Cairns is located in northern Queensland, and is in an exceptional location for all things adventure. Most notably, access to the Great Barrier Reef!
This 3 day itinerary will take you through the beautiful waters of the reef, the incredible greenery and wildlife of the Daintree Rainforest, and the sandy beaches at Palm Cove.
Ready to have the time of your life in the land down under? Let’s get into it!
Here is the 3 Day Ultimate Cairns, Australia Itinerary!
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Table of Contents
Ultimate Cairns Itinerary
Day 1: Palm Cove, Cairns
Palm Cove is a little beach town about 30 minutes outside of Cairns. You can catch a bus, or if you have a car rental, you can drive. It gets its name from the hundreds of palm trees that line the entire length of the cove. You’re in true paradise here!
This uncrowded beach is perfect to get a tan and for a fun little dip in the Pacific Ocean. You could spend an entire day here swimming, tanning, and walking through the town whenever you please.
They have tons of restaurants along the beach, and you really can’t go wrong with any. Here are some of the best choices:
-Vivo Palm Cove
-Ellis Beach Bar & Grill
-Underground Palm Cove
I found it best to bring refreshing drinks and a frisbee or football to throw around all day on the beach. Towards dinner time you can explore the town, find a delicious place to eat, and then head back to Cairns for the night!
Day 2: Great Barrier Reef
Time for one of my FAVORITE parts of this ultimate Cairns itinerary. Visiting the Great Barrier Reef!
There are multiple day trips you can take, I will list a few of them here. If you want more time, you can always stay at Fitzroy Island overnight. This is an incredible hotel/resort that is situated only a short boat ride away from the reef. There is a restaurant on the island, hiking you can do, and beautiful beaches to lay out or watch the sunset on.
For day trips, you can take a boat ride straight from the Cairns Marina to the reef. You’ll most likely be a bundle of excitement on this ride. Here are some fantastic day trips to consider:
-If you want to take part in snorkeling, diving, and relaxing at the reef via catamaran try out the Great Barrier Reef Cruise by Premium Catamaran (9 hours).
-If you want to visit Fitzroy Island and the reef for a day trip try the Fitzroy Island Full-Day Adventure Tour (5-8 hours).
-If you want a glass bottom boat tour, 6 hours on the reef, and delicious smoked salmon for lunch, check out the Outer & Coral Cay Reefs Cruise with Snorkeling/Dive day trip (full day).
If you take part in any of these activities, you will not be disappointed. You will have the opportunity to see sea turtles, schools of fish, beautiful coral, and even dolphins and whales! Also, keep an eye out for Nemo, Dory and Crush! 😊
P.S. It’s quite sad to see some coral bleaching, since the reef is dying because of rising sea temperatures. This is just another reason to get out to Australia as soon as you can!
Day 3: Daintree Rainforest
Ever ventured through a rainforest before? Well, this is your place!
I had no idea what to expect going into a rainforest… and I left with some pretty great insights on how to make it the best experience.
In Daintree, I highly suggest you try a hike or two to fully experience and immerse yourself in a rainforest. Cape Tribulation is the best place to hike and take some dips in water holes.
Cape Tribulation is just North of Cairns and Port Douglas. It’s a tropical place full of tons of wildlife and wonderful beaches. It has tons of short, fun walks. We did the Madja Boardwalk which took us about 45 minutes.
A few other options for walks/hikes:
- Dubuji Boardwalk
- Kulki Boardwalk
- Emmagen Creek
You can also take part in the Rainforest Zipline and Wildlife Habitat Day Trip if you’re looking for a more exciting adventure! Not much sounds better than telling someone back home, “I ziplined through a rainforest in Australia.”😄
Also, make sure to visit Floravilla Ice Cream Factory when you’re in Daintree. What’s better than ice cream in the middle of a rainforest? Not much!
You’re bound to have an adventure when visiting Daintree, no matter what you do! You may even run into some emu’s…. I hope you enjoyed this Ultimate Cairns, Australia itinerary! If you want more itineraries/advice on visiting Australia or traveling in general, check out my page at kirthetraveler.com!
Thanks so much for reading, talk to you soon!😊
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