Cairns - Australia's Adventure Capital
Australia is a country that most of us have ticked off our bucket list thanks to coffee-fueled, graffiti-hunting trips to hipster Melbourne and the vibrant lure of Sydney’s city life. But this doesn’t mean that’s all there is to see.
You and your homies are up for the next trip of a lifetime, but don’t want the same old been there done that vacation? Here are 10 reasons why Cairns should be your next stop for unlimited thrills and an Insta feed full of memories to last a lifetime:
1. Swoop through the forest on the World’s Fastest Jungle Swing with your ride-or-die
The first thing to tick off your list of adventure in the land of Cairns should undoubtedly be The Minjin Swing.
Planted in the thick of a world heritage rainforest, the Minjin Swing will send you and your bestie blazing through the trees like two Tarzans at an extreme speed of 120km/h, 45m above the ground. This also makes it the fastest jungle swing in the history of swings - and the world.
And if that fact alone doesn't get your hearts palpitating, then get this - you'll have to yank the release rope on your own. Yup, you'll be the maker of your own fate. Take it from someone who took this three times in a row, no amount of pep talks and countdowns will prepare you for the drastic fall.
And if you’re part of an unbreakable posse of three, you’ll be glad to know that the swing accommodates up to 3 speed demons at once. So strap yourselves in for the swing of your life.
2. Bungy Jump 16 different ways off Australia’s one and only Bungy Tower
You might be rolling your eyes at this next one, but hold your judgement. This is Australia’s sole bungy tower, and it’s brought to you by the man who started it all by leaping off the Eiffel Tower. And it’s no ordinary bungy jump either.
Even if you’ve taken the leap before, AJ Hackett has 16 insane ways for you to relive that delicious anxiety that rolls through your stomach on your first jump. From the bromantic “Titanic” to next level stunts like the “BMX” and the “Bar Drop”, we leave the challenge level up to your discretion - just don’t wet your pants.
3. Snorkel in the World’s largest coral reef
It’d be a sheer waste making the trip all the way to Cairns without making a splash in one of the world’s wonders - the Great Barrier Reef. Home to ⅓ of the world’s coral species and an extensive list of exotic marine life, we guarantee that any other snorkel in your life will pale in comparison. You might even have Wally, the resident fish here, photobomb your pictures.
4. Learn scuba diving and befriend marine creatures underwater
If snorkelling in the shallows is child’s play for you, then deep dive into the depth of the reef’s translucent waters. Unlike other dive sites that require you to have an Open Water Course certification, you’ll be able to speed up the process and get you downto over 12 metres below the surface on your very first session with the Introductory Dive.
Their PADI qualified and experienced instructors will walk you through all you need to know about scuba diving and set you up for your first dive before you even hit the water. Classes are no bigger than groups of four, so you won’t need to worry about falling behind.
5. Hover above the Great Barrier Reef in a helicopter
There’s no way you’ll be able to scour the entire Great Barrier Reef with your flippers but you can do so high and dry on a helicopter. Another offering of Sunlover Reef Cruises, this heli ride offers a bird’s eye view of the reef in all its majesty. You won’t get the same view from land or sea.
Coming from someone born and bred in a concrete jungle, this view alone made the trip worthwhile.
Shout out to Sunlover Reef Cruises who were host to us on this trip to The Great Barrier Reef!
6. Sleepover afloat the Great Barrier Reef under a canopy of stars
One can say that he/she has camped in a forest, out on the beach, or in a roving caravan, but to say you’ve spent a night ON the Great Barrier Reef is definitely one-up on everyone’s overnight adventure. Sunlover by Starlight is a once-in-a-lifetime reef tour that allows just a lucky few to spend the night glamping under a canopy of stars out on the deck of a pontoon in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Take your staycations to a whole new level with this one, and spend the night just 26 nautical miles from shore watching the reef and its corals come to life in the darkness of the night.
Find out more here.
7. Complete obstacle courses with animals roaming around freely
If there's nothing you and your best friend in crime love more than a challenge, take to the Cairns Zoom and Dome for a series of obstacle courses that’ll have you tackling complex crossings and ziplines up to 20m above ground. Even if heights don’t scare you, the 4-metre saltwater crocodile lurking beneath you will.
Actually a wildlife park, the dome also houses a great number of native Australian animals with a range of free interactive wildlife shows, presentations, free tours, and feeding opportunities.
After conquering the obstacle courses, reward yourself with a panoramic view of the city of Cairns by scaling the exterior of their glass dome or a mini bungy called the Power Jump off a 13m platform inside.
Find out more here.
8. Raft through raging rapids in a 410 million-year-old rainforest
This next adventure requires a little bit of travelling but it’s well worth it. When it comes to rafting, the Tully River gold mine. Sports rafting is a like the hybrid child of Kayaking and Whitewater Rafting, just with zero chill on the thrill factor.
Fringed by the world’s oldest rainforests, the whole course spans 6KM with a total of 14 rapids to conquer - each one progressively more challenging than the last.
Here’s how sports rafting works: the person at the front has to paddle to move the kayak forward, while the person at the back has to steer the kayak strategically to avoid the rocks and spirals.
Fun/freaky fact: There are crocodiles in the water.
We were told by the locals that the crocodiles would not be anywhere near us but we’d still have to hang on really tight. Between battling the rapids and screaming your lungs out, try to sneak in some moments to admire the pure beauty of the 410 million year-old rainforest around you.
Thanks Wildside Adventures Mission Beach for the thrills I’ll never forget!
9. Glide above a tropical rainforest in an open gondola
A little less action-packed but just as breathtaking, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway experience will take your BFF friendship status to new heights. You’ll be gliding through the rainforest in an open-air gondola taking in the crisp, fresh air and 360-degree view of Kuranda to Cairns that’ll put our tree-top walk to shame.
To put things into perspective, this is what you and your bestie will be riding in:
Dangerous-looking? You bet! At least you’ll be secured to the carriage by a waist harness, so you won’t have to worry about falling over.
The ride spans over 7.5KM and take approximately 1½ hours one way or 2 - 2½ hours for the entire journey, and you’ll also be given ground time to explore two rainforest stations - Red Peak and Barron Falls.
Our stopover at Red Peak station for a boardwalk tour with our park ranger
Find out more here.
10. Catch the spectacular Barron Falls aboard the famous Kuranda scenic railway
Adventures don’t always have to get you all wound up. Upon arriving at Kuranda via the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, we decided to hop on the famous Kuranda Scenic Railway back to Cairns. Not just any old train, the carriages on this train were built way back in the early 1900s and its original structures have been maintained so well, the ride will make you feel like you’re travelling back in time.
The ride will also give you an uninterrupted view the spectacular Barron Gorge waterfall, and weave you in and out of the lush world of North Queensland’s famed rainforest. Get up close with 1,200 different species of plants, 800 different rainforest trees, and other exotic flora on your journey back to Cairns.
As the gorge didn’t see much rainfall in the week we were there, the falls were tamer than expected, but if you’re in luck, they’re usually a lot more dramatic and stunning!
Embark on your Australian adventure of a lifetime
So if you’ve got adventure on your mind, don’t settle for the same predictable spots and the mild rushes of adrenaline they promise, this little big city in Queensland’s Northern Territory has a whole lot to offer. From culture to food and making new friends, what I loved most about Cairns was the endless ways you could experience and enjoy nature.
Cairns has given me everything I’ve looked for in a destination: photogenic landscapes, stunning wildlife, epic adventures, and a longing to return - soon.
SilkAir - Your fastest way to Cairns
A big shoutout to SilkAir for getting us to the destination of our dreams in just 6 hours! Direct flights from Singapore to Cairns run thrice a week, and it’s the easiest, most direct route to get you to this wildlife paradise. And if you’re not a professional adventurer, you’ll be able to lug a whole lot of survival necessities and souvenirs there and back with you thanks to their 30KG baggage allowance.
Meals are included in the price of your air ticket so you’ll be able to sate your hunger pangs with a selection of local dishes from Hainanese Chicken Rice and Laksa. There’s also an ‘All-Time Favorites’ menu for Business Class passengers to choose from a range of 20 specially curated meals available for pre-booking till up to 24 hours before your flight.
If you’ve got special dietary requirements, just send the airline a Special Meal Request on their website after your ticket purchase. There’ll be a range of religious, vegetarian, and dietary meals for you to choose from.
And you won’t have to worry about feeling bored or claustrophobic on the flight either, the SilkAir Studio is a complimentary wireless inflight entertainment system that allows you to binge watch all your favourite Hollywood and international movies, tv shows, or kick back to 100 chart-topping music albums streamed straight to your devices at no additional cost!
This post was brought to you by SilkAir.