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Australia’s Ultimate Escape

A guide to Queensland's Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

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26 March 2014 by Adam Hickmott

The Cairns & Great Barrier Reef region has it all. Incredible nature, wonderful wildlife, idyllic islands, beautiful beaches, fascinating culture and some of Australia's best food and wine pave the way for a myriad of must-do moments, which all go towards making this diverse region of northern Queensland Australia's ultimate escape.

Each day in the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef region offers something different. Soak up the sights and sounds of the world's oldest rainforest; dive, snorkel and swim around the world's largest coral reef; explore ancient treetops on an unforgettable canopy walk followed by a relaxing break at a spa retreat; stroll along magnificent white sand beaches, and enjoy some of Australia's most exciting dining experiences.

Add in a sprinkling of spectacular coastal drives, sublime sunset cruises and aerial helicopter adventures in unrivalled natural surroundings and you have all the ingredients of a truly breathtaking destination.

Mossman Gorge, Queensland, Australia

Nature & Wildlife

Spanning two thirds of Queensland's coastline, the Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest living organism and home to 1,500 of the world's 13,000 fish species, and the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef region is the best place to access it. Experience the delights of the reef from both air and sea with world-class diving and snorkelling, spectacular sailing adventures and breathtaking helicopter flights.

Take a scenic drive north from the charming city of Cairns and discover the spectacular coastal landscapes of Cape Tribulation, where the ancient rainforest of the Daintree National Park meets the Great Barrier Reef - the only place in the world where two UNESCO World Heritage sites meet - and enjoy a romantic beach picnic and an afternoon of swimming and snorkelling in the warm, azure waters of the Coral Sea.

Cape Tribulation, Queensland, Australia


Aside from the delights of the Great Barrier Reef, the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef region is awash with activities and excursions for the adventurous traveller. Experience a different view of the rainforest by cable car or even zip wire, whizzing from platform to platform through the forest canopy. Take a four-wheel drive tour in Cape Tribulation, where the reef meets the rainforest, or tackle the rapids of the scenic Tully River on a kayak adventure. Explore the rainforest on foot and learn about the region's indigenous culture as you take a bushwalk in the company of an aboriginal guide, listening to dreamtime stories and learning about the unique customs of the Kuku Yalanji tribe, or perhaps take to the skies above the spectacular Atherton Tablelands on a hot air balloon ride, marvelling at the stunning sunrise, vast landscapes and families of wallabies far below.

Kuranda Skyrail, Queensland, Australia

Food & Wine

With so many adventures to be had you're certain to work up an appetite. Fortunately, the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef region offers some truly unforgettable dining experiences. Enjoy delicious tropical fruits, succulent seafood and indigenous delicacies in some of the region's most spectacular locations. Take a helicopter ride to the Great Barrier Reef and enjoy a champagne picnic on your very own deserted island; catch and cook your own seafood supper in the company of an local aboriginal guide; experience bush tucker at its best on a foraging tour and taste the natural flavours of mango, lemon myrtle and barramundi; or dine al fresco under the stars at the beautiful restaurants of Palm Cove and Port Douglas.

Islands & Beaches

From beautiful Mission Beach, through the exclusive idylls of Lizard Island, Green Island and Bedarra Island, right up the coast to Cape Tribulation, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef region is packed with stunning islands and beaches. Whether you're looking for a launch pad to explore the Great Barrier Reef, or just want to spend a few days relaxing under the Queensland sunshine, you'll find endless stretches of pure white sand, sparkling crystalline waters and some of Australia's finest luxury hotels and resorts.

Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

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