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Cairns National parks

Our most recommended Cairns National parks

Cairns: Daintree and Mossman Gorge Tour with Cruise Option

1. Cairns: Daintree and Mossman Gorge Tour with Cruise Option

Embark on a day trip where the rainforest meets the reef. See natural sights including the Great Barrier Reef, experience a wildlife cruise, and participate in a smoke ceremony as you go. Start your adventure with a scenic coastal drive from Cairns to Port Douglas, the far north’s very own great ocean road with panoramic views of the sparkling Coral Sea. The first stop is Mossman Gorge, which is in the southern sector of the world-famous Daintree National Park. The gorge has been carved out by the cold mountain waters of the Mossman River, which winds through large granite boulders, bordered by lush green rainforest. It’s a magical place and you’ll be welcomed by the traditional owners, the Kuku Yalanji people, who will also cleanse you of evil spirits during a smoke ceremony. Also, enjoy a refreshing swim in the cascading waters. After crossing the mighty Daintree River and a lunch break, it’s time to explore the ancient rainforest environment on an interesting guided tour of the Marrdja Botanical Boardwalk. Highly trained guides will give expert rainforest interpretation, which will inform and impress. Be amazed at the huge diversity you will encounter, you will discover everything from low-lying ferns and shrubs, to the massive rainforest canopy and even mangrove ecosystems - all in one short easy walk. You can choose to taste locally made ice cream, at your own cost, and prepare for a photo opportunity at the Alexandra Range Lookout, which provides sweeping views over the Daintree River, its rainforest delta, and out to the Coral Sea. In the afternoon, experience a wildlife cruise on the river (if option selected). During the cruise, you may see a crocodile, while learning about the fragile ecosystem of this impressive serpent-like river system. On the return journey to Cairns, drive through Port Douglas, a picturesque beachside village with a laid-back vibe and loads of bars and cafes.

From Cairns: Full-Day Green Island Cruise

2. From Cairns: Full-Day Green Island Cruise

Climb aboard a modern catamaran to sail into Green Island National Park on a beach and snorkeling cruise from Cairns. Discover a hidden gem in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and explore its coral reefs with snorkeling gear. Choose to enjoy a buffet lunch and go on a semi-submarine tour. Make your way to the harbor to meet your friendly crew for the day and climb onto your catamaran. Relax in the sun as you set sail towards the Great Barrier Reef. Experience picturesque views of the ocean as you arrive at Green Island National Park. Stroll around the island and explore its tranquil beaches. Find a stop to relax and go for a dip in the ocean. Get access to snorkeling gear and take a peek into the region's thriving marine life. You can also opt to go on a semi-submarine or a glass-bottom boat tour to discover the colorful coral reef and fish in comfort.

Cairns: Daintree & Cape Tribulation Guided 4WD Tour

3. Cairns: Daintree & Cape Tribulation Guided 4WD Tour

Explore Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation. Ride a 4WD vehicle as you spot wildlife, catch incredible views, and try regional food along the way. After being picked up in a 4WD, make your way north along the Captain Cook Highway. Stop first at the Daintree Cruise Centre for a quick tea, coffee, and biscuits before setting out to explore the Daintree River on a 1-hour guided cruise. During your cruise, you may spot estuarine crocodiles, from youngsters to massive 4-meter adults. Learn about the birds and wildlife that make this area their home. Then, make your way to the Alexandra Range Lookout, located in the heart of the rainforest, to enjoy spectacular views of the rainforest, the ocean, its surrounding reefs, and the majestic Daintree River. At the Jindalba boardwalk, you'll go on an informative 45-minute guided tour to experience the Park's beauty up close. See ancient 900-year-old palms, and keep your eyes peeled for the elusive Boyd’s Forest Dragon. After exploring all morning, you'll be ready for lunch. Enjoy lunch with your fellow travelers. Your journey continues, heading further north along the Bloomfield Track to Emmagen Creek. Enjoy ample time for a refreshing swim in this amazing freshwater swimming spot. Head to Cape Tribulation beach itself for a leisurely stroll along the beach to admire the views. Those feeling a little more energetic can take the short botanical boardwalk to the Cape Tribulation beach lookout. After Cape Tribulation beach, if there's time, stop at Daintree’s hidden secret, the Daintree ice creamery. Your taste buds will be tantalized with exotic tropical fruit homemade ice cream. As the day comes to an end after taking the ferry back across, head back toward Port Douglas and Cairns, where you'll be dropped off at your accommodation.

Cape Tribulation, Daintree and Mossman Gorge Day Tour

4. Cape Tribulation, Daintree and Mossman Gorge Day Tour

The itinerary for this tour is as follows:• 6:45 AM: Hotel pickups commence from Cairns.• 7:30 AM: Pickups commence from the Cairns Beaches.• 8:10 AM: Pickups commence from Port Douglas.• 9:20 AM: Mossman Gorge Centre. Visit the Mossman Gorge Gateway Centre and board your shuttle for the transfer into Mossman Gorge. Your driver/guide will take you for a guided walk sharing their knowledge of this enchanting rainforest environment. Learn about the fascinating secrets of one of the world’s oldest rainforests. Return to the Centre for morning tea.• 11:15 AM: Daintree River Cruise. Reach an understanding of this wildlife environment for one hour. See bird habitats, tree snakes, unique plants and of course the saltwater crocodile.• 12:45 PM: Tropical Lunch. With special access at a private rainforest property, enjoy a short walk along a delightful rainforest creek before a delicious tropical lunch. Enjoy a choice of quality steak, fish, or vegetarian meal with fresh salads and fruit platter, followed by coffee or Daintree Tea.• 2:00 PM: Cape Tribulation. Walk on this world-renowned rainforest beach and admire the coastline and fringing coral reef from the Kulki Lookout.• 3:15 PM: Daintree Ice Cream Company. Included is an afternoon refreshment at the Daintree Ice Cream Company. Enjoy a delicious tropical fruit ice cream made from fruit grown on their own organic orchard.• 4:00 PM: Alexandra Lookout. After winding through the rainforest of the Alexandra Range, enjoy this spectacular lookout over the Daintree River estuary, Snapper Island, and beyond to the Coral Sea.

From Cairns: Green Island Eco Adventure

5. From Cairns: Green Island Eco Adventure

Go on a Green Island eco-adventure from Cairns to explore the beautiful Great Barrier Reef island. Connect with nature on a tropical island with over 120 native plant species, birds, coral gardens, and abundant marine life. Choose from a glass bottom boat coral reef viewing tour or snorkeling gear. Your cruise includes the choice of an informative glass bottom boat coral viewing tour, or the use of snorkeling equipment to snorkel directly off the sandy white beaches. Explore the island’s lush rainforest with a leisurely self-guided walk, see the reef from the glass bottom boat coral viewing tour, snorkel from the beach, or take a refreshing dip in the island swimming pool. With an abundance of optional activities, you can scuba dive, take an offshore snorkel excursion, walk underwater with Seawalker helmet diving, kayak, or even take to the sky in a scenic helicopter flight. There's even the Marineland Melanesia crocodile habitat on the island! The island’s well-appointed day visitor facilities include a pool bar, and dive shop, plus restaurant and food outlets, where a delicious range of lunch, snacks, and refreshments can be purchased.

From Cairns: Full-Day Kuranda Army Duck Experience Tour

6. From Cairns: Full-Day Kuranda Army Duck Experience Tour

Start your day with a ride on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, winding through tunnels and over bridges on this magnificent journey, passing Stoney Creek and Barron Falls. Once in Kuranda, you will travel to Rainforestation Nature Park via shuttle. Explore the rainforest on a 6-wheel drive World War II Army Duck amphibious vehicle over land and water. Your experienced duck driver will help you search for wildlife and teach you about the plants and trees that make up the surrounding rainforest. After your tour, you can sample exotic fruits and locally made ice cream at a Tropical Treats fruit orchard.  Then, take the shuttle bus from Rainforestation Nature Park to Kuranda Village. Once in the village, you have free time to explore the markets and shops. At the end of your day, you will travel back to Cairns via the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway over a pristine rainforest with the canopy just meters beneath you. It is recommend you spend time at the two stations en route: Red Peak Station and Barron Falls Stations. Upon arrival in Cairns, you will be transferred back to your accommodation. 

Cairns: Raging Thunder Barron Gorge River Rafting Trip

7. Cairns: Raging Thunder Barron Gorge River Rafting Trip

Prepare for adventure and action on this guided white water rafting tour on the Barron River. Receive all rafting training and equipment needed before venturing into the water to experience grade 2 and 3 rapids. T The Barron River is located only 20 minutes from Cairns and offers a great introduction to white water rafting. You’ll get to experience up to 2 hours of rafting with a combination of exciting rapids and calm water paddling. Begin with pickup from your accommodation or self-driving to the starting point at Lake Placid. Once here, meet your river guide and fellow paddlers and get fitted with your life jacket, helmet, and rafting shoes, if you choose to rent a pair.  Follow a short track with your group down to the river where you will board your raft and receive a comprehensive safety briefing and paddling instructions from your guide. You will have the chance to practice in the flat water before it's time to hit the white water. The first couple of rapids you raft through are small and easy, giving you plenty of time to get a feel for how the raft moves through the water before it's time to navigate the bigger, more exciting rapids, including the Rooster Tail. The combination of grade 2 and 3 rapids will ensure you have a thrilling trip rafting down the Barron. At the bottom section of the river, enjoy a flat paddle where you'll have time to admire the stunning scenery and learn about the surrounding rainforest and native wildlife. After arriving at the take-out point, change into your dry clothes. On the journey back to your hotel the action photos are available for preview to purchase.

From Cairns: Green Island Half-Day Morning Cruise

8. From Cairns: Green Island Half-Day Morning Cruise

Discover the lush rainforest of Green Island on this half-day tour and encounter some of the many marine animals that call the island home. Climb aboard the modern, air-conditioned 24-meter catamaran "Reef Rocket" to cruise over to this idyllic part of the Great Barrier Reef, and enjoy a full-day reef tour just 45-minutes from Cairns. Snorkel and dive among the reef fish and coral gardens, or stay dry on a spectacular semi-submersible submarine or glass-bottom boat to discover the underwater life in comfort. Alternatively, simply laze on the white sandy beach and soak up the sun.

From Cairns: Atherton Tableland Wilderness Tour with Lunch

9. From Cairns: Atherton Tableland Wilderness Tour with Lunch

Embark on a full-day trip to Atherton Tableland from Cairns and admire the lush beauty of tropical North Queensland. Visit Wooroonooran National Park, swim in Lake Eacham, and enjoy lunch in Malanda. Your 11-hour excursion begins with a drive to the Wooroonooran National Park. Stop for a swim at Josephine Falls, which features a huge natural rock slide. Travel across the volcanic landscape of the Atherton Tablelands. Marvel at the 18-meter-high Millaa Millaa Falls, framed by lush rainforest and tree ferns. Enjoy lunch at The Top Rail in Malanda before heading to see a giant curtain fig tree. Try your luck at platypus spotting in Yungaburra and enjoy a last swim at Lake Eacham before the trip back to Cairns.

Barron Gorge: Half-Day Barron River White-Water Rafting

10. Barron Gorge: Half-Day Barron River White-Water Rafting

Experience white-water rafting in Barron Gorge National Park, known for its rugged rainforest mountains, steep ravines, and the falls carved out over thousands of years by the Barron River. Enjoy optional pickup from Cairns or Port Douglas before heading to the national park. Meet your guide at Lake Placid, and get ready for your river rafting tour on the river. Enjoy the area’s scenic beauty and a combination of calm water and a series of white-water rapids as well. Spend two hours navigating rapids up to grade three. No experience is necessary, making this a good choice for beginning rafters. There is also plenty of excitement for the more experienced.

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Frequently asked questions about Cairns

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The best day trips and excursions from Cairns are:

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What people are saying about Cairns

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 885 reviews

This was one of the best experiences of my entire life. Not only was the island beautiful, the snorkeling was incredibly fun and (you could go at your own pace, go really far out or stay close to the shore), the staff were also exceptional, informative (lots of fun facts) and super friendly. I even dropped my icecream and a staff member had a laugh with me and then got me another. Food on the boat is also amazing. Overall 10000/10. I am going to book again!

The guide was fantastic that lead us to discover more wildlife and spot with nice view.

Such a wonderful day!! Can't fault it one bit. Definitely recommend this to everyone!

We had the best day , have plenty of water & your camera fully charged.

Friendly and organised guide, beautiful scenery, great lunch