Both rainforest and reef can be found in tropical north Queensland
Yep, it will so be jam-packed with backpackers from all around the world (and Australia) that you’ll want to run away as soon as you arrive. And thankfully, you can do just that in Cairns. With the world’s most famous reef right off the coast and one of the most magical (the editor’s words!) rainforests on the planet just up the road, you’ll rethink just spending two days in this Far North Queensland centre.
You can do a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef for snorkeling or diving, totally immersing yourself in the colours and shapes of this amazing natural wonder, and land back in town with plenty of time pre-dinner drinks. For more water-based adventures, you can tackle a half- or full-day rafting trip down the Barron River (Grade II/III), just outside the city’s borders.
The Daintree Rainforest (an hour north of Cairns) is World Heritage-listed and contains a massive diversity of fauna and flora. You can explore this on foot, with plenty of hiking tracks in Daintree National Park suited to day or overnight walks. The park is divided into two sections – Mossman Gorge (inland) and the coastal Cape Tribulation – and it’s worth spending a full day in each; the two sections are remarkably different.