

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72
First time in Cairns? Discover the gateway to Queensland’s tropical north on this 5.5-hour sightseeing tour. Visit city attractions like the Flecker Botanical Gardens and St Monica's Cathedral, and stroll along the scenic Cairns waterfront. Indulge in a delicious Devonshire afternoon tea (included) taking in the stunning views from the jetty at Palm Cove before taking a short hike through the Barron Gorge National Park. For the full experience, upgrade to include a 2-hour morning cruise to Green Island in the UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef marine park. This small-group tour is limited to 20 people.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$63.96
From
$63.96

Cairns Self-Guided Audio Tour

Cairns Self-Guided Audio Tour

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1
Cairns is a tropical paradise. Make sure to make time to see the koalas at the Wildlife Dome and see the stunningly beautiful Esplanade Lagoon. Perfectly suited for discovery on foot, our self-guided audio tour allows you to set the pace and explore at your leisure as you uncover the stories of this exciting city. To discover this fascinating city in your own time and at your own pace just download this self-guided audio tour, pop in your headphones, open the map that comes with your download and start walking. On this tour you will learn about the history of the city from the Aboriginal people who first inhabited these lands to the gold rushes that saw European colonisation, the industries that emerged thereafter, and the impact of World War Two. The tour will take approximately two hours, but you can pause the audio guide when needed. Grab a bite to eat or do some shopping along the way. Please note that this tour is only available in English.
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  • 2 to 3 hours
From
$16.11
From
$16.11

Cape Tribulation, Mossman Gorge, and Daintree Rainforest Day Trip from Cairns or Port Douglas

Cape Tribulation, Mossman Gorge, and Daintree Rainforest Day Trip from Cairns or Port Douglas

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501
Immerse yourself in the natural wonders and Aboriginal heritage of Australia’s tropical north on this full-day tour from Cairns. First, head to the Mossman Gorge to take part in a traditional smoke ceremony with the indigenous Kuku Yalanji people. Then, enjoy a close encounter with native wildlife on the Marrdja Botanical Boardwalk and visit Cape Tribulation, the meeting point of the UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef and Daintree rainforest. After lunch at Cape Trib Beach House, embark on a scenic cruise along the Daintree River (optional).
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$122.58
From
$122.58

Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation and Bloomfield Track Small Group Tour

Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation and Bloomfield Track Small Group Tour

star-5
268
This is the Original Daintree Rainforest Tour, locally owned and operated for over 36 years! Embark on a packed full-day adventure to Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the reef. Spot crocodiles on a Daintree River cruise, learn about flora, fauna and the history of the Daintree on a guided boardwalk tour, take a 4WD ride through a World Heritage-listed rainforest on the rugged Bloomfield Track. One of the only tour operators who can travel on the Bloomfield Track due to the custom-made 4WD vehicles! You'll have free time at famous Cape Tribulation to take a guided walk and enjoy lunch. Then there is time to stop for a delicious homemade ice cream from the Daintree Ice-creamery before heading home. Group size is limited for a more personalized experience, and the tour includes round-trip transport from Cairns, Beaches and Port Douglas hotels.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$141.44
From
$141.44

Cairns Luxury Catamaran Harbor and Dinner Cruise

Cairns Luxury Catamaran Harbor and Dinner Cruise

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188
Hop aboard for a luxurious evening catamaran cruise of Cairns and experience Australia’s northernmost city from the water. Sip a complimentary drink as you glide along the Cairns waterfront precinct and along the idyllic Trinity Inlet, then tuck into a delicious 3-course dinner on-board as you watch the mesmerizing sunset over the city.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$71.81
From
$71.81

Cairns ATV Adventure Tour

Cairns ATV Adventure Tour

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260
Conquer the rugged off-road terrain around Cairns on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on this half-day tour. Follow a guide, who takes care of instructions and navigation, through the rain forest, on dirt tracks, and across creeks. Morning or afternoon tea (depending on tour time) and hotel pickup and drop-off in Cairns make for a seamless, stress-free experience.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$121.54
From
$121.54

Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

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16
Surround yourself by more than 1,500 multicolored butterflies at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda. The biggest butterfly aviary in the country, this delightful attraction is home to landscaped gardens that mimic the butterflies’ natural rainforest habitats. Explore at your leisure while they fly all around you, or take advantage of complimentary tours during the day, including a behind-the-scenes lab tour. When booking, you have the option to upgrade to the 4 Park Pass for entry to three more Cairns-area attractions.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$14.88
From
$14.88

Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome

Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome

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21
Get an up-close look at the rainforest from the middle of Cairns at Carins ZOOM and Wildlife Dome. This family-friendly attraction is home to Australian animals like koalas, snakes, tropical birds, and a saltwater crocodile. You can simply explore the park at your leisure, or choose some of the many activities like a ropes course, zipline, dome climb and more. You also have the option to upgrade your admission to the 4 Park Pass if you want to visit other Cairns-area attractions like the Butterfly Sanctuary and Rainforestation.
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  • 1 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$18.60
From
$18.60

Skip the Line: Kuranda Rainforestation Nature Park Ticket

Skip the Line: Kuranda Rainforestation Nature Park Ticket

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16
Explore Kuranda's Rainforestation Nature Park, a 100-acre (40-hectare) tropical rainforest and World Heritage site located within five minutes of Kuranda village, accessible from Cairns. Your admission ticket to this family-friendly attraction includes three eco-experiences: see Australia's native animals at the Koala and Wildlife Park; ride the amphibious Army Duck on a unique rainforest tour; watch an Aboriginal Dance Show at the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience and take a Dreamtime Walk.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$38.69
From
$38.69

Small-Group Afternoon Cairns City Tour with Harbour Dinner Cruise
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Small-Group Afternoon Cairns City Tour with Harbour Dinner Cruise

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7
Explore Cairns with a local guide and enjoy a dinner cruise on this all-day combination tour. After a convenient pickup from your Cairns City or Northern Beaches hotel, visit popular destinations like the Flecker Botanical Gardens and Lower Barron Gorge. Enjoy a scenic lookout with gorgeous views and afternoon tea—included in the tour price—before feasting on a 3-course dinner aboard the 85-foot (26-meter) Spirit of Cairns catamaran.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$137.09
From
$137.09