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Cairns city is the gateway to Northern Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. With your Thrifty hire car, all of Northern Queensland is yours to explore. From the Daintree National Rainforest up to Port Douglas, just a short drive north of Cairns. With a large number of National parks, forest reserves, hiking trails and an array of world-renowned natural wonders. Enjoy some of the best seafood in the world at the Cairns Marina and esplanade. Visit the Cairns Botanical Gardens to see over 38 hectares of natural Australian gardens. Ride on Kuranda Scenic Railway and travel through 15 hand-carved tunnels and over 55 bridges as you enjoy views of the un-spoilt rainforest outside your window. See the rainforests by air in the world-famous cable car and if that isn’t high enough for you, see it from higher in the air from a hot air balloon, perhaps the best seat possible for viewing Cairns and the surrounding area, if you’re ok with heights that is. Cairns is filled with natural wonders, food, and activities you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Cairns has many tourist attractions, but a particularly special one is the Kuranda Scenic Railway. With services running from Cairns railway station, located in the city of cairns or from Freshwater Railway station, located a 15-minute drive from Cairns. The railway takes you on a 37-kilometre journey onboard authentic vintage carriages. Traveling over bridges, curves and tunnels through the Barron Gorge National Park, a World Heritage-listed rainforest.
Once you’ve travelled through the Barron Gorge National Park, you will stop in Kuranda, home to unique markets selling locally made arts and crafts. After a train journey it’s best to stretch your legs, so take a walk in the rainforest and around the village. Many attractions include birdwatching, wildlife attractions, hand-feeding kangaroos and wallabies, and the ever-popular Koala photo op. The railway runs twice a day every day of the year, excluding Christmas, be sure to arrive in time for an 8.30 am or 9.30 am departure, meaning you will arrive in Kuranda at around 10.30 and 11.30 respectively and depart again at either 2.00 pm or 3.30 pm. If you enjoyed Kuranda and wish to go again on your trip, you can travel by car with the journey from Cairns to Kuranda totalling roughly 45 minutes.
Cairns is the number one spot people travel to when going to see the Great Barrier Reef. With boat and ferry services daily from the Cairns Marina, it’s simple to take the roughly 40-minute trip out to the reef. But there are equally spectacular opportunities to see nature inland. With a car hire you can see the National parks, forest and animal reserves that surround Cairns. At around an hour and a half north of Cairns, you will find the oldest continually surviving rainforest on earth, the Daintree Rainforest. With giant crocodiles, ancient trees and winding rivers, it’s like stepping back in time millions of years. The Daintree offers some of the most breathtaking nature walks in the world.
Head down south of Cairns for around an hour by car, and you will arrive at another spectacular rainforest. The Wooroonooran National Park is known for its unique waterfalls and fairy ponds filled with ancient boulders known as the Babinda Boulders. The must-see waterfall is Josephine Falls, a triple-tiered waterfall that pours down from Mt Bartle Frere, Queensland’s highest mountain.
If you’re driving an hour south of Cairns, you might also want to visit yet another national park in the area. Eubenangee Swamp National Park. A critical conservation area for over 190 species of bird, and as one might expect in a swamp, crocodiles are also close by, with many calling the wetlands home.
These are just some of the drives that you can enjoy around Cairns. Experience the best North Queensland and nature has to offer with Thrifty.