Cairns might just be Australia’s best regional city and if good food, laid-back vibes and incredible nature sound like your thing, a trip to the capital of the Tropical North is a must-do. From sampling local delights at Rustys Markets, sunset walks on the Esplanade, jaunts to the art gallery or marvelling at wildlife at the aquarium, one thing’s for sure – you won’t be bored. Not to mention that Cairns is the launch point for adventure and touring to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree, Atherton Tablelands and more.
For those wanting access to all that Cairns offers with a side of tropical relaxation, then a stay in the trendy beachside suburb of Palm Cove, just 30 minutes north of Cairns Airport, might be just what you’re looking for.
We’ve collated our favourite hotels, touring and transfer operators below. If you find something you like, follow the links to book directly with the business or feel free to drop us a message if you have any questions. Oh and just so you know, Unwind North Queensland exclusively promotes businesses that are locally-owned, COVID-safe and Good to Go!
Tucked away on Wharf St is one of the most historic buildings in Cairns, an old shipping and commission shopfront. Today, Jack & Newell is one of the most popular places to stay in Cairns. Situated directly across the road from Hemingways Brewery, an easy walk to the Casino, the lagoon and of course the restaurants along the waterfront and Esplanade, it is easy to see why Jack and Newell is a preferred option for families and couples alike. Offering 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments at great value, Jack and Newell is a great base for visitors. Make sure to book a Water View Apartment to enjoy some of the best views in Cairns straight from your private balcony!
About 30 minutes north of Cairns, Palm Cove is a tiny enclave of hotels and restaurants beside a beautiful palm-fringed beach. With great restaurants and cafes on either side and the ocean just across the road, Paradise on the Beach could not be better located. Choose from a Studio or 1 Bedroom Apartment with pool or beach views, or combine both rooms to make a 2 Bedroom Apartment – perfect if you’re coming with the family. If the beach is not your thing, you can relax beside the recently refurbished pool area surrounded by the soaring Melaluca Trees that Palm Cove is so renowned for.
Billy Tea Safaris is a true local company, having been locally owned and operated for over 36 years. As an Advanced Eco-Certified tour company, they operate small personalised day tours. Embark on a full-day adventure to the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the reef. Sit back and relax in comfort in a custom-built 4WD air-conditioned vehicle while listening to informative and entertaining commentary by your local naturalist guide. Group size is limited for a more personalised experience.
Looking for things to do in Cairns? Visit Cairns ZOOM & Wildlife Dome, the world’s first challenge ropes course in a wildlife park. You’ll find them in the heart of the Cairns CBD on top of The Reef Hotel Casino. Whether you are looking for a full day or half-day tour, Cairns ZOOM & Wildlife Dome has you covered.
Cuddle a koala, enjoy interactive Australian wildlife presentations and experience adventure on the Mid-ZOOM and Hi-ZOOM courses with three zip lines – one of which takes participants directly over Goliath, a 4-metre saltwater crocodile!
Departing Cairns, Down Under Cruise & Dive offer a 35-metre luxury superyacht Evolution providing an unforgettable day on the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns reef tour offers the most activities for even greater value. Experience two outer reef locations with up to 5 hours on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling and scuba diving. Dial up the adventure with a scenic helicopter flight over the reef.
The world’s largest coral reef system and world-heritage listed site is ready and waiting for you to explore! Join Down Under Cruise and Dive for an unforgettable, personalised day on the Great Barrier Reef.
One of the most iconic images of the Atherton Tablelands is a scene of hot air balloons soaring above the landscape on a picture perfect morning. Taking to the skies over this beautiful area of the Tropical North is simply spectacular. Choose to self-drive to the balloon launch point or add-on return transfers. And if you’re celebrating something extra special, check out chartering a private balloon all to yourself.
Wait A While’s Rainforest & Wildlife tour is the only one of its kind in the Tropical North. Leaving the Northern Beaches at 1pm or Cairns at 1:30pm, the tour heads up into the Atherton Tablelands where you will be taken on a journey of discovery to spot rare and unusual wildlife including the platypus, possum and tree kangaroo during the day and night. Hotel pick-up/drop-off, afternoon tea and dinner are included in this fantastic tour.