Cairns | Queensland
Lying at the centre of a tropical paradise on the shores of Trinity Bay, Cairns is full of natural attractions. It is a stepping-off point to so much, including the Great Barrier Reef, rainforests and scenic hinterland such as the Cape York Peninsula. Cairns is the premier holiday destination in northern Queensland. Its international airport is the sixth busiest in Australia, handling more than a million visitors each year.
Trinity Wharf offers shopping and eating venues, a tourist coach terminus and a place for international cruise liners to berth. Pier Marketplace is also on the waterfront. It is a retail and leisure complex with more than 90 outlets, including Ben Cropp's Shipwreck Museum and the Undersea World Oceanarium, home to over 1200 marine animals. All outlets are open 7 days a week. On weekends, local artists and craftspeople display their wares at the Mud Market, located in the main amphitheatre. Also popular with locals and visitors alike is Rusty's Markets. Cairns Museum, located on the cnr of Lake and Shields sts, has displays featuring the Aboriginal, timber, goldrush and sugarcane history of the area. Flecker Botanic Gardens, in Collins Ave, feature native plants and their traditional use by Aboriginal people. The gardens also have a very large collection of palm species. Cairns is famous for its tropical fruits, fresh seafood and relaxed ambience. It is an international mecca for marlin and other big game fishermen.
The lifestyle, history and culture of the indigenous people of the region is explored at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Theme Park. It showcases the world-renowned Tjapukai Aboriginal Dance Theatre and features a history theatre, campsite and restaurant. Kuranda Scenic Railway offers an amazing journey, weaving past canefields and jungle-covered mountains and valleys, then through the Barron River Gorge to the fern-covered station at Kuranda. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway complements the rail-way. Running from the suburb of Smithfield, the cable cars travel for 7.5km across the coastal range and over the rainforest canopy before arriving at Kuranda. The first stop, Rainforest Station, allows passengers to experience the forest floor, via boardwalks, while the second stop is located just a short walk from Barron Gorge Falls. Cairns is the departure point for many island and reef cruises visiting Fitzroy and Green islands, Michaelmas Cay and the Outer Reef.