all the attractions,
you can do in Cairns (and pay money for it), there are some things that
are totally FREE :-)
Below is a list of activities
that you can do without paying a cent! Go
swimming, enjoy beaches
and lakes, spend some time in the rainforest and get some exercise
jogging along the tracks that you did not know exist.
Fishing is also a great activity not only because you may end up with a free dinner,
but it also gives you good chances to spot some wildlife like wild
beaches are not good for swimming because of sharks and other
dangerous creatures; and in Queensland you can add crocodiles and
jellyfish to the list.
do have swimming areas, in Cairns we don't even have that. It's the Lagoon and it's
Fishing is a national activity in Australia. Ideally, you'd take a
dinghy to the Great
haven't got a boat, you can fish off beaches. Jetties, river
mangroves are good places, which is why Cairns
northern beaches are popular.
Another place popular with fishing,
- is Lake Placid. It is in northwestern Cairns, in a suburb called
It is a great
place to walk, enjoy the rainforest,
picnic or cook a BBQ, fish for barramundi,
swim without crocodiles,
watch for wildlife such as Lace Monitors.
Beaches Walks Northern
are excellent places to walk and jog. You can walk
from Palm Cove
to Kewarra Beach,
which is a very long walk.
and Machans Beach
are also connected. Trinity Beach and Yorkeys Knob are
shorter and not connected to other beaches.
The good thing about muddy beaches is that birds love them.
herons, ibises and spoonbills all flock on the mudflats off the Esplanade walking track
during certain times and are easy to watch from a reasonable distance.
Just bring your
binoculars and camera.
Esplanade has changed a lot during the last decade. Before the Lagoon
came in 2004, there was not even a place to go and cool down in the
The new Activity Precinct is one of the best things to do in
Cairns and an excellent place to get your
daily exercise with ocean views.
If you are into views and exercise, some great things to do in Cairns
are the two Mt Whitfield walks - the 1.5km Red Arrow, and the
6.6km Blue Arrow Walk
up to Mount Whitfield.
Both start next to the Tanks Art Centre near
Cairns Botanical Gardens on Collins Street. Great walks through
Centenary Lakes Walks
Nearby, across the street from the entrance of Cairns Botanical Gardens
on Collins Street, is one end of the track to the Freshwater and the Saltwater Lake,
and through a park down to Greenslopes Street.
The walk first goes
through an area of a beautiful thick mangrove
More mangroves can be seen on the Mangrove
off the Airport Avenue.
I have done many mangrove
boardwalks but this one is the best one I
It's quite extensive and some of the roots are massive.
Just bring insect repellent as mozzies can be quite bad.
Cascades and the Walk
In northwestern Cairns, near Redlynch, is another one of the great
things to do in Cairns - Crystal
Cascades - a lovely walk through some beautiful tropical
rainforest along a creek with
a lot of water cascades and a waterfall in the end. There are also
picnic tables and two swimming spots,
both in the beginning of the walk.
National Park Drive
Not far from Lake Placid
in the northern suburb of Kamerunga
is a nice drive alocng Barron
Creek. In the end of the drive is the beautiful Barron Gorge with a
waterfall running down from the cliff, and a hydroelectric
water rafting trips start here and take you to Lake Placid.
is another scenic drive, up along a mountain side, which starts on the
Reservoir Road between Whitfield
The drive is narrow and steep in parts, and has a few good lookouts.
In the end of the drive is Lake
Morris with the Copperlode
Dam that is Cairns water supply. Quite beautiful.
Lakes is a nice place for a walk in Cairns.
It is in
north Cairns, near
Flecker Botanic Gardens, and it is a good alternative to the more
popular Esplanade walking track, if you are after a walk.
Other than the area's northern end, it's not rainforest, it's a freshwater and a saltwater lake
Most locals enter the park from the southern end - Greenslopes Street,
but this time I started from the north - just across the
road from the main entrance to Flecker
Botanic Gardens. The walk
to Centenary Lakes
starts in Collins Street, from an observation
There is first a loop to Fitzalan
Gardens and a Lily Pond, that goes past an interpretive
and picnic tables.
But the main walk is along the Rainforest
to Centenary Lakes.
It goes through coastal
lowland swamp rainforest - the vegetation that
covered much of the Cairns area before the city was
It is a self guided walk, which goes past marked plant species
like Leichhardt tree, king fern, lacy tree fern, MacArthur palm, black
palm, climbing fig, scrub breadfruit, Alexandra palm, potato vine, fan
palm, wait a while vine, hairy fig, birds nest fern, native monstero,
quandong, cotton tree, weeping tea tree, Queensland umbrella tree,
weeping fig, golden Guinea tree, corky bark; a turnoff to a shortcut to
swamp pandanus, climbing swamp fern, mangrove fern, swamp lilly, and
elephant ear, before you come out to the lakes - Freshwater Lake on
your right, and Saltwater
Lake on your left.
From that shortcut turnoff, Freshwater
Lake self guided walk
starts. There are species like swamp pandanus, cotton tree, hairy
fig, swamp lilly, weeping tea tree, white water lilies, climbing swamp
fern, umbrella tree, lotus lily, New Guinea Ru, weeping fig, saw
palmetto, Queensland maple, West Indian royal palm, toddy palm,
everglades palm, gebang palm, Florida royal palm, Australian arenga
palm, mangrove palm, coconut palm, serdang palm, fan palm, scrub
turpentine, Fiji fan palm, golden cane palm, foxtail palm, cabbage
palm, golden Guinea tree, spiny headed mat rush, screw pine and
At the walk's end you come to Saltwater
and continue walking north along the creek. Further north you have
different options such as turning left to return to Fleckers Botanic
Gardens, continue north to Collins Street and Tanks Art Centre, or turn
right, cross the creek over a bridge, and continue south past Saltwater Lake.
There is a shelter,
picnic tables, and a section with tropical food plants.
The Centenary Lakes park was
the 1970s as part of the celebration
of Cairns Centenary in 1975. In 2007, the park was added
is there good fishing in Cairns?
right at the Esplanade
tide - mostly the northern end.
areas around the Airport
and in the Trinity Inlet
also good for fishing.
are good, particularly close to river
river mouths and beaches you can catch barramundi, mangrove jack,
trevally - only to
name a few.
Get this 50 pages guide totally for FREE. It
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my partner Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old Telegraph Track). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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