10 Best Day Trips from Cairns You Can’t Miss
From waterfalls, to castles, and islands, here is a list of the best day trips from Cairns that you can’t miss on your Queensland holiday.
Cairns Day Trips
If you are visiting Cairns on your Queensland holiday there are plenty of things to see and do in the area. But once you have seen the city why not head out on a day trip from Cairns to see the surrounding areas.
Here we have put together a list of the best day trips from Cairns to make your dream Queensland holiday.
Best Day Trips From Cairns
Find below a list of our favourite day trips from Cairns.
1. Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures
If you want to get close up to the crocodiles make sure to check out Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. This wildlife sanctuary is one of the oldest attractions in North Queensland and one of the best day trips from Cairns or Port Douglas.
While the crocodiles are the highlight for many, there are a range of other animals to see and educational presentations too.
In between the shows and presentations you can explore the 2500 metres of boardwalks and pathways viewing a range of other native and exotic animals.
Read More: Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures
2. Mossman Gorge
Mossman Gorge is one of the most popular day trips from Cairns for nature lovers just over an hour away.
Located in the World Heritage Listed Daintree National Park, it has a whopping 56,000 hectares of tropical beauty.
You can take a dream time walk, head out on a self guided walk, swim in the crystal clear waters, or just enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of the magical surroundings.
Read More: Mossman Gorge
3. Palm Cove
If you are looking to spend some time on the beach, then a day trip from Cairns to Palm Cove is a must. Just 30 minutes away with golden sands surrounded by palm trees you will feel like you are in tropical heaven.
This small seaside town is a great place to spend the day and relax or try out some of your favourite water activities such as kayaking or fishing. Stay for lunch or even dinner and dine at many of the delicious eateries, then get ready to watch the amazing sunset.
4. Paronella Park
If you are looking for a unique day trip from Cairns the whole family will love then check out Paronella Park, one of Queensland’s most popular attractions.
This 5 hectare magical wonderland is around 2 hours south of Cairns and is filled with over 7000 tropical trees and palms, has a Spanish castle, and it’s own waterfall.
There are free tours of the park that you can do, the highlight is the night tour where you can see all of the buildings lit up in the night.
Read More: Paronella Park
5. Cape Tribulation
At the north end of the Daintree National Park, you can find the beautiful Cape Tribulation which makes a fantastic day trip from Cairns for those who want to see one of the only places you can view the wild rainforest meet the ocean.
Although it is one of the longer Cairns day trips, taking around 3 hours, it is definitely worth it if you are time poor.
There are guided tours through the rainforest, and opportunities for mountain biking. If you have the opportunity to stay the night and explore the area you won’t be disappointed.
6. Port Douglas
Just an hour North of Cairns, Port Douglas is a stunning seaside town worth more than a day. However if that’s all you have, then a day trip from Cairns is perfect.
Known for it’s laid back lifestyle, it’s fancy resorts, beautiful beaches, and bustling food scene, Port Douglas is a must see Queensland destination and a great spot for families too.
Head out for a walk on the famous Four Mile Beach where there are safety nets for swimming, visit the Flagstaff hill lighthouse, or just sit and relax in one of the many bars and restaurants.
If you are heading out to the Great Barrier Reef, it is also a more convenient place to start from rather than Cairns.
7. Crystal Cascades
If you are looking for a day trip from Cairns to see some waterfalls, the Crystal Cascades are easy to visit. They are still considered one of the best secrets of tropical north Queensland and offer a series of small waterfalls flowing into large rockpools.
You can take a picnic and have lunch. There is a picnic area with bbqs and toilets etc. It can get quite warm, but you can dip your feet or take a swim at one of the popular swimming holes to cool off.
8. Mission Beach
2 hours south of Cairns you will find the picturesque Mission Beach made up of four beautiful beachside villages all joined by 14kms of golden sands.
Lots of boutique shops offer shopping opportunities, and there are plenty of great places to stop and eat too. You can walk around the town, or just sit and relax on the beach and soak in the sun for the day.
9. Fitzroy Island
A 45 minute ferry ride away from Cairns is Fitzroy Island, one of the most popular day trips from Cairns for those looking to get on the Great Barrier Reef. It makes the perfect escape from the mainland for any traveller.
There are some great spots for snorkelling, opportunities for a glass bottom boat tours, lots of walks around the island, and even a turtle sanctuary too.
While Fitzroy makes a great day trip from Cairns to get a taste of the area, a few days on the island is even better if you have time.
10. Green Island
The Green Island national park is the alternative day trip from Cairns if you have been to Fitzroy Island. Like the former, it also has fantastic snorkelling all around the island and glass bottom boat tours if you prefer to stay on dry land.
You can also enjoy rainforest walks on the island and can see a wide range of wildlife and birds too.
While it is a great day trip from Cairns, it is also a great spot worth a night or two to really explore the area.
Other Things to do in Cairns
See our main post: Things to do in Cairns for families