North Queensland

Travel guide & tips

If it's something in the water that made North Queensland so infectiously crazy, then it lies just off shore and is called the Great Barrier Reef. Nature's biggest masterpiece aside, this is also the perfect place to soak up the rich culture of Australia. This top right side of Australia has beaches, night markets, great weather, one of the world's oldest surviving rainforests, and loads of hidden waterfalls - plus some amazing islands just off the coast to check out! Local Aussie living at it's best.

Top places to visit in Cairns & North Queensland

Port Douglas
Sophisticated yet low-key and relaxed, quaint Port Douglas is a perfect place for recharging before the rainforest calls. Grab some towel space on Four Mile Beach, sip a cocktail in a swanky bar and wander the boutique shops for one-off buys.
Magnetic Island
With secluded beaches, top diving and koalas aplenty, this is Australia at its finest. What's more as the home of Oz's Full Moon Party, it's THE place to part. So pack the thongs (no not THOSE) get out the UV paint and get ready to rave until dawn!
Daintree Rainforest
Pure wildlife-lust satisfaction! Roam this lush and ancient rainforest keeping your eyes peeled for impressive cassowarys, Lumholtz tree kangaroos and crocs on a river cruise.
Cape Tribulation
Cape Tribulation
"Where the rainforest meets the reef" - this area is part of the Daintree National Park, and where you can literally stand on the beach and be right next to the rainforest. But looking amazing isn't the only thing Cape Trib has going for it - people love to go hiking, boardwalking, jungle zip-lining and wildlife spotting here too.

Where is the Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef lies just offshore of Queensland in the Coral Sea and runs the entire length of the East Coast state. Stretching more than 2300km it's the world's largest coral reef and it's so impressive that it can even be seen from space! Each part of this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a different and exciting experience to tick off as you travel up the coast. Go sailing around the islands, snorkel the clear waters and go diving to discover the beauty of the reef. After you've experienced it, you'll understand the importance of protecting the reef so that future generations can make amazing memories just like yours. 

Discover the Great Barrier Reef

What is the Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef is like mother nature's masterpiece (and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!) - it's the largest living thing on Earth... 2,300km of reefs, islands, corals and an endless amount of brightly coloured fish, dolphins, turtles, and whales. It's even visible from space, although if you want to stay a little closer to Earth you can see it when you fly in to Cairns. You can go sailing around the islands, snorkelling the reefs, or diving into the depths of the ocean. One thing's for sure, visiting the Great Barrier Reef will be a memory that will stay with you for a lifetime.

In and around Cairns

Diving in Cairns
Diving in the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef represents some of the finest and most exotic diving and snorkelling in the world. Visit 3 different sites, each offering a new experience, selected for its unique variety of marine life and corals. In between water activities. 
From £132
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Cairns Budget Buster
Get active on this epic four-day adventure in and around Cairns. Spot crocs as you cruise through the rainforest, ride the rapids of the famous Tully River and swim and snorkel with the exotic and colourful fish and coral of the Great Barrier Reef.
4 days from £423
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Raging Thunder
Raging Thunder: Xtreme Rafting
Power down the awesome grade four Tully River, glimpsing the stunning surroundings of the World Heritage Rainforest as you whizz by! This adrenaline pumping day is packed with white water action…plus a delicious barbeque lunch.
Full day from £116
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Cairns Adventure Package
If action and adventure is your thing - this is the trip for you! Unleash your wild side as you navigate grade four rapids, take a balloon flights over the Atherton Tablelands, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and sea kayak off beautiful Fitzroy Island.
6 days from £579
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Cape Tribulation, Daintree & Atherton Tablelands

Go Wild Cape Tribulation Overnighter
Experience one of Oz's most scenic coastal drives as you head to Port Douglas where you'll see native animals, enjoy a cruise on the Daintree River spotting crocs, and trek through rainforest. On day 2, choose from sea kayaking, horse riding and jungle surfing.
2 days from £127
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Uncle Brians
Uncle Brians Tablelands & Waterfalls Tour
Leave Cairns and head back to nature, treating yourself to an exhilarating day of amazing wildlife and scenery. Visit the Atherton Tablelands, take a cooling dip in the cascading waterfalls and capture the incredible volcanic craters.
Full day from £77
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Rainforest Daintree
Rainforest Meets Reef
Daintree is a beautiful part of Australia, where the rainforest runs right down to the edge of the sea. Get the best of both worlds on this three-day tour. You'll experience the Wildlife Habitat Sanctuary and have a  sunset paddle in a kayak. Opt to go on a Jungle Surfing zipline tour, Ocean Safari Reef Experience and Daintree River Cruise.
3 days from £294
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The Whitsundays

An archipelago of 74 castaway islands slung across the tip of the Great Barrier reef, the wondrous Whitsundays are a showstopper of any East Coast trip. The gateway onto this paradise of near-deserted white beaches is Airlie beach. Despite the ironic lack of a beach, this party-hard town makes up for it with a vast tropical lagoon and wild nightlife. Opt to stay in Airlie, on an island resort or aboard a sailboat, catamaran or yacht!

Whitsunday Sailing & Island Hopping

Maxi Sailing
Ideal for: Time poor, cash-strapped socialites
Maxi Sailing is great fun and high on the adventure scale! The trip usually holds larger groups of people between the ages of 18 and 35 years. They are very sociable, so expect a bit of a party in the evening.
2 days from £235
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Awesome Foursome
If you would prefer to stay on Airlie Beach and island hop on the days inbetween, this is the trip for you! During your hopping, discover the brilliant white sands of Whitehaven Beach, swim and snorkel in beautiful hard-to-reach bays and head out to the Great Barrier Reef for some colourful coral and tropical fish.
5 days from £365
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Adventure Sailing
Ideal for: groups of mates, big adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies!
Enjoy rainforest walks, snorkel the coral reef or soak up the sunshine on the deck, plus there are options to scuba! The boats offer bunk-style accommodation, although some offer private cabins.
3 days from £336
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Reef Sleep
Reef Sleep
Why not spend a unique night at the Barrier Reef? Depart from Airlie Beach and cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef - from here jump in the blue water for a spot of snorkelling with sea turtles, reef sharks and colourful fish. That night, sleep under a blanket of stars in a 'swag' out on the reef.
2 days from £275
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Looking for some more inspiration? Check out our STA Travel Blog!

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