9 of the best adventure activities to do in Cairns
Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you that Cairns is the place for adventure activities in Australia. Adrenaline junkies have been lured by Queensland’s Tropical North for decades; its beautiful coastline, ancient rainforests and abundant tablelands will make your heart race. And that’s just the views…
Hang glide over rainforests, bungy jump into crocodile-infested rivers or BMX in the dark; whatever gets your pulse racing, you’ll find in Australia’s Tropical North.
Here are 9 of the best adventure activities to do in Cairns.
1. Whitewater rafting
A half-day rafting experience with Raging Thunder Adventures is one of the most iconic Cairns adventure activities going. Race past sheer cliff faces and cajole down tearing rips as you tackle certified Grade Two and Three rapids—including the infamous Rooster Tail—inside Barron Gorge National Park.
A spectacular backdrop, you’ll barely have caught your breath before wanting to dive back in and tackle the Tully River. Here, the rapids are rated as a Grade Three and Four. BYO some dry clothes and nerves of steel. You’re going to need them…
2. Soar over Port Douglas
Take to the skies and hang glide over the immense Daintree Rainforest and sandy coastline of Port Douglas. Up this high, you’ll score spectacular 360-degree views of Cairns and the lush landscape of Tropical North Queensland. As Cairns adventure activities go, this will quite literally leave you breathless.
Learn how to hang glide with Updraught Microlights and Hand Gliders with a 20-minute session starting from $175.
3. Bungy jump in the rainforest
Featuring a 16 option ‘Jump Menu’ (including BMX, blindfolded jumps and forward flips, should you feel so inclined) the world-famous bungy tower at AJ Hackett Cairns is a Mecca for adrenalin chasers.
At 50-metres high, you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the northern beaches and out to the Great Barrier Reef before you take the plunge, then reach 120 kms in just 3.5 seconds. Intense and highly addictive.
4. Skydive the Great Barrier Reef
Skydive Cairns boasts the highest tandem jump in Australia. Choose a dive from between 9,000-15,000 feet, with freefalls ranging from 25-seconds to a full minute; that’s a heart-racing fall up to 220 kilometres per hour.
Divers are rewarded with breathtaking views of the east coast of Australia. The ultimate adventure holiday bragging rights.
5. BMX the rainforest by night
BMXing in the rainforest after dark will tick more than a few adventurist’s boxes, and with North Queensland’s Bump Track Adventure Tour hailed as one of the 10 best mountain bike rides in Australia, you have to experience it to believe it.
Journey from the Julatten Range down through magnificent ancient rainforests and ghost gums, all under the light of the moon and 100 Lumen LED torches attached to nothing but your helmet.
6. Go ocean horseback riding
The ultimate ride-along, saddle up and take a dip in the ocean on horseback. Cape Trib Horse Rides offers one of the best Cairns adventure activities, taking guests on horse ride through rainforest pockets, mangrove wetlands and native bushland before a canter along Cape Tribulation Beach.
Located 2-hours north of Cairns, Cape Trib Horse Rides is one of the only eco-certified operators in the region that can take groups along the beach in the Daintree National Park, and is the perfect base to explore another iconic Daintree location; Mossman Gorge.
7. Zipline over saltwater crocodiles
Perched on top of the Cairns Reef Hotel Casino is the all-weather wildlife exhibit-come-zipline, Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome. Comprising of a 20-metre high glass dome, it is an exact replicated rainforest environment, home to 400 free-roaming animals, and Goliath, a giant four-metre saltwater crocodile.
Take to the zipline and soar across the canopy, the Cairns skyline and the ancient reptile’s enclosure. Not for the faint-hearted…
8. Go crocodile spotting along the Daintree River
Bruce Belcher Daintree River Cruises is a sure thing if you want to get up close and personal with Australia’s living dinosaurs. A local legend, tour guide Bruce has clocked up over 40,000 crocodile sightings on the Daintree River and has incredible knowledge of the local Indigenous people of Mornington Island.
The one-hour tour gently cruises along the river, Bruce your eyes and ears, making it the perfect afternoon activity for spotting for tree snakes, pythons, rare Daintree birds, and wild crocodiles.
9. Sleep on the Great Barrier Reef
Eat, sleep, swim and dive the Great Barrier Reef; a three-day liveaboard dive trip on the Spirit Of Freedom is more than a bit special.
The Spirit of Freedom is one of a handful of boats that take divers into the remote north of the Great Barrier Reef. Guests undertake up to 15 dives in some of the most far reaching, untouched locations of the outer reef, including Ribbon Reefs, and the world famous Cod Hole. The Great 8 are almost all guaranteed, and if you’re visiting during Australia’s winter months, you even have the chance to swim with Minke whales, who migrate to the warmer waters from the Antarctic every year.