Don’t know which Cairns tour is for you? Let me break it down so you can stop wasting time and pick the very best tour for you.
If you’re planning a trip to Cairns or you’re already there then you’ve made the right choice. Cairns is the undisputed jewel of northern Australia and an absolute must-visit for anyone travelling to the country.
It is surrounded by utterly unique landscapes and wonders of the sea that make it perfect whatever you are looking for. Be it, diving, snorkelling, trekking, waterfall chasing, beach isolation or pure premium luxury living, Cairns has it all.
However, as every traveller knows, picking a tour can be a nervewracking experience. With Cairns, this is no exception. The choice for each individual activity is mindblowing and you want to ensure you pick the right one as this is usually the highlight of any trip.
With this in mind, I have found all of the most incredible activities available in Cairns and chosen the very best tour associated with each activity. If you see a tour you like and want more information about the activity then simply click through to the tour booking page to check it out in more detail.
#1 Cairns Great Barrier Reef Tour
The Great Barrier Reef is a natural wonder of the world and the single best trip we did when we travelled through Cairns. I dived the Great Barrier reef and Jade snorkelled. Both of us saw turtles, thousands of fish and even some reef sharks (they are very small so don’t let them put you off!).
We were short on funds at the time but afterwards had absolutely no regrets. Witnessing the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most incredible things you will do in your life. I cannot recommend it enough.
With Passions of Paradise, you’ll be treated to 2 different reef locations which will have been handpicked for the day you are travelling for the best possible experience. Snorkelling equipment is included in the price and diving is available for an additional fee (this is normal throughout all tours).
But don’t just take my word for it, check out the other 600+ reviews and prices here!
- Everyone (diving is 12+ but everything else has no limit).
- Solo travellers, couples, families and groups.
- Beginner and competent divers (this was my first dive after gaining my open water certificate and it was perfect).
- Natural Wonder? ✔
- Beautiful Boat? ✔
- Bucket List Activity? ✔
- Excellent Lunch Included? ✔
- Diving Available? ✔
#1 Cape Tribulation and Daintree Tour
Whilst you travel through Australia you will begin to realise that complete wildness is never very far away. This is especially true with the Daintree rainforest to the north.
This ancient rainforest (the oldest on the planet) grows all the way to the shore, onto pristine white sand beaches with great bands of coral in the shallows. This creates a truly unique environment that is unmissable to anyone travelling to Cairns.
You’ll start by travelling up to the rainforest on the Captain Cook Highway. Do not close your eyes and go to sleep during this part of the tour. If you ever see a more beautiful stretch of road in your life then I’ll be surprised.
After, you’ll travel deep into the rainforest, cruise down the Daintree river (you may even see the monstrous freshwater crocs) and walk on the most incredible beaches you’ve ever seen.
If you want to experience the real raw natural beauty of the northeast then this is the only tour for you.
If you are planning on travelling to Port Douglas then save yourself a little bit of time and book this Daintree Rainforest tour starting in Port Douglas.
- Escaping the city.
- Families with children above 8 (they’ll love the adventure)
- Minimum Age 3+
- Lunch Provided ✔
- Perfect white sand beach ✔
- River Cruise ✔
- All park fees included ✔
#1 Fitzroy Island Tour
Get off the mainland and lose yourself in one of the most beautiful islands that Cairns has to offer. I highly recommend this tour if you have accommodation on the mainland. For example, we were travelling through in a campervan so didn’t want to book multiple days on the island.
Fitzroy Island is the exact picturesque escape that you can picture in your mind. The tour comes with lunch, snorkelling and even a trampoline in the ocean! For the more explorer types, there are 5 walking trails through the inner beauty of the island.
There isn’t much else to say! Lose yourself in this small remote island surrounded by sparkling blue water and white sand beaches.
If you don’t have any accommodation booked on the mainland then I highly recommend taking a look at some of the options available on Fitzroy Island. Then you can simply book a transfer to and from Fitzroy Island with the hotel directly. Check out my top pick for the best Fitzroy Island accommodation here.
- Transfers To And From ✔
- Lunch Included ✔
- 7 Hours On The Island ✔
- Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling ✔
- Perfect Beaches ✔
#1 Green Island & Reef Tour
Green Island is a tiny little piece of paradise off the coast of Cairns. What better way to explore it by getting there on a classic sailing boat. I personally think the smaller operators with the smaller more classic feeling yachts add to the entire experience. Having the sails billowing above you whilst you relax on the deck is a big difference to the big tour operators with the large colder feeling boats.
You will have the opportunity to snorkel or dive the reef and spend time on Green Island. Whether you choose to spend more time in the water or relaxing on the beach with a cocktail is entirely up to you.
If you are thinking of visiting one of the islands off of the coast of Cairns and also taking a trip to the Great Barrier Reef then this is a brilliant option of combining both into one activity.
- Solo Travellers
- Snorkel & Dive The Reef ✔
- Classic Sailing ✔
- Island Relaxation ✔
- 4.5 Hours At The Island
- Very Good Lunch ✔
#1 Barron Gorge Activity – Rafting
If you’re an adrenaline seeker or not, rafting the Barron Gorge is a fantastic activity. Throughout the experience, there will be calm waters where you can take in the incredible scenery around you and then, up to grade 3 white water rapids to get your heart racing again.
If you’ve had enough of relaxing on the incredible beaches, swimming in the crystal waters and learning about ancient rainforests then this is the tour for you. It sounds crazy but too much relaxing is bad for you…I think…
Anyway! Get your wet shoes on, strap on a life vest and earn that beer by the beach!
- Families with older children (12+). This tour is highly recommended for this age group.
- People who have been relaxing too much. You know who you are.
- Return Transfers to Cairns ✔
- Rafting Gear ✔
- Safety Briefing ✔
- Incredible Scenery ✔
- Suitable For 12+
#1 Skyrail Rainforest & Kuranda Scenic Railway Tour
The Skyrail cableway over the Wet Tropics rainforest is one of the most incredible examples of the ingenuity of humans and the resilience of nature. It is a 7.5km cableway over the canopy of the oldest rainforest on Earth. The views of this incredible experience are some that you cannot find anywhere else in the world.
During the trip, there are also 2 stations where you can get off and walk in amongst the dense ancient rainforest whilst learning from the rangers that look after the park.
You’ll be able to explore the village of Kuranda that is nestled deep in the forest and see the famous arts and crafts markets or visit the butterfly sanctuary.
If this isn’t enough for you then you’ll also take a trip on the epic Kuranda Scenic Railway which is one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world.
- Families. There is a lot of sitting down throughout the day, however, there isn’t a second where there isn’t something to be looking at, learning about or exploring.
- Explorers. You certainly won’t be seeing any cities or crowds of people in this adventure into the wilderness.
- World Famous Skyrail ✔
- World Famous Village ✔
- World Famous Railway ✔
- Incredible Scenery ✔
- Suitable For All Ages ✔
#1 Atherton Tablelands – Waterfall Chasing
The Atherton Tablelands is famous for two reasons, the food & wine and the waterfalls. It is home to the most photographed waterfall in the whole of Australia, the Millaa Millaa Falls.
This tour is for all of the water lovers out there! You’ll be swimming in lakes, water holes and waterfalls throughout the day as well as walking through the rainforest and getting a pub lunch.
It really is the very best way to see the incredible landscape that the Atherton Tablelands has to offer.
- Everyone who enjoys the water. It really is a tour that maximises the fun you can have from swimming and getting wet.
- Millaa Millaa Falls ✔
- Pun Lunch ✔
- Accommodation Transfer ✔
- Multiple Swimming Locations ✔
- 11 Hour Excursion ✔
#1 Atherton Tablelands – Food & Wine
It’s not just the waterfalls that the Atherton Tablelands has to offer. The cheese, coffee, wine, beer and all sorts of other local produce, makes for an absolutely brilliant day out for couples and small groups.
A lot of the bigger tours with more people put pressure on tourists to buy additional produce which is not included in the tour. This takes something away from the experience for me as I like to sit back and relax without having to feel guilty about it.
This is why this tour is the best you’re going to find. You will go around and visit all of the best places and establishments whilst enjoying all of the food and wine without a care in the world. You only have to browse through some of the pictures snapped during the tour to get your taste buds more than ready.
If you are planning on going to Port Douglas during your trip then the operator runs the same tour straight out of Port Douglas. This is closer to the destinations which means less time on the tour bus are even more time eating and drinking. Both tours are brilliant but it’s a no brainer to get the Port Douglas trip if you’re heading there anyway.
- Couples – I can’t think of anything better than sitting in the sun, eating cheese and sipping on a cold brew with my partner. If that’s you then this is the tour for you.
- Small Groups
- All Tasting Included ✔
- Lunch & Alcohol Included ✔
- Accommodation Transfer ✔
- No Pressure To Buy Extra Produce ✔
- Options From Cairns & Port Douglas ✔
#1 Evening Cruise & Meal
This is one of my personal favourite things to do in Cairns. Having a fine dining experience whilst cruising on a beautiful boat may seem like an extravagance but I couldn’t disagree more. You’ll be very surprised about how close the cost is from having a nice meal on the mainland to having one with the wind in your hair.
So, if you’re planning a romantic evening out in Cairns then definitely take a look at the Spirit of Cairns dining experience. You’ll get a chef-prepared buffet, and access to a fully licensed bar throughout your cruise.
- Couples – This is one of the best things to do for couples in Cairns.
- Buffet Dinner ✔
- Fully Licensed Bar ✔
- Live Performance ✔
- Complimentary Drink ✔
- 2.5 Hour Cruise
#1 Adrenaline Junckie Tour – Bungee and Giant Swing
I’ve stuck this is just for all of you crazies out there that need to go that extra mile to get a kick out of life. You’ll get loads of choices of bungee and even get the chance to go on a huge swing that can hold up to 3 people. As if falling 45 meters wasn’t enough, you can now take your family along with you!
- Adrenaline Junkies
- Suitable For 10+
- Bungee Jump ✔
- Giant Swing ✔
- Accommodation Transfers ✔
- Hair Raising ✔
When To Visit Cairns
The best thing about the sunshine state of Queensland, it’s warm and sunny all year round! This means that whatever you are planning to do you’ll be able to do it whenever you decide to visit.
However, if you are totally flexible throughout the whole year, then I would suggest booking your trip between April and September. This is after Christmas and the summer vacation so you will experience fewer crowds and lower prices.
Don’t be put off if you are unable to book your trip inside these dates as Cairns really does shine all year round. It definitely does not mean that summer is a bad time to go.
For more information about the best time to go to Cairns click here
Where To Stay In Cairns
Cairns has some absolute gems in terms of accommodation and I have included 2 of the very best. If the two I have provided are not what you’re looking for then have a look here for all the best accommodation options available in Cairns.
Freedom Hostels Cairns
This hostel in the centre of everything and is incredibly affordable. It’s also the perfect example of exactly what a hostel should be.
- Choice of shared and private rooms
- 24-hour front desk
- Laundry Facilities
- Big shared kitchen
- Breakfast Included
- Everything Super Clean
- Super close to all the big attractions
If you’re looking for a hostel then this is the best Cairns has to offer. Check out more pictures and prices here.
Cairns Queenslander Hotel And Apartments
If you’re looking for a hotel in Cairns then it can be difficult to balance price with quality. You can easily end up spending a lot of money where you don’t really need to. Cairns Queenslander is the perfect blend of affordability and comfort.
They are right bang in the middle of everything, have a pool, restaurant, BBQ facilities and wifi throughout. Check out more pictures and prices here!
Frequently Asked Questions
When Is The Best Time To Go To Cairns?
Between April and September as this is the cheapest and quietest time of the year.
What Is The Best Tour In Cairns?
The best, in my opinion, is snorkelling or diving the outer Great Barrier Reef.
What Is The Best Tour For Couples?
The Evening Cruise and Meal on the Spirit of Cairns is definitely the best tour for couples in Cairns.
What Is The Best Tour For Groups In Cairns?
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