Atherton Tablelands

The Atherton Tablelands are inland from Cairns, and offer a completely different landscape to the Daintree rainforest to the north, with endless rolling hills and the odd volcanic crater or lake, reminding me of New Zealand. The waterfall circuit is a well known loop of three conveniently located waterfalls. Ellinjaa Falls was quite lovely when…

Paronella Park

A labour of love for Spaniard Jose Paronella, he opened his fantastical park by Mena Creek Falls in 1935 as a tourist attraction. After multiple fires, floods, and cyclones mainly only ruins remain, but they are evocative, and the park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Queensland. Mena Creek Falls are rather…

Kuranda

A popular day trip from Cairns, though I somehow managed to find time at the end of a long day visiting the Daintree National Park and Port Douglas. Getting there involves heading up a particularly twisty road from Cairns, with the Henry Ross Lookout part way up providing views of the landscape out to the…

Port Douglas

“Welcome to paradise!” said a painted fence on the way into Port Douglas, which passing endless gaudy hotels I was somewhat sceptical about. Heading along Wharf Street by the yacht club and railway the place started to warm on me though. And by the time I got to the northern end I understood. Even though…

Daintree Rainforest

Possibly the world’s oldest rainforest, around 110 million years old, Daintree National Park is a pretty special place just a couple of hours drive north of Cairns. It wasn’t quite as Jurassic Park as I was expecting, but still a deeply atmospheric and impressive place. I drove pretty much directly from Cairns to Cape Tribulation,…

Cairns Botanic Gardens

Almost certainly the best thing to do in Cairns itself, the Flecker Botanic Gardens are a very pleasant place to wander around for free. The clear highlight was the freshwater lake and Chinese friendship garden at sunset. Worth a few mosquito bites for some lovely photographs. I also went for the first of many walks…

Cairns

Gateway to stunning northern Queensland, Cairns itself is a pretty uninspiring grid of hotels and hostels in which you’re more likely to be served by someone from Ireland than Australia. It’s one of those places that exist primarily for tourists, but it does have some things of interest if you have a few hours in…